Happy World Book Day!
March 7, 2024 5:23 AM   Subscribe

Changing lives through a love of books and reading What's your favourite source of legal and free ebooks ?

World Book Day, also known as World Book and Copyright Day or International Day of the Book, is an annual event organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to promote reading, publishing, and copyright. The first World Book Day was celebrated on 23 April in 1995, and continues to be recognized on that day. A related event in the United Kingdom and Ireland is observed in March.

The original idea was conceived in 1922 by Vicente Clavel, director of Cervantes publishing house in Barcelona, as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes and boost the sales of books. It was first celebrated on 7 October 1926, Cervantes' birthday, before being moved to his death date, 23 April, in 1930.[4] The celebration continues with great popularity in Catalonia, where it is referred to as Sant Jordi's Day or The Day of Books and Roses.

In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on 23 April, as the date is also the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, as well as that of the birth or death of several other prominent authors.[5] (In a historical coincidence, Shakespeare and Cervantes died on the same date—23 April 1616—but not on the same day, as at the time, Spain used the Gregorian calendar and England used the Julian calendar; Shakespeare actually died 10 days after Cervantes died, on 3 May of the Gregorian calendar.)

- Wikipedia


It's World book day*!

What's your favourite source of legal and free ebooks ?

Mine are:
1 - Gutenberg Books
2 - Libby (library App)
3 - Archive.org
4 - Libvox
5 - Smashwords
6 - Wikibooks
7 - Tech Books For Free
8 - Complete Works of William Shakespeare
9 - Baen books
10 - Local Library

Links to all (except local library hopefully you have one!) are below.

1. Gutenberg Books:
Thousands of books in multiple digital formats.

"You will find some of world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for you to enjoy."

2. Libby
Desktop and mobile device App that allows anyone with a library card to borrow digital books and audio-books from any participating library

"Libby is a free app where you can enjoy ebooks, digital audiobooks, and magazines from your public library. You can stream titles with Wi-Fi or mobile data, or download them for offline use and read anytime, anywhere. All you need to get started is a library card."

3. Archive.org
" Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. "

4. Libvox
" Free public domain audiobooks, read by volunteers from around the world.

- Listen
LibriVox audiobooks are free for anyone to listen to, on their computers, iPods or other mobile device, or to burn onto a CD.

- Read
LibriVox audiobooks are read by volunteers from all over the world. Perhaps you would like to join us? "

5. Smashwords
" Browse nearly one million original ebooks, including approximately 100,000 priced every day at free "

6. Wikibooks
" Simply, Wikibooks is a collection of open-content textbooks. "

7. Tech Books for Free
" Free Books on Technology, Computers, Science "

8. Complete Works of William Shakespeare

" Welcome to the Web's first edition of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. This site has offered Shakespeare's plays and poetry to the Internet community since 1993."

9. Baen Books
"Baen Books has been bringing readers pulse-pounding, thought-provoking adventures straight from the heart of science fiction and fantasy for decades. We publish books in hardcover, paperback, and electronic form."

10. Local Library

"A collection of books, (possibly other materials / media,) that is accessible for use by its members. Libraries provide physical (hard copies) or digital (soft copies) materials, and may be a physical location, a virtual space, or both." - Wikipeda

Library's are almost always free to join and - depending on your region - may also lend DVD's, Music CD's, Tools, Toys, provide free internet usage, Tech Drop-in surgeries, basic computer classes, & more!
[* Due to holiday scheduling it's on diff dates in the UK & Ireland to than the rest of the world - still Book Day ! ]
posted by Faintdreams (23 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Amazon has a bunch of free books to access on Kindle via the standard amazon pages. Link to 100 top Free best sellers for example. Or Free books by genre.

They also have some decent free text books, I think especially text books that have come out as open access from research. If you type Open Access and the field you are interested in into Amazon's book search you can get some good stuff, with lots of variations between fields. Example "Open access Energy".
posted by biffa at 5:45 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover.
posted by blob at 5:46 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]

Libretexts (here linking to their biology section), free textbooks! (I found this very useful a few months ago when the kids wanted to learn about flatworms.)
posted by mittens at 6:03 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

Things I learned today: my local library in the UK uses Libby, mostly for magazines and comics (I always assumed it was a US thing). Thank you, Faintdreams!

