Want to get your eyes on MILLIONS of free books online?
I got you.
If you’ve been following along, you already know that you can find free audiobooks online (woop woop!). We talked about options like LibriVox and MindWebs that are offering readers free audio books and short stories.
Now, we’ve got 15 more sites where you can read free books online when earbuds aren’t an option. You’ll get beyond the classics (though those are cool too), with free YA books, graphic novels, fanfiction, children’s books, and more.
And all together these sites have a lot of great books. A lot. Like, in the millions. Seriously. Your TBR list may be crying, but at least your wallet is happy?
WHERE CAN I DOWNLOAD FREE BOOKS ONLINE?
We give more details about each one below, but the following sites all offer (or curate a collection with) free books online:
- International Children’s Digital Library
- Internet Sacred Text Archive
- Open Library
- Project Gutenberg
- Read Print
- World Public Library
1. GOODREADS’ FREE SHELVES
While many of the books on the following websites are classic books and out of copyright, you can find more contemporary online books for free at Goodreads’ free eBooks shelves (either full or excerpts) or with the “free-online” tag.
2. INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S DIGITAL LIBRARY
If you’re looking for free children’s books online, the ICDL is a nonprofit organization with a mission to: “promote tolerance and a respect for diverse cultures by providing access to the best of children’s literature from around the world.”
You can read freely and anonymously on their site, or create an account to keep an ongoing bookshelf. And there are books from all over the world (you can even search by countries on the globe). Look for great free books online like:
- Yukimado (The Snow Window) by Naoko Awa
- Legends of the Maori from the National Library of New Zealand
- All We Need Are Dragons by Ljubivoje Ršumović
3. INTERNET SACRED TEXT ARCHIVE
Dedicated to religion, mythology, and folklore, the ISTA online collection provides access to hundreds of sacred texts online. It also promotes religious diversity, tolerance, and scholarship baked into its mission (which is pretty rad of course).
You’ll find versions of the Bible, as well as the Talmud, Vedas, and more.
Just as the name implies, ManyBooks has loads and loads of online books for free. Over 30,000 in fact. The majority of their eBooks work for Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and other readers.
You’ll find thousands of books, both classic and contemporary here, such as:
- The Unveiling by Tamara Leigh
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu
- The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
5. OPEN CULTURE
Open Culture connected readers with a curated list of free audiobooks, and they’ve created something similar for free eBooks. You’ll find 800 free and downloadable eBooks through their site, ready to download for iPads, iPhones, Kindles, or to read in your browser directly.
Some knockouts include:
- The Stranger by Albert Camus
- Poems from Charles Bukowski
- Short stories from Junot Diaz
6. OPEN LIBRARY
Open Library offers over 1.7 million free eBooks online to users. It’s part of the Internet Archive, which also allows users to contribute (and correct!) books. They both offer free versions of full books and links to access paid books elsewhere.
Books to read online include Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Matilda by Roald Dahl.
OverDrive connects you with your local libraries to check out eBooks on your personal devices. You only need a library card and you’ll be able to check out classic and contemporary eBooks for free, anywhere and anytime. They host a catalog of over two million eBooks, as well as audiobooks. And, they’ve recently made it easier to transfer books onto your device.
Some new and recent releases on their catalog include:
- Artemis by Andy Weir
- Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
- Beyond Magenta edited by Susan Kuklin
Of course, since it’s connected to your library, you’ll also see free Harry Potter eBooks and other more recent classics.
8. PROJECT GUTENBERG
Project Gutenberg continues to be a fantastic resource for classic novels and obscure older texts alike that are already in the public domain. The organization is run entirely by volunteers who digitize and then also proofread works. In all, they’ve added over 50,000 free books online.
Whether you’re reading them online or downloading them to your device, you can dig into classic books like:
- Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
9. READ PRINT
Read Print is a user-friendly website that allows users to read classics online. It also has a fancy bookshelf widget where you can track books read and books (so many books) that you want to read.
You’ll find free classic books like:
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Riveted offers YA books for free online, either full books or excerpts on a time-limited basis. By signing into the site from Simon & Schuster and becoming a member, you’ll be able to read some sweet free books, download them to any device, join in giveaways, and discuss your YA favorites.
Some recent options included:
- A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
- A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
- Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger
The publisher releases weekly original short stories from some of the biggest sci-fi/fantasy authors (like N.K. Jemisin and Linda Nagata). And, seriously, receiving a smashingly fantastic short story in my inbox every week has been such a joy and has helped me find great new authors.
They also release the eBook of the Month club where you can get free access to one pick each month. Their next group isn’t kicking off until 2018, though, so subscribe to the newsletter to get an update when it’s released.
Got a jonesing for some original source material? Even if you’re not in academia, Wikisource is the ultimate place to do a deep dive on a topic. The site hosts almost 400,000 texts in English, with user-generated submissions allowed.
You can find texts from 1846 to 1941, from authors like Rudyard Kipling and Marie de France, on werewolves specifically. Or, discover new worlds with texts from Jules Verne and Philip Dick. Or, I dunno, maybe you’ll jump in letters between our Founding Fathersfollowing Hamilton fever.
13. WORLD PUBLIC LIBRARY
The World Public Library’s online Millennium Collection isn’t free, but for less than $10 a year for *ahem* millions of free books in over 300 languages, it’s basically free. They also offer free memberships for physically disabled or special needs members. You’ll find eBooks from all over the world, including:
- Sacred texts
- Academic collections
- Kid’s books
- Graphic novels
Some of their knock-outs include 1984 by George Orwell, Siddhartha by Hemann Hesse, and The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli.
SERIOUSLY, EVEN MORE FREE BOOKS ONLINE
These are mostly websites that share free books online that have at one time been traditionally published and disseminated. But, um, there’s the internet which means there’s more books available out there than you’ll ever have time to read.
Phew, we’re not done yet. BookRix is also a community of independent authors who publish free eBooks in any of your favorite genres. We’re talking fantasy, romance, sci-fi, children’s and more.
The Library of Congress also has a small collection of classic children’s books.
Finally, also make sure to follow your favorite authors on social media. They’ll often share links to eBook deals, excerpts to upcoming novels, giveaways, or free shorts set in the same universe.
GOT A FEW BUCKS?
You can also follow along with Book Riot’s Deals of the Day “Book Deals” emails where you’ll get alerts about absurdly cheap eBooks and audiobooks (like Girlboss for $1.99 or Shadowshaper for $1.99 cheap).
It makes my heart swell a little bit that there are SO MANY places to find free books online. That’s a lot of literature, all with a simple internet connection. And, I’m excited to hear about any sites I missed. If you have any places where you find free books online (especially specific genres), hit the comments to share them with other Book Riot readers.
Post originally published in August 2017; last updated in November 2017.