Reading is a pleasurable hobby, but it comes with a cost. You need to buy books, care for them, keep them in a neat place, and so on. This is why most people are turning to technology and online platforms to read e-books. But then again, e-books need to be purchased. I know it’s sad, but even readers can be broke sometimes. This is why I’m here to solve this problem for you by suggesting you a few online platforms where you can read books for free.
For me, reading is reading. Be it a physical book or an e-book. Though I always try to save as much as I can during a month to purchase books and e-books, sometimes it’s difficult to meet ends. What do I do then? It’s not like I can let lack of money get in the way of me and reading. That is when I discovered these few sites, which I can rely on whenever I need good and free reads.
There are quite a few platforms that provide free e-books for readers like us, but these are the ones I rely upon the most. Platforms like Google Books, Smashwords, Wattpad, Goodreads, Bookboon, and many others provide amazing books online for us to have a great free read and that too, one hundred percent legally. This way, we can enjoy our reading time without worrying about spending money.
Happiness is doubled when it’s shared with others. Here, I am willing to share some wonderful free and legal websites with you fellow readers where you can get fantastic books to read.
16 Online Places Where We Can Read Books For Free
Let’s have a look at the following online platforms where you can go and read books for free.
1. Open Library
Open Library is an online platform that allows readers to access books for free. Operational since 2006, this is a universal catalog for books that aim to make books available for everyone to access and contribute. Open Library’s goal is to help open ways for readers like us to get our desired books for free.
To get started with Open Library, you need to open the website on your device and search for the book you’re looking for. If the book has an open book icon next to it, you can use it. If the book has a closed book icon next to it, that means you can borrow it from the registered users for two weeks. There’s a category called daisy books with a locked icon next to it. Those books are specially for visually impaired people.
This is a non-commercial platform and aims at providing the best services to its users. However, this platform still lacks quite a few books. Though this platform has more than good books for us to choose from, there might still be a chance that you won’t find the book you’re specifically looking for.
2. Google Books
Google Books is a service provided by Google which was launched in 2005. It is a platform where users can search for full texts of books scanned by Google and converted into text form using optical character recognition. These texts are stored in the platform’s digital database.
To use Google Books to read free books online, one must go to the Google Books website and search for the book/author/ISBN you’re looking for. A list of books will appear in front of you, out of which you need to click on the one you want to read. Hover to ebook-free from the top left corner and now, you might be able to download the pdf of your book for free.
Though it is one of the best free online reading platforms, not all books available here are free. You would be asked to pay a certain price for some books, but you can rest assured that you will find almost every book here.
From reading to writing to publishing an ebook, Smashwords is a complete package. It provides a free online platform for readers as well authors. Since 2008, it has been one of the most convenient platforms for readers and writers. The part about this platform is that you can promote your book.
It’s very easy to get started with reading on Smashwords. You need to open the website and search for the book you want. If you’re not sure what you want to read, you can use the filter and find the best books available on the website for your favorite genre and desired length. There’s also a filter for prices that you can set to ‘free’ to get results of only those books that are free to use.
Though I like using Smashwords for reading free ebooks, the problem remains the same with this one as well that not all books are for free and some books might not even be there.
24Symbols is yet another platform serving us readers with free books. We can get free ebooks and audiobooks on this platform. We get various options and filters which we can customize according to our preferences. It also provides various options like offline reading, social reading, and my library.
After signing up on the 24Symbols website or application (available to be downloaded from the play store), you can start searching for your desired book in the search bar. If you’re not sure which book to read, there are various options like sort by author, genre, and best of available that can help you pick a book to read.
Although the free service is pretty good, there is a subscription available for this platform which can let you access a wider range of books available on the platform.
Bookbub is a unique platform for reading online books. This platform helps readers discover new books and authors, features free (and even discounted) ebooks selected personally by the editorial team of BookBub, provides book recommendations, articles about various books, and event updates from authors.
After signing into your BookBub account, you can access the free ebooks available on the website. You will also access the personalized book recommendations and discover new books. It will keep you updated with anything new that happens with your favorite book, author, or genre.
Though like other platforms, this one also does not provide every book for free, but here, we have an advantage. BookBub provides heavy discounts and regular offers to avail of books at a relatably lower price.
Authorama is an online platform that provides free public domain books to read on-screen or print. The names of authors sort the books here in alphabetical order. You can access those books, read them on the spot, or download them to get them printed. The choice is yours.
Out of all the sites mentioned here, I found this one easiest to use. No sign-in is required for accessing this website and there is no need for searching the books. Every book available on the website is listed on the page in alphabetical order of the author’s name. Also, after accessing the book, if the visible format is not readable, we can create a specific user stylesheet according to our convenience.
Although I said that this website is easy to use, each book available on this website is for free. There are a very limited number of options available as this website only contains public domain books, and that too, not each one of them.
BookRix is an online free reading and self-publishing company. This platform also offers ebook distribution services which means that you can self-publish your book for free on this platform and then promote it through this platform only. The motive of this company is to make indie reading fun for people.
On BookRix, we can start by searching for books by book name, author name, or author username. We can narrow our search by sorting by categories, languages, newest releases, widely read, best rated, alphabetical order, number of pages, and free or discounted books. The book can be downloaded by clicking on the download option. The book is downloaded in an ePub format.
The problem with this website is not different from the others. Not every book can be available free here for free, but we can get so many good books at discounted rates.
Wattpad has been an online reading and writing platform operational since 2006. This platform enables a person to read and write real-life stories. Wattpad has stories available in more than 50 languages. It also holds an annual writing competition—the Watty Awards. The main motive of this platform is to reduce the barriers between readers and writers.
