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Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover.

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Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that produces new editions of public domain ebooks that are lovingly formatted, open source, free of U.S. copyright restrictions, and free of cost.

Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of reading devices. Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style manual, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to create a new edition that takes advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology.

Standard Ebooks aren’t just a beautiful addition to your digital library—they’re a high quality standard to build your own ebooks on.

What makes Standard Ebooks different?

Modern & consistent typography.

Other free ebooks don’t put much effort into professional-quality typography: they use "straight" quotes instead of “curly” quotes, they ignore details like em- and en-dashes, and they look more like early-90’s web pages instead of actual books.

Standard Ebooks applies a rigorous and modern style manual when developing each and every ebook to ensure they meet a professional-grade and consistent typographical standard. Our ebooks look good .

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Full proofing with careful corrections

Transcriptions from other sources are often filled with typos or suffer from issues like inconsistent spelling, missing accent marks, or missing punctuation. Submitting corrections to such sources can be difficult or impossible, so errors are rarely fixed.

At Standard Ebooks, we do a careful and complete readthrough of each ebook before releasing it, checking it against a scan of the original pages to fix as many typos as possible. Even if we do miss something, our ebooks are stored in the hugely popular Git source control system, allowing anyone to easily submit a correction.

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Our ebooks include complete, well-researched, and consistent metadata, including original, detailed book blurbs and links to encyclopedia sources. Perfect for machine processing or for extra-curious, technically-minded readers.

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Each Standard Ebook takes full advantage of the latest ereader technology, including:

Hyphenation support,

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and more. One of our goals is to ensure our ebooks stay up-to-date with the best reading experience technology can provide. Just because it’s a classic doesn’t mean it has to use old technology.

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Quality covers

Everyone knows a book is judged by its cover, but most free ebooks leave it to your ereader software to generate a drab default cover.

Standard Ebooks draws from a vast collection of public domain fine art to create attractive, unique, appropriate, and consistent covers for each of our ebooks.

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Our strict coding standards allow technologists and ebook producers to use Standard Ebooks files as reliable, easy to read, and robust bases for their own work—not to mention as models of what well-crafted ebook files look like. Common code patterns are repeated through different ebooks, so the code never surprises you.

Each ebook is also enhanced with careful standards-based semantic markup that opens the gateway for exciting new kinds of machine processing.

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Free, open-source, & public domain

We use the popular Git source control system to track each and every change made to our ebooks. Anyone can easily see a history of changes, or contribute their own changes with the click of a mouse.

And while all of the ebooks we feature and the cover art we draw from are already believed to be in the public domain in the U.S., Standard Ebooks releases all of the work we put in to each ebook into the public domain too. That makes each and every one of our ebook files not just free, but libre too—because the world deserves more unrestricted culture.

The 21 Best Places to Find Free Books Online

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Blog – Posted on Monday, Apr 20

The 21 best places to find free books online.

The 21 Best Places to Find Free Books Online

If you’re anything like us, you go through books fast . Sometimes it seems like an addiction you can’t keep up with — and if there’s one thing any bookworm can tell you, it’s that this habit can quickly get expensive.

Luckily, the savvy reader knows there are plenty of places online to legally download books without spending a single penny. In this post, we’re giving you 21 of the best places to find free books online, so that you can satisfy even the most debilitating of book addictions, guilt-free.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the number of great books out there, you can also take our 30-second quiz below to narrow it down quickly and get a personalized book recommendation  😉

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1. Project Gutenberg

what books are copyright free

2. The Online Books Page

If that’s not enough books for you, The Online Books Page , hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, boasts a staggering list of over three million free ebooks! Unlike Project Gutenberg, they don’t actually host any of the books themselves, instead providing links to where you can download them. And their website does look like something straight out of 1996. Still, when we’re talking about this many ebooks at our fingertips, can we really complain? This is a great source for classics and obscure titles that offer deep dives into arcane topics, though some newer books can also appear.

3. Kindle Store

what books are copyright free

4. Smashwords

Like Amazon, Smashwords has a page where you can easily see all the books authors have chosen to give away for free . With the ability to browse by categories such as “newest,” “bestseller,” and “highest-rated,” as well as filtering by the book’s length and genre, this is an easy way to instantly find free books. (Just remember to re-select the “free” category at the top if you choose to browse by genre!) The best part? Most stories are available in a wide range of file formats, and you don’t even need an account to download them.

what books are copyright free

6. Robin Reads

A book promotion service in the vein of BookBub, Robin Reads is another great way to stay in-the-know on all the hottest new titles and discounts. With everything from romance to horror to nonfiction, there’s sure to be something interesting in nearly all of their daily emails.

7. eReader News Today

what books are copyright free

8. FreeBooksy

Most of the other book promotion services focus on both free and discounted books, but FreeBooksy is the biggest site that’s dedicated solely to ebooks you don’t have to pay for. Unlike some of its competitors, it seeks out deals from all the major retailers, so even if you’re totally loyal to Kobo or Nook, you’re bound to find some great books gratis . (Can you tell we’re desperately trying not to use the word “free” too much?)

9. Manybooks

what books are copyright free

10. Goodreads Free Shelves

Sometimes the easiest way to find free books is to crowdsource for them, and Goodreads shelves make this process easy. Browsing by shelf collects all the books that users put in shelves of the same name, and you can easily find shelves marked as “ free-ebooks ,” “ free-ebook ,” “ free ” and more. Now, because this is dependent on users marking ebooks themselves, it is possible that some of the books were shelved during a period when a book was once being given away free and now comes with a heavier sticker price. They may also shelve books in the public domain that you can find through sites such as Project Gutenberg, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll find these for free if you follow the link to them on Amazon. Still, it’s a rich resource that may easily give you titles you don’t find on other sites, so it’s definitely worth a look.

11. Reedsy Discovery

what books are copyright free

Love indie books and want to read them for free, before anyone else does? That's exactly what you get if you sign up to become a Reedsy Discovery reviewer , as indie authors provide free ebooks in exchange for an honest review. Simply take notes of your thoughts as you read, and use them to write up a coherent review when you've finished reading. You'll be helping out the author as well as would-be readers, while getting a free read! Writing book reviews can also be an excellent way to break into the publishing industry if you're at the start of your career, but most of all they're great fun to write and read alike.

12. Riveted by Simon Teen

what books are copyright free

13. Harlequin Online Reads

The leading publisher of romance novels, Harlequin’s website also offers a huge collection of serialized stories from some of their best authors — for free. New chapters are posted every week, or you can browse a massive back catalogue of completed works. With filters such as “Fall in Love,” “Walk on the Dark Side,” and “Take a Trip Down the Aisle,” plus the ability to show titles based on how much time you have to read at the moment (yes, really!), this collection is sure let you zero in on the exact romance fix you’re craving.

