Sherry smiled and shook her head as she looked around her cluttered library. “This,” she held her hands out and turned in a slow circle as she spoke, “is why my son bought me an eReader. I have almost as many books in this little device as I do in this entire room.”
Sherry’s not alone. More people are accessing eReaders than ever before. The devices have come a long way since they first appeared on the market, and eBook sales are booming. While the average price for eBooks range from $9.95 to $12.95, they’re still significantly cheaper than purchasing the same number of traditionally printed books. For avid readers, it only makes sense to have a Reader.
The good news for many of us is that you can also get a myriad of eBooks for free. Some appear on more renowned sites like Amazon, Barnes & Nobel or in the iStore. But websites have sprung up recently that feature nothing but free eBooks. Readers can pick and choose from the hundreds of books on their shelves, adding to their library as many as they choose with no regard to the book budget for the week.
Digilibraries is a searchable, browsable collection of over 20,000 free eBooks. Like wandering through a brick-and-mortar bookstore, users can browse by category, by letter (A, B, C, etc.) or by title and author. Books, both fiction and non-fiction, are only available in either PDF or ePub format, most are available in both.
While eBooks Direct is not as visually appealing as many similar sites, they do have a great stock of free eBooks. Divided into categories to help readers with their hunt for the perfect book, this site really is a simple directory, usually linking into another website. Authors can submit their books here, and readers can comment on their thoughts on eBooks they’ve read. This site also allows you to share books via social media sties.
Sony has a bookstore for its own version of the eReader, but also provides apps to make their free ebook selection available to you no matter what type of device you use. The store is well laid out, with browsing and search capabilities. Books are added to your cart and then downloaded after shopping is completed.
The Book Depository
Not just a paperback book seller, The Book Depository now offers free eBooks in PDF format. Readers can browse for their favourite, browse by keyword or by book title. The eBooks don’t look like books – they have PDF file names and no art – but readers can search in the free eBook section and rest assured that that’s all they’re looking at, with no surprises at the end of the buying session.
We Give Books
If you have grandchildren coming to visit and want to read with them, or if you just love children’s books, this site is for you. Sign up is free and all books specify their targeted age. From picture books to older readers, We Give Books has them.
Google Books has hundreds of free eBooks, but no easy way to screen the freebies from the others on site. Readers may search by category and then refine the search by adding ‘free’ to the search. The apps are also free here. Files come in ePub format.
If you’re not sure what book you want, try NeoTake. This is an eBook search engine, and gives you information about books in categories you search. Books in a variety of languages, formats and prices (including free) will pull up in the search results. Clicking a book will take you to the download website.
Free eBooks may not give you everything you need in the way of reading materials, especially if you’re researching a specific topic. But they are a good start – even for folks like Sherry!