Reading on Wattpad is as easy as picking up a book from a library. After opening the home page, all you need to do is click on any book title you find alluring. After that, you can start to enjoy your book. There’s an option of offline reading as well. What you have to do for that is add the book into your offline library to access it even if you’re offline.
While most books here are available for you to read for free, some books still need to be paid for before reading. Which book is paid and which one is free can be known only after clicking on the book’s title.
BookBook is one of the biggest platforms providing free learning content and books. It is also an ebook publishing company. Originally launched under Ventus in 1988, this online platform mainly focuses on providing useful learning material for business professionals, students, etc.
Just like it’s there in its name, this platform can serve as a ‘boon’ for aspiring business professionals. BookBook provides us with top-quality learning material and textbooks written by professionals in engineering, IT, economics, business, and ample more. This platform works with professional and leading authors in various fields to provide us with the best for free.
This website takes a lot of consideration to make our experience even better. New books are updated every week and there’s even an option where we can get the books for offline use.
ManyBooks is yet another platform where we readers can enjoy great amazing books without spending a single penny. It is my favorite platform for reading books online when I don’t have enough savings to buy physical books. There are so many different and vibrant books to choose from that it’ll get you confused about which one to choose.
Since ManyBooks has a large collection of amazing, attractive, and bestselling books to choose from, we can search for specific books from the search menu based on the book’s name or author’s name. If you’re not sure which book you will read, you can sort the books by genre and then pick any book you like.
The best thing about this website is that you don’t have to worry about paying for them. This platform has more than 50,000 books and you can access them without spending a single penny. The books can be read online or downloaded in PDF format.
11. Robin Reads
Robin Reads is a rather interesting website to read ebooks from. It works with amazon and provides Kindle books for free (sometimes for a limited period) to download and access them anytime we want. It also works with various fresh authors to promote their books on their websites.
As I already mentioned, this platform works with amazon, so to access ebooks from this platform and sign into Robin Reads, you need to have an amazon account. One doesn’t necessarily need to have a Kindle account. Just an Amazon account should be fine for downloading Kindle ebooks for free on your device.
The service of this website is free, which means you don’t need to take any subscription at any point. Though there are a few Kindle books that might ask you to spend money on them, it’s guaranteed that those books would be available for free at some point for a limited time.
This platform is somewhat similar to the previous one, but the only difference is that it’s a little more efficient and competent. How? The previous one provides Kindle books for free, but here, along with Amazon Kindle ebooks, we also get free access to Nooks Books, Apple Books & Kobo Books.
Like Robin Reads, FreeBooksy also avails books from the aforementioned platforms for free but only for a limited time. To ensure you don’t miss out on any good free ebooks, you are notified via emails sent by the platform by its daily deals and you wouldn’t need to have an account on the other websites.
Even if you miss out on a free book, you will get great deals on paid books as well. You wouldn’t have to pay as much as you’ll need to do if you purchase the ebook from the original platforms.
13. Goodreads Free Shelves
You might have heard about the platform Goodreads. It’s one of the largest and trusted websites for booking reviews, ratings, book summaries. But not many people know that Goodreads also offers free ebooks for reads like us to read and enjoy.
Goodreads has an option of free shelves where we can access free ebooks and free excerpts from various books. There’s a unique collection for users and readers where free ebooks are listed for us to go and enjoy without having to spend money for their purchase. We can even make our shelves of ebook collections on Goodreads itself.
Despite being the most reliable source of book knowledge, this platform only offers a limited number of ebooks that can be accessed for free. There’s no charging policy on Goodreads, which means either the book is present for free or isn’t present.
Hoopla is one of the leading online library platforms. It can also be downloaded as an application from the Google play store for more convenience. It can become our own personalized, free, and amazing pocket library which can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. This way we won’t have to carry books while traveling. Our mobile phones/tablets would be enough.
Hoopla contains more than ten lakhs of book titles in different niches and genres. This application is available 24/7 for us and the best part is that we can read free online books without any ads or interruptions. It doesn’t just end here. More than a thousand new books are added to the collection every week.
Ebooks can be either instantly streamed or downloaded for future offline use. There’s even a kid’s mode that we can enable if we want only family-friendly content to show up.
15. Open Culture
Open Culture is a fun, enjoyable, and educational website. It is like a complete package and that too, for free. It has around 800 free ebooks, around 1000 audiobooks, 1700 free online courses, 300 free language courses, more than 4000 free online movies for streaming, additional online courses, and whatnot.
Most ebooks available on this website are educational books but not like those taught in schools. These are the kinds of books that will help you increase your intellectual level and impart knowledge. If you don’t feel like reading such educational material, there are amazing audiobooks and movies for you to access and everything is for free.
If I ever feel like gaining more knowledge about any topic or subject, this will be my go-to website as there is almost every book I would need and I’ll get them without spending a single penny.
16. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is the oldest ever online library. It was founded in 1971 by American writer Michael S. Hart to encourage and distribute ebooks. It is a volunteer effort to digitalize artistic works. The collection of this online platform includes full-length texts of books under the public domain.
Since it is the oldest online platform, it is only obvious that it has many ebooks ranging from ancient to modern times. All the books that can be accessed are in an open format layout that can be opened on any computer device. There are often new releases on the platform available in plain and other text formats like HTML, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and Plucker.
In October 2015, Project Gutenberg reached a total number of 50,000 ebooks in its collection. All the books available are free of cost and you won’t have to worry about paying in later stages on this website.
So, guys, these are my go-to websites whenever I’m short on money for going to the market and buying physical books, especially Google Books, Goodreads, FreeBooksy, and Robin Reads are my favorite ones (yet I love the other ones as well). As far as educational content is related, I usually prefer it online, and the platform I use the most for it is Open Culture. Feel free to discover these websites. Enjoy!
Oh, wait! I’ve got a little something for you. A few gifts from a reader to another. Hope you’d like them: