Everyone with an internet connection has an endless library at their fingertips. The days of the local library, school library or book store being the only source for reading material are gone. Your library and your book store are no longer just buildings in town; they are that electronic gizmo many of us stare at almost every day. Free books can be downloaded to your PC or reading application and many various formatted materials are available for online reading; even lots of audio-books are found throughout the web.
Remember the days when, if we wanted to read a book, we had to go to the local library or book store and spend a lot of time scouring the shelves for something to catch our eye. How many of us have shelves at home filled with books we’ve purchased only to read them once and then let them become dust collectors? There was a time when a book-on-tape was a novelty, and sometimes an expensive investment, if not borrowed from the library. If you wanted a book on tape (eventually changed to book-on-disk, CD and DVD) your choices were fairly limited, unless you were willing to shell out the money to have an audio-book mail-ordered or hope that the local bookstore has something that will tickle your fancy.
Remember those days when the local library was research central for every student in the county? Every day there were young and old alike gathered in the library hunting for some bit of secret knowledge or just for the entertainment and enjoyment of reading. Trying to gather research information and study material for a school paper or work was often a daunting effort. We can thank that grand experiment ARPANET that, in the 1960s, began what we now call the internet; the internet, that magical thing that brings a limitless library into everyone’s home.
From the comfort of our homes, we can search the internet for a never ending supply of books, research material, and information of all kinds, even audio recordings and video recordings. Book PC, Mac, and phone applications like Kindle and Nook Books provide us with the means of downloading and possessing all kinds of texts; even Windows 8 has its own book reader application. If one of these an applications isn’t sufficient, there are tons of HTML and Adobe .pdf file books out on the web.
Here are some of my favorite sites for free eBooks and Audio Books:
Top Choice Sites:
- Project Gutenberg and is the self-proclaimed first producer of free eBooks. This site offers over 45,000 free eBooks and includes choices among free ePub books, free kindle books, plain text, .pdf and other formats to download or read them online.
- Amazon’s Kindle Books. Yes that’s right, you can find free Kindle Books on Amazon. Use the Amazon search tool and type in “free kindle books” or the Kindle eBook menu item (this link will take you direct to the Kindle eBook Site).
- Archives.org is a great place to find tons of books, audio downloads, audio online, podcast, video downloads and video’s on line.
- LibriVox. “LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then release the audio files back onto the net for free. All the audio is in the public domain.”
- Literature.org: You’ll find many of the great classic authors at this online literature library to include: the Bronte sisters, Lewis Carroll, Dickens, Doyle, Eliot, Lawrence, Poe, Stoker, Tolstoy and Verne, just to name a few.
- Nook Books, Just like Amazon’s Kindle eBooks, Barns & Noble’s Nook Book has quite a lot of free books. Make sure you have the Nook Book reader application on your PC or Mac.
- The Luminarium is an Anthology of English Literature. You’ll find English literature for the Medieval Period, Renaissance Period, 17th Century Period, and Restoration Period, a collection dedicated to English Religious Writers, Renaissance Dramatists, Metaphysical Poets, and Cavalier Poets. Most of the links will take you to an online readable text version. In some cases, they include audio recorded readings of the selected author (may require Real Media Player). This site also has a searchable link to make it easier and faster to find your author.
- Windows 8 Free Books Application. If you have Windows 8/8.1, you also have a free eBook library in the Windows Store application. Last time I checked there was over 24,000 book titles to choose from.
- Sacred Texts. For studies in all religions try Sacred Texts. On the left side of the home page you find links to all the great religions of the world and many, many more. All are free; however, occasionally you will find links that will take you to sites to purchase a CD version of a text.
- PodGallery contains a wealth and variety of audio podcast to choose from including recordings from NPR, “StarTalk” with Cosmos‘s Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, BBC, “Philosophize” This by Steven West, “Poetry off the Shelf, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Tales of Horror, and yes, oh so much more.
Get searching and get reading. You will never run out of free reading material or audio books. Enjoy!