<![CDATA[Finding a free e-book online is a more challenging task than it might appear. Before continuing any further, have a quick read at our guide for finding the best places for free e-books. The internet is a vast place, chock-full of useful facts and information on any given topic you might think of. Browsing the web for something little known and obscure, chances are you’re going to find a multitude of websites, blogs and forums on that particular subject. However, you will notice that when you really start digging and performing a more thorough research on whatever it is you need or find interesting, that a lot of the sources you come across don’t really offer an in-depth treatment of your subject. Those of you who were born before the World Wide Web era might recall an institution that housed all the knowledge in one place, carefully sorted and organized, available to everyone for a symbolic membership fee, or even for free. The place most of us rarely visited. With lots of books. Anyone? No, I am not taking about school, although it fits the description. Yes, the library. The truth is, nothing beats books. No blogs, websites or forums, no matter how good they are, can even come close. So why are we here then, instead of roaming between bookshelves of our local libraries? Well, you might live in a small town, that doesn’t have a library, or has one, but with a poor selection of books, and it represents too much of an inconvenience to take a drive to the nearest one that has what you need. Perhaps you travel a lot and you simply cannot take half a dozen books with you every time. On the other hand, as we have established, sometimes the internet is not enough. The answer to your problem is pretty much a no-brainer. An e-book. Obviously, there are so many websites that offer all kinds of free e-books, and it can become a bit overwhelming once you realize there is such thing as too much choice. To make it easier for you, here is a short list of some of the best websites for free e-books:
- Forgotten Books: the world’s largest online library with over 1,000,000 books available on demand, carefully organized into categories and available for download in multiple formats. Forgottenbooks.org also features advanced analytical data. Every single word, page and image inside each and every one of their books has been analyzed, indexed and classified. With this valuable research information, it can tell you virtually anything about anything, from the most commonly used word in fiction books published in 1765, to the book with the most images of cats in the first 20 pages. Or perhaps some more useful information, such as a list of every word in the English language in order of usage frequency.
- Project Gutenberg: boasting the title of the oldest, if not the largest, online library, Project Gutenberg that offers hundreds of thousands of free e-books for readers to download. Started in the 1970s by Michael Hart, it has grown into a non-profit organization that allows you to access over 30,000 titles whose copyrights have expired and which now belong to public domain.
- ReadPrint: ReadPrint offers you thousands of free books, novels, poems, essays, and works of fiction to choose from. In 2010, they were included in Time Magazine’s list of 50 best websites. It allows you to navigate their library of over 8,000 titles in several different ways, such as a list of Top Authors, and many more.
- ManyBooks: similar to Project Gutenberg in many respects, ManyBooks is a great place for those who find Project Gutenberg’s basic interface a bit off-putting. Manybooks offers a more polished, user-friendly exterior, and a large number of free e-books to choose from. You can also browse the books by cover art, reviews and summaries.
- EPUB: an extremely popular e-book format designed to run on most devices, such as iPad, iPhone, Sony Readers or the Nook. You can also open it on your computer with the use of appropriate software, such as Adobe Digital Editions or EPUBReader extension for Mozilla Firefox.
- PDF: developed by Adobe, it has consistently been one of the most popular formats for years. It is supported by many platforms, and there are a lot of viewers out there that can open it, such Adobe’s own Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, Xpdf, among others.
- MOBI: originally conceived as a PalmDOC format extension, it can be opened by MobiPocket Reader, which can be installed on numerous devices. There are some drawbacks of the format, such as tables being displayed differently on some readers, or images remaining the same size if the font size is changed.