Where can you download free eBooks?

Where can you download free eBooks?
(Image credit: Amazon)

If you're the proud owner of a Kindle or other eReader, you likely want to know where to download free eBooks. Sure, you're probably happy to pay for new releases and premium novels, but what about the short stories, fan novels, and books by authors you've never heard of? Where can you download these for free, and give them a try, risk-free? 

We've searched for the best places to find free eBooks, legally, to help you expand your virtual library. To clarify - we don't condone sites that publish authored work without the express consent of the copyright holder, because that's essentially stealing. And we'd always suggest that, if you enjoy an author's work, you seek ways to pay for or support it in some way because most people using things like eBook creators to publish their work are doing so as a source of income.

Below is a list of the most reputable places to download free eBooks. Most offer formats compatible across all eReaders, but if you're unsure whether the files will work on your device, always check the user manual. And if you'd prefer to listen on your Kindle instead, we have a guide to the best audiobook services, some of which are free.

1. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is probably the most well recognized website for free eBooks and provides books for the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, iPod Touch and other cell phone formats as well. These titles are free because their copyrights have expired, which means many of the titles will be fairly old. But a good classic is often hard to beat, so don’t skip this selection in your search for the best read of the year. With over 20,000 works it might be difficult to decide where to begin, but you can view the list of the top 100 to get started.

2. Internet Archive

Internet Archive is another extensive list of great eBook offerings. Browse to the Texts category for a list of over 2.5 million titles. Search by key word, author, title, or within a specific category. These titles are free to read, download and print, with a few restrictions on commercial or bulk usage.

3. Free-eBooks.net

Free-eBooks.net is a great collection of fun, entertaining selections. Categories include a few non-fiction topics such as career and business, but the selection of fiction and easy reading is what is most impressive about this website. Formats include HTML, PDF, ePub and Mobipocket, offering a range of variability for most digital reading devices. You'll be asked to sign-up when you land on the site, and it's important to know the difference between memberships here. VIP, which will cost money, gets you access to unlimited eBooks. Free membership gets you five free eBooks per month, and you'll never be forced to pay.

Project Gutenberg

(Image credit: Project Gutenberg)

4. Manybooks.net

ManyBooks.net provides popular titles, recommendations and reviews from visitors. Visitors can browse titles by name, genre, author and even language. New titles are prominently available as well as a convenient visual search option that lets you browse book covers to see if something catches your eye. With over a dozen download format options, there’s bound to be an option that fits the particular needs of every mobile reading device.

5. GetFreeEbooks.net

GetFreeEbooks has many great titles. The disadvantage of this site compared to some of the others, however, is the highly ad-intensive pages, with only a narrow center column in which visitors can view up to four titles on a page. This inconvenient navigation makes browsing for something new quite a hassle. If you can manage the navigational difficulties, however, the titles are well worth wading through.

6. Baen Free Library

For science fiction fans, Baen Free Library provides a number of free download choices. These titles are available from Baen Books.

Again, you're unlikely to find the brand new releases on here, and you should absolutely pay for work that has been released by creators who need to make money from it. But just dipping into any of the above sites will fill out your library nicely, help you discover classics and new authors, and give you plenty to read as you wait for life to return to normal. And if you need more advice on devices for reading eBooks, we have a guide to the best tablets right now.