The Ultimate Guide to Snagging Free Ebooks

Ultimate Guide to Snagging Free Ebooks

“I don’t like free books,” said no bookworm ever.

And sure, at the library you can get your hands on as many free books as your little heart desires, but lovers of literature take a special sort of pride in, and a source of bragging rights from, the number of titles they actually own.

So, if you want to up your book ownership game without drying up your wallet, read on. You’ll likely end up curating a collection you’ll never actually finish, but hey. Go big or go home.

And go free.

First, The eBook Formatting “Lingo”

Not all ebooks are created equal, and by that I mean they’re not all in the same format. Because that would be far too easy, and the books are already free, remember? You wouldn’t want to waste your time visiting sites that host files you can’t open on your device, so here’s what you need to know:

EPub: works on all devices except the Kindle.

Mobi: works exclusively on Kindle.

PDF: works on Kindle, iPad, and iPhone.

Okay. Got it? Let’s go.

eBook Subscription Services Serving Multiple Platforms

Bookzio   |   Bookbub   |   Freebooksy

These three sites are pots of gold at the end of the bookworm’s rainbow. They’re treasure troves of words, titles, and books. They do all the hard work of scavenging the web for free and discounted titles so we don’t have to. And then each morning they send fresh lists of free ebooks to your inbox, along with the links to download them. Sounds like something dreams are made of, right? It’s downright overnight magic, like the tooth fairy but, you know, for books. The book fairy. That’s a thing, right?

Sites That Serve Multiple Devices

Project Gutenberg (available file formats: ePub and Kindle)

Named after the inventor of the printing press and the father of the mass-produced written word, Johannes Gutenberg, this site appropriately seeks to deliver as many free ebooks as possible. Many of the titles found here are in the public domain, which means the rights have expired and they can be widely distributed for free (Think classic literature). So if timeless tales are your thing, or you feel guilty that your English curriculum never covered the books that everyone “should” read, this is the place to be. Click here to begin browsing.

Open Library (available file formats: web, PDF, ePub)

Another source of the web’s best classic literature collection, Open Library hosts almost two million classics in free eBook form for instant reading access in-browser, and over a quarter of a million twentieth-century titles available to borrow for a two-week period.

OverDrive (files available for: iPad, iPhone, Android)

OverDrive is an app that partners with the public library system to put thousands of eBooks and audiobooks at your fingertips. You just need a library card with your local library district and an e-reader to create an account. Then you’ll be able to browse selections and download directly onto your device. It’s a visit to your local library without having to leave home, and it’s perfect for those travels erfect for travels or those lazy days.

Feedbooks (compatible with all devices except Kindle)
Because the files you’ll find here are ideally suited for tablets and smartphones, it’s perfect for those of us who’d rather spend the time we use checking Facebook in all of life’s idle moments doing something productive (hint hint, knocking items off that “to be read” pile). On the home page, under “Browse,” simply click “Free Public Domain” or “Free Original Books” and feast your eyes on the selection that awaits.

Smashwords (available file format: ePub, MOBI, PDF)
Here you can find a fantastic collection of independently published books and self-published works that will download to any device. Click one of the genres listed under “Categories” in the column to the left, filter the results to show only “free” books, and voila! Go to town. Have a smashing good time.

Device-Specific Free eBook Hacks

This might come as a surprise, but the easiest way to find wide selections of free ebooks that are specific to each device is to go straight to the source. Below, I’ll share links for doing just that, and some other strategies that might come in handy during your quest.

Kindle

Start your hunt for free Kindle ebooks at Amazon. Many of the websites and subscription services listed above will route you back to Amazon to download the books they promote, but you can also use the website as a starting point for your search.

Here are a few ways to do this:

Run a search for “free ebooks.” As this is completely unfiltered, however, you’ll turn up a huge list of results that could prove daunting for even the most ardent bookworm. It’s far better to either:

Browse Departments > Kindle eReaders and Books > Kindle store > Kindle Books > Best sellers > Top 100 Free; or
Browse Departments > Kindle eReaders and Books > Kindle store > Kindle Books > Kindle eBooks (in the left side bar), filter by category > Bestsellers > Top 100 free.

The first suggestion will take you to a general list of the current 100 bestselling free ebooks available on Amazon across all genres. If you’re really only interested in a few genres, you’ll want to narrow your search by specifying a category in the second suggestion. Happy searching!

You can also find plenty of free eBooks especially for the Kindle on websites like our site 🙂 as well as Choosy Bookworm or FreeBooksHub.

Through BookLending, you can also loan Kindle ebooks to others, and borrow books that are currently being loaned through the system.

Nook

If you own a Nook (Barnes & Noble Device) you can search their bestsellers, new releases and coming soon books here

Kobo

The Kobo has an almost “cult” like following.  They are one of the smallest devices but are the most helpful to Indie authors.  If you would like to search the Kobo store and devices you can do so here.

Android

Open up Google Play, and browse under Books > Top Charts > Top Free. You can also use this link to head straight there: https://play.google.com/store/books/collection/topselling_free. However, since merely doing that will again lead you to an unfiltered collection, you can also try searching within Google Play Books by genre and then filtering the results by “free.”

You can also try typing the following search terms in a regular Google search bar to lead you to direct links for downloading free titles: “site:play.google.com inurl:store/books/details free –sample”. The results will be much more difficult to filter, but my job here is to provide you with exhaustive strategies. Your job is to be smart about them.

iPad/iPhone

Search the iTunes store for free books, then either download them to your computer to sync to your device, or download them straight to your device.

***

As the saying goes, “You can lead a person to free ebooks, but you can’t make them download any.” (That’s how the saying goes, right?) True, I can’t make you download any. But I can strongly encourage you to do so. Because we’re talking free books here, people! So get to it. Here’s hoping you find your next great read for free!

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Clean Shelf: How To Revamp Your Book Collection

Clean Shelf How To Revamp Your Book Collection

Though summer is drawing to a close as traces of fall foliage make their first tentative appearances and students scramble to finish their back-to-school shopping, it’s never too late to do some spring cleaning.

While books are easily my most-loved possessions, I personally tend to find that they’re the first to get slighted, organization-wise, when I feel like I have a million other responsibilities begging for my attention. My fantasies consist of the type of library à la the one that Beast gives Belle in Beauty and the Beast, with arched ceilings and impeccable shelves, where there’s a place for every book and every book has its place, and where sparkling volumes stand sentinel over vast stores of knowledge and imagination.

As it is, my reality is condensed to two bookshelves, so cluttered that new additions clamor for space among established favorites and resign to stacking themselves in haphazard arrays wherever there’s room.

I want better for my books. Because the ones I’ve loved enough for them to earn a space in my bookshelf are worlds I want to visit again and again, stories of love and bravery and resilience that have made an indelible mark on my heart. They deserve not to be cast aside or shoved away in dark corners. They’re a museum of the ideas and tales that have inspired my mind, and they should be displayed as such.

At the same time, I know there are books from high school English classes and obscure college courses that I don’t plan on reading ever again. Those I’ve kept partly because I’m just too lazy to get rid of them, and also because I can’t help but feel that to do so would be to personally affront them. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with the truth that just because I love books, doesn’t mean I have to love all books, and it’s okay to clean house — or, should I say, shelf — every once in a while. With that in mind, I offer the following tips for curating your collection:

Decide Which Books You’d Like to Donate, Sell, And Keep

Maybe you received a book from a relative ten Christmases ago that you always promised yourself you’d read, for their sake, but never got around to because it’s not something you would have picked for yourself. Maybe you promised yourself you’d read more classic literature, but after buying out that section at Barnes & Noble, decided to be more honest with your love of sci-fi, and haven’t touched them since. Maybe you realize you still own that random book from that second-semester sophomore year of college class that somehow got  forgotten in the back corner of your shelf. Or maybe you read a book and really enjoyed it, but don’t feel like you need to revisit it, and feel like you could probably have saved some money by getting it at the library instead.

We open our closets and experience little shame in donating the clothing we never wear, but books seem more substantive and so we’re hesitant to apply the same rules to them. If you’re serious about creating a personalized library that really holds some significance for you, it’s time to be ruthless. And I don’t mean you should rip books off the shelves and tear pages out of them — that’s a bit extreme, don’t you think? But ask yourself if you honestly have any intention of reading those books you’ve never gotten around to, or do you just like the look of them on your shelf?

Donate the ones you feel you can part with to a friend who might enjoy them, to a library, or any other donation centers where people might be in need of a good book. If it won’t serve you, let it serve someone else. There’s no shame in that.

If you’ve done that and you still really can’t bring yourself to part with the overwhelming majority of titles in your library, but you also definitely can’t fit them all on your shelf and you know there are some you won’t want to read as often as others, consider filing them away by genre in Rubbermaid bins and tucking them under your bed or in a storage closet. That way, they’re out of sight but still easily accessible should you have a hankering for them.