Borrowbox is great, and is used by lots of UK libraries. I especially like it for e-audiobooks, since I don't enjoy reading on my ipad and the ebooks can't be used on Kindle.
posted by altolinguistic at 6:16 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Check to see if you are eligible to belong to more than one library! Even if you're not close to it, their ebooks and audiobooks on Libby might be better or a good supplement to your local library's selections, and if nothing else will increase your chances for getting through holds lists faster. Here in Pennsylvania, for instance, most public libraries have reciprocal agreements, so in addition to my local library system, I also belong to Pittsburgh's. In New York State, the NYPL allows anyone to get an e-library card. Etc.
posted by biblioPHL at 6:17 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

Archive of Our Own for fanworks of book length or otherwise. I've found all sorts of fandoms there.
posted by dragonplayer at 6:31 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

I remember that Librivox had an excellent reader for MR James's short stories, exactly the kind of calm yet haunted Englishman you would want to hear. I even heard "Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad" for the first time in a dark room, away from home ... whoo.

I read a lot from archive.org, and it's also a valuable source of scholarly work.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:47 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

The University of Chicago Press offers free e-books throughout the year.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:56 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

posted by elphaba at 7:17 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

Mod note: Comment removed at poster's request, they didn't want detract from the good mood of the thread. A few responses to said comment were also removed.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (staff) at 7:35 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Libby! Books and audiobooks, plus magazines! You can even set up your account so Libby notifies you once a new edition of a magazine is available! Game changer!
(So many exclamation points, but I'm a huge Libby fan)
posted by WithWildAbandon at 7:50 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]

MIT Press has a phenomenal open-access book-publishing program, spanning many disciplines. Here's where you can find their open-access titles.

(I have a chapter in this one.)
posted by humbug at 7:52 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

Big Libby fan here, too. It's definitely kicked-up my reading. The only beef I have has much more to do with the number of books my library has e-copies of (and, thus, are available on Libby) than anything else.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:55 AM on March 7

Big fan of many of these I'll throw in Standard Ebooks and Hoopla as well.
posted by astrospective at 8:04 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]

My local library system also offers access to hoopla. Loads of graphic novels, but also e-books, audiobooks, music, movies (A24 titles), and television. They don't have a huge selection of audiobooks, but every once in a while something that has a very long wait on Libby is available there immediately.
posted by amarynth at 8:05 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]

Z-Library because it's provided me access to articles unavailable elsewhere.
posted by neonamber at 8:30 AM on March 7

I have not yet used it, but my local library recently added Palace, and I installed the app on my phone. I have used Hoopla and Libby from them in the past.
posted by fings at 9:05 AM on March 7

A tuthree years ago, all Irish county and city libraries consolidated to a national service and abolished late fees. I can request-and-require the delivery of any book in the system to my local library and return it anywhere I'm passing. It's a read-encouraging improvement from the days of inter-library loan forms submitted in triplicate (retain the pink copy). Borrowbox is the contracted e-service provider and it's pretty good.

I'm in a pretty funny situation at the moment ear-booking through At Sixes and Sevens: How to Understand Numbers and Make Maths Easy by Rachel "Countdown" Riley. Obvs without pictures. Riley brightly utters some bafflegab "a cubed plus b cubed all in brackets is not the same as a to the half plus two sin theta plus b raised to next tuesday" and adds confidently "it will all be clear if you refer to the triangle on page 14 of the PDF". Hint: there is no PDF.

Up until recently the local post office supported three shelves of a Book Exchange which was fitfully good. Every so often there would be a blurf of my sort of books and then things would settle back down to blocky airport novels.
posted by BobTheScientist at 9:50 AM on March 7

MIT Press has a phenomenal open-access book-publishing program, spanning many disciplines. Here's where you can find their open-access titles.

They have Laura Watts "Energy at the End of the World: An Orkney Islands Saga" which I totally recommend. Watts is an anthropologist poet digging into efforts to develop marine renewable on the remote Orkney Islands. She covers history, geography, society and technology and achieves some lovely turns of phrase.
posted by biffa at 1:29 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]

I LOVE hoopla (although you're limited to five borrows a month from our library) and like Libby and Palace. I'm grateful that my library offers them all.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:18 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

It's Librivox, not Libvox, fwiw.
posted by zadcat at 2:19 PM on March 7

Hate to provide free advertising for them but Amazon now offers some audiobooks free. As they put it: "Stream hundreds of free audiobooks, podcasts, and more. No trial or membership
required. Simply sign in with your Amazon account
posted by pickles_have_souls at 3:50 PM on March 7

I read 51 books last year and only paid for five of them (I’m too impatient to wait for holds for some authors’ books, notably Scalzi) thanks to Libby.
posted by jeoc at 6:28 PM on March 7

« Older I know damn well it's not going to go over   |   The Second Haitian Revolution? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments