You don’t have to have an e-reader to take advantage of free e-books. Download free reading apps to turn your smart phone, tablet, or computer into an e-reader.
Although some of us will always love real, made-from-paper books, ebooks have several advantages. Not only can you get them cheap, you can get them FREE from all over the Web. They’re available almost instantly if you have an Internet connection, they’re usually less expensive than traditional books (not always!), and they don’t take up much space on your nightstand.
My two favorite places to find free and cheap ebooks are Amazon and the Wichita Public Library.
I like Amazon because it has a huge selection of Free Kindle E-books, and because I have the free Kindle app on my phone. I can choose from both contemporary titles that are free for a limited time and Kindle Popular Classics. My favorite way of searching free books at Amazon is by going to the Bestsellers list and tapping “Top 100 Free” at the top of the page. I use the reviews to determine whether I think I’ll be interested in a book, and sometimes they’re so good I go on to buy other books from that author.
The Wichita Public Library has offered free e-books for years now–and not just books, but audiobooks, video and music as well. If you have a library card, you can access and download digital media any time of the day. Download the free Overdrive app or, if you already have a Kindle or the free Kindle app on your tablet or phone, you can use that. Public library ebooks are always FREE, can be checked out for as long as three weeks, and – best thing ever – will never accrue late fees because they automatically ‘expire’ out of your device when they’re due. The selection is very good; some books may be checked out when you first see them, but you can just place a hold and you’ll be notified when the book is available. Visit Wichita E-Reads to browse books or start here to learn more about how it works.
Barnes and Noble also offers a selection of FREE Nook Books. The selection may change from time to time. The downside is that you have enter payment information (even though you won’t be charged for the free books) to be used as your default method of payment for future e-book purchases. If you’ve already purchased e-books from Barnes and Noble, you might already be good to go. Download Barnes and Noble free Nook reading apps for iPad, iPhone, Android, or PC.
Project Gutenberg has digitized over 33,000 out-of-copyright (in the U.S.) books that are free to download. They are available in ePub, Kindle, HTML, and simple text formats. Because of the wide variety of formats available, you can read these with your computer, phone, tablet, or other device (like some mp3 players), but you can also get them for your Kindle, NOOK, Kobo, and other e-readers.
Depending on the e-book formats available at these various sites around the Web, you may have to download (for free, of course) special software that allows you to read the books on your device. The major e-book providers listed above all offer free apps for many different devices.