Elevate The Visual Standards For Your Bookshelf

Once you’ve decided which books are here to stay, you can revamp your shelf by organizing them in a way that is visually appealing. Having worked in a bookstore, I’ve gained a definite sense of appreciation for the ways in which books are arranged to make them most enticing for shoppers (that’s right: blame all your impulse buys on the store staff who manipulate you by displaying books in specific ways — you can’t help it if you feel like you need them all!). And speaking as someone who just likes to have beautiful surroundings, I’ll say it is nice to spend a little extra time giving your bookshelf a signature aesthetic. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Organize books alphabetically by author so you can easily find what you’re looking for. And if you want to get really fancy, organize by genre and then place books alphabetically by author within each.
  • If you have any yearbooks or large coffee-table type books in your shelf, place these on the bottom and shelve books according to size as you go up (with the shortest books on the top shelf).
  • If you have shelves containing books of multiple sizes, line them up from shortest to tallest, or consider “pyramiding” them so that the tallest books are in the center and the shortest ones are at each end.
  • Organize books by color, the way some people organize wardrobe pieces in their closets.
  • Take some thicker books (I’m looking at you, Harry Potter) and turn them so they’re face out rather than spine out. Your bookshelf just became a mini bookstore.

Now, step back and take a deep sigh of relief. Doesn’t that feel better? Now you’ve upped your shelf game, you can see everything on it, and it looks beautiful to boot. You’re welcome.

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Enchanting Books You Need To Complete Your Harry Potter Collection

 

Enchanting Books You Need to Complete Your Harry Potter Collection

Thought there were only seven parts to Harry Potter’s story?

You’re wrong.

And yes, I’m partly referring to the eighth story, the script book,Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II, which was released to massive Harry hysteria last week. But if you didn’t know about that one before reading this post… you’re probably not the one I’m writing this for.

This one’s for the hardcore Potterites, the ones who know that encyclopedic knowledge means something in nerd culture, the ones who may or may not judge people’s friendship potential based on the number of times they’ve read the books, the ones who can remember obscure facts like the name of the Hogwarts caretaker before Argus Filch (it’s Apollyon Pringle, in case you were wondering).

If you don’t want to risk embarrassment in your next round of Harry Potter trivia, or you just want to impress houseguests with the expanse of your mastery of and enthusiasm for the Harry Potter universe by casually resting these books on your coffee table, read on.

Because if you really want to have a cultured Harry Potter collection, you need several additions:

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook
Dinah Bucholz

For all the culinary types weary of concocting Butterbeer and chocolate frogs, let this book revive your cooking creativity with its array of magical treats that are sure to enchant your tastebuds. A gustatory tour through the world of Harry Potter, it is sure to treat every appetite, wizard and Muggle alike.

Harry Potter: Film Wizardry (Brian Sibley), Harry Potter: Page To Screen (Bob McCabe), And Harry Potter: Magical Places From The Films (Jody Revenson)

Films tell a thousand words. …That’s how the saying goes, right? For those of us who aren’t lucky enough to travel to Britain and take the Harry Potter studio tour, this collection presents another way to behold the behind-the-scenes enchantment of the settings, costumes, and props that (techni)colored Harry’s world.

The Harry Potter Coloring Books
Scholastic

We knew it would only be a matter of time after the adult coloring craze burst onto the scene that Harry Potter would make its own contribution to the trendy leisure activity suddenly espoused by grown-ups everywhere. And it certainly delivered. This collection of four books — the Harry Potter Coloring Book, Harry Potter Magical Places and Characters Coloring Book, Harry Potter Magical Artifacts Coloring Book, and Harry Potter Magical Creatures Coloring Book, will satiate every artistic palate (no pun intended).

The Unofficial Guide To Crafting the World of Harry Potter
Jamie Harrington

This book turns the dreams I’ve long held of becoming a wizard into something of a reality… and it gives me a perfect excuse to live them in a world obsessed with Pinterest-y crafting. If you, too, have longed to cast a spell over your ordinary surroundings, to turn your home into the Great Hall, your patio into the Forbidden Forest, and your bedroom into a house common room, buy this book and let that creative pumpkin juice flow.

Harry Potter: The Character Vault, The Artifact Vault, And The Creature Vault
Jody Revenson

Few words sound more impressive than “vault.” I mean, hearing that something is locked away in a vault usually means it’s some high-profile information or an invaluable treasure of some sort. It’s privileged information only granted to a chosen few. With this collection of books displayed proudly in your home, you’ll find your friends can’t help but defer to your judgment on all things Potter.

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Five Suggestions For An Absolutely Magical Potter Party

Five Suggestions For An Absolutely Magical Potter Party

Break out the Butterbeer and party like it’s 2007, because Harry and the gang are back for another round of shenanigans with the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — Parts I and II on July 31st. And Muggles and wizards alike can hardly contain their excitement. If you’re planning a bash to commemorate this momentous occasion (and why wouldn’t you?), here are some suggestions to ensure this is a night no memory charm could ever make you forget:

Dish Out Some Of Your Favorite Recipes From The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to dine in the Great Hall, you can count on this book’s array of taste-tempting wizarding treats to end the suspense. Whether your palate craves something savory or sweet, you don’t need a spell to bring this magic to life right in your own kitchen… though when everyone applauds you as the new favorite chef among your group of friends, you may just wonder if there wasn’t a little bit of enchantment involved.

Sip Some Tea.

This staple of both British culture and the lives of Harry and his friends presents an excellent choice of refreshment at your soirée. Plus, when you’re finished, you can offer to read each other’s tea leaves. Be sure to tell someone they’ve got the Grim. Heck, tell everyone they’ve got the Grim. Parties are for going big, after all. Professor Trelawney would be so proud.

Play “Pin The Sock On The House Elf.”

Provided the house elf is Dobby. And actually, why stop at socks? Dobby loves clothing, so deck him out! Give each player at the party a different article of apparel — a hat, a sweater, some pants — and everyone can be a winner!

Host A Horcrux-Themed Scavenger Hunt.

Since we can currently only dream of the day when Harry Potter will have its own augmented reality game in the vein of Pokémon Go, you’ll have to improvise on that front for now. Get your party guests outside and have them search for the Horcruxes that will bring about Voldemort’s demise… Maybe skip the live snake, though.

Play Scrabble Or Bananagrams, Using Names Of Characters, Places, And Spells From The Books.

Now you can finally tell all those Scrabble sticklers that, yes, Snargaluff is a word — and a triple word score at that! The victory is finally yours, and you didn’t even have to use the Confundus charm on anyone to get it.

***

However you choose to celebrate the re-emergence of Harry Potter back in our lives — with any of these ideas or one of your own — one thing’s for sure: it will be a most magical day, indeed.

Pass the pumpkin juice, please.

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Got a Problem? Let Jane Austen Help You.

Got a Problem Let Jane Austen Help You

“It’s all been done before.” Probably, if we’re being honest, by a character in a Jane Austen novel.

A read-through of any of Jane Austen’s seminal novels focused on the intricacy of human relationships and class relations in Regency England will assure you that awkward romantic ventures and baffling issues of social etiquette are nothing new. Long before Emily Post emerged on the scene, Jane Austen’s characters were defining propriety and tackling faux pas, which is why, some 200 years after Austen’s death, she remains the go-to guru for a multitude of perplexing situations. The publishers and authors of the following books certainly understood this, which is why they’ve compiled the authoress’ best one-liners and wisdom for the ages in the helpful guides below. Let the advice in these pages encourage you to take a tried-and-true approach to even your messiest of dilemmas.

What Would Jane Do? Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen
published by Potter Style
and
The Jane Austen Companion to Life
published by Sourcebooks

You know those situations: the ones where you wish you knew exactly the right comeback or witticism to toss someone’s way, but only manage to think of it hours later, when it’s no longer relevant? To ensure your head is never empty — and your pride never unsalvageable — in any of those crucial situations ever again, study up on the witticisms in these little books. Jane Austen knew a thing or two about a thing or two, and her wisdom is compiled in the pages of these books for your convenience. As an added bonus, they also happen to be the perfect size to tote in your handbag for some instant, on-the-go inspiration.

Miss Jane Austen’s Guide to Modern Life’s Dilemmas
Rebecca Smith

This is it, folks: the veritable bible on how to carry oneself in the modern era according to the dictates of Regency England. Drawing from Austen’s extensive experience and catalogue of characters, Smith leaves no stone unturned in her discussions of friends, family, work, career, fashion, and even vacationing. If you’re wondering how Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse would fare in the world of Facebook and online shopping, and if you’re wondering how you can implement their class and style in the midst of your most pressing problems, look no further.

The Jane Austen Handbook: Proper Life Skills from Regency England
Margaret C. Sullivan

If you somehow manage to create or snag a time machine and travel back to Regency England, you’ll probably have bigger problems to worry about than how to woo the gentleman of your dreams, dress for a ball, throw a proper dinner party, ride sidesaddle, or suitably enjoy the delights of the English countryside. Namely, how to get back to the present. But assuming, for whatever reason, that’s not an issue, this book is a good starting point for answers to all of those questions you’re bound to have. And, like the others on this list, it’s every bit as entertaining and insightful if you plan on remaining firmly rooted in the present.

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