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!

Photo Credit: gminguzzi via Compfight cc

The 20 Best Children’s Book Quotes Of All Time

Shel Silverstein Quote 1

 

 

“Sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
The Lorax – Dr. Seuss

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie

“And so for a time it looked as if all the adventures were coming to an end; but that was not to be.”
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

“We all live with the objective of being happy: our lives are all different and yet the same.”
The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

“Just remember that sometimes the way you think about a person isn’t the way they actually are.”
Paper Towns- John Green

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times if only one remembers to turn on the light.”
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien

“There is nothing sweeter in this sad world than the sound of someone you love calling your name.”
The Tale of Despereaux – Kate DiCamillo

“The more he gave away, the more delighted he became.”
The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister

“It is when we are most lost that we sometimes find our truest friends.”
Snow White – Brothers Grimm

” ‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’ ”
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White

“All grown-ups were once children … but only few of them remember it.”
The Little Prince- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I don’t understand it any more than you do, but one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t have to understand things for them to be.”
A Wrinkle in Time- Madeleine L’Engle

“You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
The Twits – Roald Dahl

“For the first time, he heard something that he knew to be music. He heard people singing. Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too. But perhaps it was only an echo.”
The Giver – Lois Lowry

“If there is any kind of God, it would be not any of us, not you or me, but just this little space in between.”
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Winnie-the-Pooh – A.A. Milne

“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them–that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”
Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”
The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg

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.

Photo Credit: moz278 via Compfight cc