14. Tor.com

what books are copyright free

15. Libby / OverDrive

In the wise words of Arthur the Aardvark, “Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!” So it is with Libby , the new app by OverDrive. OverDrive allows libraries to purchase ebooks for lending out to their patrons. Each “copy” of the ebook can only be checked out by one patron at a time. Loan lengths and the total number of titles you can have at once varies by library. Books may be checked out and downloaded directly through Libby, or downloaded for reading via Kindle. Because only one person can check out each copy at a time, though, there are often hold lists on popular titles — sometimes significant ones — so be sure to keep an eye on that when you’re picking your next read. However, the catalogue available to each library is quite extensive, and if there’s ever a title your library hasn’t purchased yet, there’s an easy button to request it right in the app.

what books are copyright free

17. Wattpad

Lovers of fanfic have long been familiar with sites where users can upload stories one chapter at a time, but Wattpad brings that idea to life in the original fiction world — with a few additional benefits as well. Started in 2006, Wattpad is perfect if you’re looking for a wide range of diverse voices and unconventional stories that might get overlooked by big publishers. Chock-full of talented writers and enthusiastic readers, it’s a community unlike anything else in the reading landscape. Leave comments, follow your favorite authors, and upvote the stories you love. With the free app, you can even keep up with all the best stories right from your phone.

18. PaperBack Swap

what books are copyright free

19. Open Culture

In Open Culture’s own words, they scour the internet for the “audio books you need, the language lessons and educational videos you want, and plenty of enlightenment in between.” As a curator of free online learning resources , this sounds great to us! Their audiobook selection is top-notch as well, including some surprisingly high-profile narrators . ( The Wizard of Oz as read by Tituss Burgess? Where do they even find these treasures?)

20. LibriVox

what books are copyright free

21. Storynory

Lastly, in all the rush to find free books, let’s not forget about the littlest readers among us! Storynory offers free audiobooks for kids, featuring everything from classics to brand-new originals exclusive to the Storynory site. While not as extensive a collection as some of the sites on our list, the stories are charming and offer a welcome distraction when someone just won’t settle down.

Still can't get enough books? Check out our list of the 115 Best Books of All Time . Or why not get paid to read, by applying to some of the legitimate sites that pay reviewers ?

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20 Public Domain Children’s Books

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Alison Doherty

Alison Doherty is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on the subway, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.

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If you’re creating art, using classic books in your library, or want to read free books, public domain children’s books are a great option! From picture books to lesser-known classics, start with these.

What do we mean by public domain children’s books?

The public domain includes creative works that are no longer under copyright or anyone’s intellectual property. Copyright means exactly what is say: the right to copy. For books, this means any publisher can create their own copies of public domain books to sell. That’s why there are hundreds of editions of Shakespeare’s plays and Pride and Prejudice on the shelf in the bookstore. It can also mean way more freedom to create reimaginings and retellings. That’s why you see so many Great Gatsby retellings coming out this year — the book finally entered the public domain in January 2021.

A book entering the public domain also means there is more freedom for libraries and school programs to offer them, more ability for artists to base their work on characters and use quotations, and the opportunity for people to read them out loud on YouTube without worrying about breaking the law. It also means you’ll probably be able to find these books to read for free on Project Gutenberg .

How does public domain work? Before 1998 , most creative works entered the public domain 75 years after they were first published. But a Congressional Act added 20 years to this, making the new rule 95 years after being published. This was lobbied for directly by Disney, to the extent that the law is sometimes mockingly called the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. What’s ironic about this is how Disney has taken advantage of the Public Domain to create so many of their films, from fairytale princess stories to Bambi, Robin Hood, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. There’s also lots of other stuff in about when the copyright expires on unpublished books or anonymously written books. But for our purposes what’s important is that books enter the public domain 95 years after they were first published.

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A Note on Diversity

Diversity in publishing is still a big problem. And clearly it was even worse 95 years ago. This list is all white authors and, while I tried to weed out the obviously harmful books and stories, still know that I probably missed some. And many of these books are likely to have untrue, harmful depictions and stereotypes of gender, race, disability, sexuality, and social class.

Personally, I think that’s one of the reasons to support books entering the public domain. It’s one way that writers and filmmakers can take beloved stories and update them to reflect more experiences and current values.

Popular Public Domain Children’s Books

So our public domain children’s books were all published in 1925 or before. That’s the important date to remember. Although, to complicate it again, just because a book enters the public domain doesn’t mean the depictions of characters from future films/television shows/illustrations/sequels do. With those words of warning, here are 20 of the most popular public domain children’s books.

what books are copyright free

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by John Tenniel

The original Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland words and illustrations, along with their sequels, were published in the 19th century and are all in the public domain (although the term “Alice in Wonderland” is a trademark owned by Disney…sigh). Still, the story of the Victorian girl who falls through a rabbit hole into an upside, topsy-turvy world is available under fair use. With beloved characters like the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and more, it’s easy to see why this remains an enduring classic.

what books are copyright free

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, illustrated by W. W. Denslow

The original words and illustrations from the first 26 books in the Wizard of Oz series are now in the public domain. This includes the first book, which is the most well known. It will take until 2059 for all 40 books in the series to be in the public domain. But for now, you can still enjoy the iconic tale of Dorothy’s departure from Kansas to a weird and wonderful world of Oz, along with the bravery and adventure it takes for her to make her way home again.

what books are copyright free

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The novel series following an orphan girl sent to a small community in Prince Edward Island has been adapted and celebrated for over a hundred years. In fact, the Netflix show Anne with an E is a favorite among my students. Six of the eight novels in the series are available through public domain. In addition, the first two books in Montgomery’s less famous, but equally charming, series Emily of New Moon are now available though the public domain. The third Emily book will enter the public domain in 2023. But we’ll have to wait longer for the final two Anne of Green Gables books, because they weren’t published until the 1930s.

what books are copyright free

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Comedic and moralistic, this story of anthropomorphic animals has been delighting children for over a hundred years. It is made up of several short stories following the adventures of animals who live along a river bank in the English countryside. Mr. Toad (and his wild ride) is probably the most famous because of the Disney adaptation. The story was also adapted as musical by Julian Fellows, the creator of Downton Abbey .

Cover of Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

All of Louisa May Alcott’s novels are in the public domain. But none is as beloved as this story of the four March sisters growing up in Massachusetts during the Civil War. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy all have different personalities and dreams. But they all love and support each other. And I think those sisterly bonds are what have been making generations of young readers fall in love with these characters and this book.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

First published in 1883, this much-adapted novel is a true adventure story. Jim Hawkins is a young boy who finds himself in possession of a treasure map. He hires a crew to help him find the treasure, but they turn out to be a gang of pirates instead of regular sailors. Many of the tropes of pirates we see in media today originate in this story. This is especially true in the depiction of the villain, Long John Silver.

The Secret Garden cover by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Mary Lennox returns to England from India after losing both of her parents to Cholera. She has a hard time adjusting to the gloomy Yorkshire estate where her uncle and guardian lives. But everything changes when she finds an abandoned, walled off garden and decides to bring it back to life. Published in 1910, this book is in the public domain. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s other famous book for children, A Little Princess , was published five years earlier and is also available under public domain laws.

what books are copyright free

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

After doing some research , I believe the novel version Peter Pan is available through public domain because it was published in 1911. The original play version is less certain. Still, there is room to adapt the story that is rich with magic and adventure. The story begins with Peter Pan tempting the Darling children to Neverland, a magical place where children don’t have to grow up.

Public Domain Picture Books

what books are copyright free

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and William Nicholson 

Published in 1922, the words and illustrations for this classic picture book are both in the public domain. The book tells the story of a stuffed rabbit who is so loved by his owner that he turns into a real rabbit. It’s a tale that stands up for the shabby, well-loved stuffies everywhere.

book cover

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Twenty-three of the 24 Peter Rabbit books are in the public domain. However, the characters and images still have a trademark on them. This time it isn’t Disney’s fault. In fact, Potter refused Disney’s offer to make a film adaptations in 1936. Peter Rabbit is the oldest trademarked character through a deal to make stuffed animals based on him in 1903. We can read about him and Jemima Puddle-Duck and Benjamin Bunny. But copying their images is much trickier business.

Newly Added Public Domain Children’s Books

what books are copyright free

The School at the Chalet by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer

The first in this long running book series came out in 1925, which means it’s entering the public domain for the first time. The 64 books follow teacher Madge Bettany, who sets up a school for girls in the Austrian alps. The first pupil is Madge’s younger sister, but eventually more students join, all with their own personal problems and dramas. The series continued to be published until 1970. It is still available in ebook form or from used book sellers. Who knows? Maybe it is time for a revival!

what books are copyright free

The Knave of Hearts by Louise Saunders, illustrated by Maxfield Parrish

This book has an interesting origin story. The author is the wife of legendary editor Max Perkins, who discovered Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe. It is unusual for a book to have so many colorful illustrations from this time period. The story is told in play format. And it tells a secret story behind the nursery rhyme from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland .

what books are copyright free

A Gallery of Children by A. A. Milne, illustrated by Henriette Willebeek le Mair 

Winnie the Pooh won’t enter the public domain until next year…but A.A. Milne’s second book for children enters this year, joining his first book When We Were Very Young . These stories don’t have the lovable characters Milne is known for, but instead are short vignettes based on the illustrations. They do get into the mindset of what childhood meant for society in the 1910s and ’20s.

Public Domain Children’s Fairy Tale Books

what books are copyright free

The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm

These fairytales and folk tales collected by the German brothers in the 19th century are probably the most famous today. They include princess stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and The Frog Princess. The collection also has other famous tales like Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Goose Girl. There are also lots of lesser known fairytales in the collections as well. So much source material to work with!

what books are copyright free

Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

The Danish author Hans Christian Anderson wrote many beloved children’s fairytales. Stories like The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Snow Queen, The Little Match Girl, The Red Shoes, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and more. Altogether, he wrote 156 fairy tales that are all in the public domain. While the stories are available for use, certain more recent translations may still be under copyright. And character art that comes directly from movies or more recent illustrations are probably not available for use either.

Cover of The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

I loved paging through my mother’s childhood copy of this book when I was a kid. Andrew Lang created 12 collections of fairytales for children from 1889 to 1910. This is the first one, with familiar retellings of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Bluebeard, and may more. Because it was the first book in the series, it has some of the most well known fairytales borrowing from the Grimm brothers, Madame d’Aulnoy, and the Arabian Nights tales. The future books all are named after colors, such as The Red Fairy Book and The Green Fairy Book . They are all available under public domain as well.

what books are copyright free

East of the Sun and West of the Moon: Old Tales from the North by Peter Christen Asbjornsen, illustrated by Kay Nielsen

This collection of Nordic and Norweigan tales was first published in 1914. It includes The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the famous title story, and less well-known fairytales from the region. While the stories can be a little repetitive, the illustrations in this edition are so haunting and beautiful. I feel like a broken record, but again — different translators from different editions may be in or out of the public domain. But the stories and images have been in the public domain for some time.

Lesser-Known Public Domain Children’s Books

daddy long legs

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

Jerusha Abbott grew up in an orphanage and has never known her family. At 18, she’s informed that a mysterious millionaire has decided to become her benefactor and pay for her education. He wants to remain anonymous, but asks her to write him letters about her experiences at college. This is a fun, albeit dated, book that gets at the experience of going to an all-women’s college in the early 1900s. It’s a good read for anyone who loved Anne of Green Gables or Little Women .

what books are copyright free

The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

Originally published in 1881, the Pepper family has five kids and a widowed mother who struggles to take care of them all. It’s definitely one of those heartwarming poverty books that might feel a little cliched and moralistic today. But it mixes comedic childhood antics with sentimental tragic hardships. The fact that it is still in print today shows how many people remember it fondly from their childhood.

Cover of E Nesbit Five Children and It feminist genre fiction

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

When five siblings start digging and messing around in a gravel pit, the last thing they expect to unearth is a sand fairy. The cantankerous ancient being can grant them one wish a day. But they soon learn getting all five siblings to agree on one wish is a difficult task. And the wishes don’t always turn out as amazing as they originally imagined.

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free public domain audiobooks

Free public domain audiobooks.

Read by volunteers from around the world.

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

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

Browse the catalog

Latest audiobook releases, cupid of campion.

Francis J. Finn, S.J. (1859 - 1928)

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Luis Muñoz Marín (1898 - 1980)

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King Arthur

John Dryden (1631 - 1700)

Complete | Dramatic | English

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The Red and the Black

Stendhal (1783 - 1842)

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Rubén Darío (1867 - 1916)

Gleanings of a Mystic: A Series of Essays on Practical Mysticism

Max Heindel (1865 - 1919)

Stupendous Spectacles of the Solar System in Space (Ed Reads Short Sci-fi, vol. IX)

The fortune of the rougons, book one of rougon-macquart cycle (version 2).

Émile Zola (1840 - 1902)

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Bunce, the Bobby and the Broads

Fritz Zorn (1871 - 1953)

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Hedda Gabler (version 3)

Henrik Ibsen (1828 - 1906)

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Posted on January 1, 2024

Happy New Year! A new year brings fresh starts, a chance to try something again or to go for something entirely new. Get inspired with 10 gems from our catalog. Let’s start at the beginning – of humankind. C. H. Robinson follows the development of human society from the discovery of fire and working all […]

Merry Christmas Season!

Posted on December 1, 2023

So many celebrations this month! Whether you celebrate Christmas, the winter solstice or just the end of the year, get in the mood with 10 gems from our catalog. Every year, kids anxiously await Christmas. “How many days left” can be easily deduced from an Adventskalender counting down the days with little daily gifts. This […]

The World of Men

Posted on November 1, 2023

It’s International Men’s Day on November 19, a perfect time to celebrate all men: Fathers and sons, brothers and husbands, or simply loved ones outside of family ties. Here are 10 gems from our catalog to do just this. Whether son or daughter, the closest man in everybody’s life is their father. Mamie Dickens, oldest […]

Animals are People, too!

Posted on October 1, 2023

World Animal Day on October 4 seeks to protect animals and their habitats. Learn about all sorts of beings that live among us with 10 gems from our catalog. Before there were humans, strange animals roamed the planet. George Langford weaves palaeontological research about prehistoric elephants, squirrels or horses into his Stories of the First […]

Librivox Statistics

  • Cataloged works: 19,044
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How to Copyright a Book in 10 Minutes: A Simple Step-by-Step Guide

POSTED ON Feb 12, 2024

Scott Allan

Written by Scott Allan

Knowing how to copyright a book is an important step toward proper legal protection for every modern author – and one you shouldn't shy away from.

No one wants to imagine their intellectual property being stolen, but it's always a real possibility. However, by properly registering your work, you will be giving yourself – and your book – additional protection from any potential threats.

Learning how to copyright a book may feel like an intimidating process at first, but it doesn't have to be!

In this complete guide on how to copyright a book, we’ll cover all of the details you need to know on how to create a copyright page, how long it takes to copyright a book, how to copyright a book for free, and more!

While we aren’t lawyers, this information is sourced through in-depth research, and from multi-published authors with direct experience in how to copyright a book. 

This Guide to How to Copyright A Book Will Cover:

The importance of learning how to copyright a book.

Imagine you stumble upon a book with a similar title as yours online. Curious as to what it’s about, you download the Kindle version and begin scrolling through the pages, and the content is very similar…no wait! It is almost identical to the book you launched just three months ago.

Now, if this were you, what would you do? Call the police? Report it to the bookstore? Call your mother?

This kind of situation is more common than you think, and it could very well happen to you. But there are simple steps you can take to protect your work by educating yourself on how to copyright a book.

Learning how to write a book is just one side of the equation to become an author . You also have to navigate some tricky technical aspects. As a creative, you are a potential target for content thieves. You have to protect your material and the best way to do this is to learn how to copyright a book. 

What is Copyright Law?

Copyright law refers to when you ‘ legally register your work with a government body in order to create a public record that proves you are the legal owner of this work. ’  Learning how to copyright a book is an important step. Copyright law is set up to protect your rights, and also to ensure that you are aware of the rights of others’ work.

Copyright Law Terminology

Let’s break down some of the legal jargon that surrounds copyright law.

In order to understand the process of how to copyright a book, you need to know the basics: the commonly used words, and what they mean. 

These are the most commonly used legal terms for book copyright :

  • Copyright Term: The current length of copyright for an individual is the life of the author, plus 70 years. For corporate works, the term is 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever happens first.
  • Plagiarism: The “wrongful appropriation” and “stealing and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. This is true if you plagiarize from a book, a college paper, or “borrow” from an article and call it your own. It is an act of intellectual dishonesty.
  • Copyright Infringement: The use of works protected by copyright law without permission, infringing certain exclusive rights granted to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display or perform the protected work, or to make derivative works. The copyright holder is typically the work’s creator, or a publisher or other business to whom copyright has been assigned. Copyright holders routinely invoke legal and technological measures to prevent and penalize copyright infringement.
  • Public Domain: The public domain includes creative works that are not subject to copyright because their copyright has expired, as well as aspects of copyrighted works–such as their underlying ideas–that are not subject to copyright. The public domain is a critical source of creativity, inspiration, and innovation for creators. Works and ideas in the public domain belong to the public and their use does not violate copyright. 
  • Fair Use: Fair use is a critical right that permits the public to use portions of copyrighted material without permission from the copyright owner, under certain circumstances, to engage in a wide variety of vital activities. It enables new technologies and is a cornerstone of free speech, creativity, and the economy.

Laptop Logged In A Green Website With A &Quot;Publish&Quot; Button Being Clicked

  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( DMCA ): The DMCA is a 1998 United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). It criminalizes the production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to copyrighted works (commonly known as digital rights management or DRM). It also criminalizes the act of circumventing access control, whether or not there is actual infringement of copyright itself. 
  • The Library of Congress Classification (LCC) : A classification system that was first developed in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to organize and arrange the book collections of the Library of Congress. Over the course of the twentieth century, the system was adopted for use by other libraries as well, especially large academic libraries in the United States. It is currently one of the most widely used library classification systems in the world.
  • Copyright Office: Housed within the Library of Congress, it is the official United States government body that maintains records of copyright registrations, and provides legal advice to Congress, the Judiciary, and federal agencies. 
  • Statutory Definition (from the official website Copyright.gov porta l ): The Copyright Act defines “literary works” as “works, other than audiovisual works, expressed in words, numbers, or other verbal or numerical symbols or indicia, regardless of the nature of the material objects, such as books, periodicals, manuscripts, phone records, film, tapes, disks, or cards, in which they are embodied.”
  • Intellectual property (or “IP”): A category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect, and primarily encompasses copyrights, patents, and trademarks. It also includes other types of rights, such as trade secrets, publicity rights, moral rights, and rights against unfair competition. Artistic works like music and literature, as well as some discoveries, inventions, words, phrases, symbols, and designs can all be protected as intellectual property.
  • Copyright lawyer : A lawyer who specializes in copyright law and will represent you when someone else is using your idea or content without your permission, especially for financial gain. They can also defend you if you're accused of infringement.

Should I Copyright My Book?

Yes, you should learn how to copyright a book to protect your intellectual property.   There are people out there who will woefully take your work, slap a different title on it, change some names around, and release it as their own. Yes, it does happen, and in the digital age, it is happening more often. Some authors have had an entire series of books stolen and sold in other countries.

The truth is, there are publishing scams and people who can (and will) rip off your work and try to sell it as their own. 

So, you heard it from us: You want to learn how to copyright a book legally. While it is a fact that your writing is technically copyrighted the minute you put words to paper, in order to take action against someone in a court of law, you must register it with the copyright agency. No exceptions.

So, without further ado, let's discuss how to copyright a book.

How to Copyright A Book in 10 Minutes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learning how to copyright a book isn’t that complicated. You can do this in 15-20 minutes simply by registering with the Copyright Office . There are two ways you can apply for your copyright.

  • Filling out the forms by hand and delivering them directly to the Copyright Office via snail mail, or
  • Setting up an account online with the US Copyright Offices’ eCo (Electronic Copyright Office) and doing everything online. The cost is slightly cheaper if you take this route.

Here are steps for how to copyright a book online:  

Step 1: Go to the Copyright Office registration portal using the link above.

Step 2: Scroll down to “Types of Works” and click on “Learn more” under “Literary Works” (it is the first image box). 

Types Of Works To Copyright

Step 3: Click on the “Register a Literary Work” link under the photo. 

How To Register A Literary Work

Step 4: Log in to your existing account or register as a new user. 

Step 5: Once you’re signed in, click “Standard Application”. Check the “Exceptions” section below to be sure you are registering the right kind of work.

How To Register A Work Of Book Copyright

Step 6: Click “ Start Registration. ”  

Start Copyright Law Registration

Step 7: Select the “Type of Work”, which is “ Literary Work ” if registering your book.

Note : This cannot be changed after you confirm what you are registering. Check the box to acknowledge this, then click “ Continue. ”

Type Of Work Copyright Registration Options

Step 8: Click “New*.”

Step 9: Select your Title Type, then enter your Book Title exactly as it appears on your book cover/title page.

Choosing A Title Of This Work For Copyright Purposes

Step 10: Click “Save” to save your title. Then, on the next page, click “Continue” to move on to the next step.

Step 11: Select “Yes” or “No” if this work has already been published (or not).

Step 12: Enter the required information in the “Publication/Completion” form, then click “Continue.”

How To Register Copyright

Step 13: Name the author(s) of the work being registered.

After you enter the author information, click “Save”. Fill out the rest of the information that includes “date of birth”, “citizenship”, and “domicile.” 

How To Copyright Work As An Author Or Organization

Repeat this step for each additional author. Click “Save” to move into the next step.

Step 14: Under “Author’s Contribution,” for a book just select “text” and “Save.”

Step 15: Identify the Copyright Claimant(s) in this work.

If this is you, the author, you are the original claimant of your work. You own all of the claimants as covered by the registration. Click “add me” as the claimant. Then, on the next page, click “Continue.”

Step 16: Limitation of Claim: If your work does not contain any preexisting material, click “Continue” to proceed to the Rights and Permissions Screen.

Limitation Of Book Copyright Claim Screenshot

Step 17: Rights and Permissions Information (Optional): If someone is managing your rights and permissions, fill in their information here. If not, just click “Continue.”

Step 18: Correspondent: This is the person the Copyright Office will contact if it has questions about this application. If you are the only contact, you can click on “Add Me” and your contact information will be filled in.

Step 19: Mail Certificate: This is the name and address to which the registration certificate should be mailed. After you complete the registration, you will receive by post a letter of confirmation stating that your book has been officially registered. Keep this certificate with your important documents in case needed. You can click “Add Me” and your information will be automatically updated in the boxes. Click “Continue”.

Step 20: Special Handling: This is for shipping purposes. It is expensive so if that is a concern, skip this part by clicking on “Continue”.

Step 21: Certification: The application must be certified by the author, copyright claimant, or owner of exclusive right(s), or by the authorized agent of any of the preceding. In this section, you are stating that you are, in fact, the owner of the material as it is being registered.

Book Copyright Application Name Of Certifying Individual

Click “ Continue ” to move to the last section.

Step 22: Review Submission: Review everything and double-check your details. Note: Once you submit your application, you cannot make changes to it. So be sure it is all correct!

When the entire submission is correct, click the “ Add to Cart ” button at the top of the screen.

Step 23: Checkout: You’re almost there, click the “Checkout” button. On the next page, you are prompted to hit the “ OK ” button if you agree to these terms: Payments are non-refundable .

Step 24: Copyright Fee Services: You can pay either with credit/debit card or through a bank transfer. The fee is $55.00 for a single registration when you use the eCo system.

Cost To Copyright A Book Fee Services Screenshot

Step 25: Submit Your Work: You have two options here—You can upload the digital version of your book, or, send in the paperback. For a faster process, upload your digital eBook version. You can only choose one of these options .

Then, you’re done! If your payment has been accepted, your book is now registered with the U.S. Copyright Agency. The Office will issue a certificate to your home address after the application has been processed. This can take as long as one year, but with most of my books, I received the certificate within three months.

Step 26: (if applicable) Submission by Post: To send in your book by mail, follow the instructions on the submission page.

The application process can take months, but your work is accepted and legally copyrighted the instant you send in your application. Now you know how to copyright a book. Done!

It is worth noting that you do have the option to register your book before it gets published, but it isn’t a necessary step. 

Some authors are worried that the editor they just hired online is going to make away with their work. That rarely happens. It could, but chances are, if you have done your research and hired your editor through a reputable agency, you have nothing to worry about. Besides, remember what I said at the beginning of this post: Your work is copyrighted the moment you write it. Would this stop someone from stealing it? No, but you always have digital proof that it is your intellectual property. Now that you know how to copyright a book, let's move to the next important stage of copyrighting: creating a book copyright page.

How to Create a Book Copyright Page

Every book needs to have a copyright page. Depending on the type of book you are writing, your copyright page will vary in format and style.

A copyright page appears in your book right after the Book Title page and before the Table of Contents.

You might be thinking, “What do I place on the copyright page?”

I know, it looks like a combination of legal jargon with numbers – and can be confusing for a first-time author who has never created one before.

But the good news is, you don’t have to create anything. Most copyright pages are standard in the language they use, and there are plenty of copyright page templates to use depending on the type of page you need.

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In order for your book to be “copyrighted,” your copyright page should include several essential components. 

Here are the copyright elements to include in your copyright page: 

  • Copyright Notice
  • Year of Publication
  • Author’s Name
  • Edition Information
  • Publication Information
  • Printing History
  • Cataloging Data
  • Legal Notices
  • Credits to the Book
  • Website Address
  • Disclaimer (if applicable)

Now that we’ve identified which elements to include in your copyright page, let’s break down the process of creating a copyright page specifically if you are learning how to self-publish a book . 

How to Create a Copyright Page for a Self-Published Book

  • Add the copyright notice.
  • Include the edition information.
  • Reserve your book rights.
  • Add the book ISBN.
  • Include a website address.
  • Give credit to any contributors .

Let's break each of these steps for how to copyright a book below:

Add the Copyright Notice

This is the most important element on the book copyright page. It consists of three parts:

  • The © symbol, or the word “Copyright” 
  • The year of first publication of the work
  • Identification of the owner of the copyright —by name, pseudonym , abbreviation, or some other way that it’s generally known 
Example: © 2020 by Scott Allan

Include the Edition Information 

If this is a 2nd or 3rd edition, you want to include this here. Many books include this on the cover or title page, too. Even if it is stated elsewhere, it needs to be on the copyright page.

Reserve Your Book Rights 

This may also be referred to as the disclaimer portion of the copyright page. You can copy this portion and use it for your own book: 

“All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. While all attempts have been made to verify the information provided in this publication, neither the author nor the publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretations of the subject matter herein. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including international, federal, state, and local governing professional licensing, business practices, advertising, and all other aspects of doing business in the US, Canada, or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the purchaser or reader. Any perceived slight of any individual or organization is purely unintentional.”

Add the ISBN Number

If you publish a paperback book, you need an ISBN number . You can purchase your ISBN at: https://www.myidentifiers.com/

Your digital book ( eBook ) does not require an ISBN, but many publishers include an ISBN anyway, in order to publish with self-publishing companies outside of Amazon. This prevents multiple ISBNs from being issued to one book.

Include a Website Address (Optional)

While this is an optional step, it may be important to include if you are looking to grow your email list or capture leads from your book.  Make it easy for your readers to find you. Include your link showcasing your website.

Give Credit to Contributors (Optional)

In this section, you can name the people who helped you on the project. Your cover designer , editor, illustrator, or interior formatter . Your copyright page can be simple, too. Many books have one page with all of the information listed above. You don’t need a long copyright page. All you need is the copyright notice and a statement that the rights to reproduce the work are reserved for the copyright holder. That's it!

Here’s a short copyright page from Motivation Without the Hype by Gez Perez . It includes all the necessary elements to satisfy the copyright.

Book Copyright Page Disclaimers

Writing a disclaimer is an essential piece of learning how to copyright a book. A disclaimer protects you from the actions people take based on your advice.

A disclaimer sounds boring and most readers are tempted to skip it. But it serves as an anchor for your protection and informing people, “Try this at your own risk.” The type of copyright disclaimer you publish will vary depending on your book’s content. A disclaimer for fiction would be different from a disclaimer for health and fitness. Your readers will trust most of what you say, and your suggestions have influence. But you must exercise caution. To avoid liability, a disclaimer is needed. This is true for fiction as much as it is for nonfiction. Fiction disclaimer example :

Here is a sample of fiction disclaimer from Ramy Vance’s Mortality Bites Series. 

Nonfiction disclaimer example :

This is a standard nonfiction disclaimer found in most books. If you are a professional counselor, doctor, therapist, personal development coach, or in a position when providing advice or consulting, you need an extended disclaimer.

This goes beyond the general “content protection” verbiage and targets you on a more personal level.

Here is a short sample:

The advice and strategies found within may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher are held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book. You should consult with a (lawyer, health professional, financial advisor) for further details and future actions.

FAQs About How to Copyright A Book

In this section, we'll cover the most frequently asked questions about how to copyright a book. We also encourage you to check out our resources section below if you want to dive in deeper to any specific topic related to your copyright questions.

How Do You Copyright A Book Title?

Want to know how to copyright a book title? Your book title is copyrighted the moment you write it, but for extra piece of mind, you can officially copyright your book title when you register your completed book with the U.S. Copyright Office. 

While there isn’t necessarily a way to copyright only your book title without having to upload your completed book, your book title will be copyrighted once you complete the book copyright process that we walked you through in the steps above. 

How Do you Copyright a Book Idea?

If you have not published your book yet, you can still register your copyright. You will be able to register your copyright before publishing your book.  Some authors choose to do this for extra protection, especially those who work with editors and other book service providers, to prevent anyone from stealing their book’s contents or ideas.  If you’re concerned about protecting your book idea and want to copyright it before you publish, go for it. You can use the steps listed above to learn how to copyright a book – before it is even published.

How Long Does it Take to Copyright A Book?

Once you have registered your book for copyright, the processing times will vary depending on the type of work you submitted and the way in which you submitted it.  On average, if you register your copyright online, it typically takes about three months, but can take up to six months. If you register your book’s copyright via standard mail, it takes an average of six months but can take up to 16 months. 

How Much Does it Cost to Copyright A Book?

It costs $55 to register a single book copyright with the eCo system using the steps we indicated above. You can pay online with a credit/debit card or through a bank transfer.  For online processing, the fee can be $35 or $55.00 for a single basic online registration. For standard mail processing, the fee is $85.00. 

How Do You Copyright A Book for Free?

Want to know how to copyright a book for free? Your book is technically copyrighted for free the moment you create it, just as if it were any other work of art. However, many authors seek more copyright protection and choose to pay the fee to officially register a book copyright.  If you do not want to pay the fee to register a book copyright, and do not need the legal peace of mind that comes with officially registering a copyright, then you can learn how to copyright a book for free very simply – just by writing it yourself!

How Do I Copyright A Book Internationally?

In the United States, as we have just looked at, you go through the U.S. Copyright Office for all matters related to how to copyright a book (and other copyrighting-related formats). Your book must be registered first with this office before any legal action can be pursued.

But, how are you protected if you are an author or publisher living in Germany, Canada, Japan, or the U.K.?

If you visit the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), you can find everything you need to know through the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works .

With most countries in the world, your work is protected from the moment you create it in a format that is “perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, according to the United States Copyright Office under Copyright In General.” But you do have to register first in order to bring a lawsuit to court.

As most countries are protected under the Berne Convention, it should be an easy process to register your works online in most countries. This may vary depending on local regulations and procedures. 

In the UK, consult with the Intellectual Property Office in the United Kingdom . There is no official registration system in place for copyrighting works, and is considered an “automatic right.”

In Canada, visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to register your copyright.

When in doubt, you can visit the WIPO site and under Country Profiles , find the directory for the copyright office to apply to.

What Do I Need Copyright Permission For?

One of the more common questions that comes up with how to copyright a book is, “Do I need permission to borrow this published content?” This is sometimes not as obvious as copying something right out of a book or published manuscript.

To help you answer this question, “Do I need copyright permission?” we suggest you visit Wiley.com . This site provides you with everything you need to know. Wiley has an extensive and reliable list to guide you through the content and material you must seek permission for. But they also include a sample permission request form in order to apply for permission. When in doubt, consult with a copyright lawyer and take the time to research the material you are either protecting or, planning to borrow from another source. The time invested could save you an expensive situation later on. As an author in the publishing business , you have to protect your business, assets, and customers. Be smart and don’t cut any corners. You wouldn’t want to sabotage your work, name, and business you’ve worked so hard for.

Book Copyright Resources

We want you to be able to find everything you need to learn how to copyright a book. Here we have compiled a list of resources so you can quickly find the information you are looking for.

Learn more about book copyright from these resources:

  • The U.S. Copyright Office
  • Copyright Law of the United States/Title 17
  • Registering a Work
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
  • Wiley: Copyrights and Permissions
  • Summary of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886)

Take Action: Copyright Your Book Today!

Now that you know how to copyright a book, jump over to Copyright.gov and complete the process in less than 20 minutes.

When in doubt, consult with legal counsel. The time invested could save you a costly situation down the road.

If you want to follow a proven framework for how to successfully write and publish your book without having to stumble through the process, consider investing in a self-publishing course for support.

When you become an author, you want your book launch to go off without any surprises, so education is your key to success.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Project Gutenberg

What is project gutenberg, where did project gutenberg come from, tell me about project gutenberg’s longevity, who runs project gutenberg, how many people are in project gutenberg, how can i help project gutenberg, what is the relationship between project gutenberg, project gutenberg of canada, project gutenberg of europe, projekt gutenberg-de, project gutenberg of australia, and project runeberg, does project gutenberg publish only books, what books does project gutenberg publish, what other things has project gutenberg published in the past, how does project gutenberg choose books to publish, what languages does project gutenberg publish in, why don’t you have any / many books about history, geography, science, biography, etc. why aren’t there any / more pg books available in french, spanish, german, etc., why don’t you have any books by stephen king, tom clancy, tolkien, etc., why is project gutenberg so set on using plain text.

  • About Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an online library of free electronic books, or eBooks. Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute literary works.

The mission of Project Gutenberg is: To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.

Read more about Project Gutenberg in the About section.

In 1971, Michael Hart was given $100,000,000 worth of computer time on a mainframe of the era. Trying to figure out how to put these very expensive hours to good use, he envisaged a time when there would be millions of connected computers, and typed in the Declaration of Independence (all in upper case–there was no lower case available!). His idea was that everybody who had access to a computer could have a copy of the text. Now, decades later, his copy of the Declaration of Independence (with lower-case added!) is still available to anyone, anywhere.

During the 1970s, Michael added some more classic American texts, and through the 80s worked on the Bible and the collected works of Shakespeare. That edition of Shakespeare was never released, due to copyright law changes, but others followed.

Starting in 1991, Project Gutenberg began to take its current form, with many different texts and defined production targets for new eBooks. The target for 1991 was one book per month. 1992’s target was two books each month. This target doubled every year through 1996, when it hit 32 books a month.

There is more history and background in the Background, History and Philosophy section.

Project Gutenberg is the original, and oldest, eBook project on the Internet, founded in 1971. It is one of the oldest online content providers in the world that is still operating.

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, which operates Project Gutenberg. Dr. Gregory B. Newby is our volunteer CEO. Professor Michael Hart was our Founder and Executive Director. Michael died in 2011, and you can read obituary and memorial information here .

In terms of the day-to-day production of eBooks, our volunteers run themselves. :-) They produce books, and submit them when completed. The Posting Team, known as “whitewashers” after Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer , checks submitted eBooks and shepherds them online.

Over the years, we estimate that over 10,000 people have helped Project Gutenberg, either by submitting new eBooks, or having some other role in support of Project Gutenberg.

Produce a new eBook! The easiest way to get started is with Distributed Proofreaders , where you can find a self-paced tutorial and a supportive community of volunteers.

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About Project Gutenberg publications

In the past, Project Gutenberg also published other cultural works like movies and music, but the bulk of our collection is books, and there are other online projects that do a better job with other types of content.

For more details, see the collection development policy.

Any books that meet our collection development policy, and that our volunteers want to work on.

We do not publish any books that still have copyright protection. This generally means that our texts are taken from books published 95+ years ago. (It’s more complicated than that, as our Copyright FAQ explains, but 95+ criterion is a good first rule-of-thumb.)

This means that you won’t find the latest bestsellers or modern computer books here. You will find the classic books from the start of the 20th century and previous centuries, from authors like Shakespeare, Poe, Dante, as well as well-loved favorites like the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Tarzan and Mars books of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Alice’s adventures in Wonderland as told by Lewis Carroll, and thousands of others.

These books are chosen by our volunteers. Simply, a volunteer decides that a certain book should be in the library, obtains the book and does the work necessary to turn it into an eBook. Most of our new eBooks now come from Distributed Proofreaders . Historically, we had many “solo” eBook producers, but this is less frequently seen these days.

Two websites have a description of the copyright process, and the various checks and requirements for uploading a new eBook that has been given a copyright clearance. For copyright, see copy.pglaf.org . For uploads and compliance checks, see upload.pglaf.org .

We have published some music files, in MIDI and MUS formats. We have published the Human Genome. We have published pictures of the prehistoric cave painting from the south of France. We have published some video files and some audio files, including tracks by award-winning singer/songwriter Janis Ian and readings from public domain books.

Now, however, we only publish literary works that were previously published. The collection development policy has details.

Project Gutenberg, as such, does not choose books to publish. There is no central list of works that volunteers are asked to work on. Individual volunteers choose and produce eBooks from printed books according to their own tastes and values, and the availability of a suitable printed book for digitization.

Whatever languages we can! As above, this is decided by what languages our volunteers choose to work with.

If a book meets our collection development policy, and it isn’t in the library, it’s because no volunteer has produced it yet. At the moment, we have a predominance of English language novels because that is what most people have chosen to work on.

We’re always looking for new languages and topics, and always delighted to see people producing them. If we don’t have enough of the types of books you would like to see, why don’t you help us out by contributing one? If the people interested in a particular area don’t contribute, we’ll always be short in that area.

Project Gutenberg can publish only books that are in the public domain in the United States. Current bestsellers have not yet entered the public domain.

Project Gutenberg supports and publishes many open formats, but, yes, we do want to have a plain text version of everything possible.

We’re looking at our history, and we’re planning for the long term–the very long term.

Today, plain text can be read, written, copied and printed by just about every simple text editor on every computer in the world. This has been so for decades, and is likely to be so for the foreseeable future. We’ve seen formats and extended character sets come and go; plain text stays with us. We can still read Shakespeare’s First Folios, the original Gutenberg Bible, the Domesday Book, and even the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Rosetta Stone (though we may have trouble with the language!), but we can’t read many files made in various formats on computer media just 20 years ago.

We’re trying to build a library that will last not only decades, but centuries.

The point of putting works in the PG library is that they are copied to many, many public sites and individual computers all over. No single disaster can destroy them; no single government can suppress them. Long after we’re all dead and gone, when the very concept of an Internet Service Provider is as quaint as gas streetlamps, when HTML reads like Middle English, those texts will still be safe, copied, and available to our descendants.

The PG library is so valuable, yet free and easily portable, that even if every current PG volunteer vanished overnight, people around the world would copy and preserve any item that is legal for them to have in their country. For people in the US, this is 100% of the collection!

Also see the File Formats FAQ for more detailed discussion of formats.

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iBiblio

Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest

19 Places Where You Can Read Books Online for Free

Posted: November 16, 2023 | Last updated: November 16, 2023

<p>It feels like a dream sometimes when I remember that my family used to travel four to five hours by train in Eastern Europe to a different country so that we could access a library with books in our primary language. We could check them out for three months at a time before making the journey again. What a difference it would have made if we had known where to read books online for free.</p> <p>Although I used to read voraciously growing up, being forced to read so much during college and grad school burned me out. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized how little I read anymore, and I decided to change that by making one single, significant New Year's resolution: I committed to reading a book a week for the entire year. That's right—I set out to read 52 books in one year, and I actually exceeded my goal with 62 completed books. Although I had collected a lot of books I'd never gotten around to reading (a habit called <em>tsundoku</em> in Japanese), I wanted to read some of the <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/books-read-before-die/" rel="noopener noreferrer">best books</a> out there, and I needed more than the ones I'd picked up and put on my <a href="https://www.rd.com/article/book-terms/" rel="noopener noreferrer">TBR pile</a>.</p> <p>If you're an avid reader, you probably know that buying books can quickly get expensive—even buying second-hand. Fortunately for all of us, we now live in a world where affordable books are a reality. And I'm not just talking about <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/kindle-unlimited-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">Kindle Unlimited books</a>, which are free with a subscription. You can actually find completely free books online.</p> <p>Too busy with life to sit down and read? I could only have gotten through my Year of Books by listening to some of them. You better believe I took advantage of free audiobooks! I also had some friends who helped me figure out where to read books online for free so I'd stop emptying all the <a href="https://www.rd.com/article/little-free-libraries/" rel="noopener noreferrer">Little Free Libraries</a> in my community. Read on for the top picks!</p> <p><strong>Join the free </strong><a href="https://www.rd.com/article/book-club/?utm_campaign=rd_book_club_custom_url&utm_source=direct" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em><strong>Reader's Digest</strong></em><strong> Book Club</strong></a><strong> for great reads, monthly discussions, author Q&As and a community of book lovers.</strong></p>

The best places for free books online

It feels like a dream sometimes when I remember that my family used to travel four to five hours by train in Eastern Europe to a different country so that we could access a library with books in our primary language. We could check them out for three months at a time before making the journey again. What a difference it would have made if we had known where to read books online for free.

Although I used to read voraciously growing up, being forced to read so much during college and grad school burned me out. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized how little I read anymore, and I decided to change that by making one single, significant New Year's resolution: I committed to reading a book a week for the entire year. That's right—I set out to read 52 books in one year, and I actually exceeded my goal with 62 completed books. Although I had collected a lot of books I'd never gotten around to reading (a habit called tsundoku in Japanese), I wanted to read some of the best books out there, and I needed more than the ones I'd picked up and put on my TBR pile .

If you're an avid reader, you probably know that buying books can quickly get expensive—even buying second-hand. Fortunately for all of us, we now live in a world where affordable books are a reality. And I'm not just talking about Kindle Unlimited books , which are free with a subscription. You can actually find completely free books online.

Too busy with life to sit down and read? I could only have gotten through my Year of Books by listening to some of them. You better believe I took advantage of free audiobooks! I also had some friends who helped me figure out where to read books online for free so I'd stop emptying all the Little Free Libraries in my community. Read on for the top picks!

Join the free Reader's Digest Book Club for great reads, monthly discussions, author Q&As and a community of book lovers.

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Reading a wide selection of books</p> <p>Overdrive may have started back in the '80s, but it kept up with the times and now provides an app that lets you borrow books from your local library and then listen to or read them online, on your phone or an e-reader or tablet via the Libby app. I learned about Libby from a former colleague at Reading Is Fundamental who, besides being a rock-star full-time employee, was also a wife and hands-on mom of three without much extra time. She would listen to free audiobooks on her commute each day and gave me a personal tour of her app. I downloaded it that very day and have never stopped using it.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Web reader, plus easy-to-use app that works on any device and has amazing filters for browsing</li> <li>Ability to make a TBR pile, find practically all <a href="https://www.rd.com/article/book-genres/" rel="noopener noreferrer">book genres</a> you want, get on wait lists for high-demand books and keep a record of books you have read</li> <li>Selection of audiobook speeds, plus a sleep timer that lets you listen as you fall asleep (without missing the rest of the book)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Must have a library card to use the app (and don't lose it; sometimes you need to re-input your library card ID)</li> <li>Available collection of books is limited to your library district's digital catalog</li> <li>A VPN is necessary for reading internationally</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.overdrive.com/apps/libby">Read Now </a></p> <div class="listicle-card"> <p><strong>Looking for your next great book? Read four of today’s bestselling novels in the time it takes to read one with <a href="https://books.readersdigest.com/pubs/RD/RDB/FF-INT-2309-new-forest-OP1.jsp?cds_page_id=274987&cds_mag_code=RDB&id=1697231673220&lsid=32861614332042825&vid=1&utm_medium=paidsocial&cds_response_key=1DMCLDU103&utm_placement=drivetoweb&utm_source=facebook&utm_keycode=1DMCLDU103&utm_campaign=1h6_20230901_drivetoweb" rel="noopener noreferrer nofollow">Fiction Favorites</a>!</strong></p> </div>

Overdrive/Libby

Good for: Reading a wide selection of books

Overdrive may have started back in the '80s, but it kept up with the times and now provides an app that lets you borrow books from your local library and then listen to or read them online, on your phone or an e-reader or tablet via the Libby app. I learned about Libby from a former colleague at Reading Is Fundamental who, besides being a rock-star full-time employee, was also a wife and hands-on mom of three without much extra time. She would listen to free audiobooks on her commute each day and gave me a personal tour of her app. I downloaded it that very day and have never stopped using it.

  • Web reader, plus easy-to-use app that works on any device and has amazing filters for browsing
  • Ability to make a TBR pile, find practically all book genres you want, get on wait lists for high-demand books and keep a record of books you have read
  • Selection of audiobook speeds, plus a sleep timer that lets you listen as you fall asleep (without missing the rest of the book)
  • Must have a library card to use the app (and don't lose it; sometimes you need to re-input your library card ID)
  • Available collection of books is limited to your library district's digital catalog
  • A VPN is necessary for reading internationally

Looking for your next great book? Read four of today’s bestselling novels in the time it takes to read one with  Fiction Favorites !

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Pre-20th-century books</p> <p>Explicitly intended to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books, Project Gutenberg added its first online book back in the '70s, before reading free books online became a thing. For more than 50 years, the site has helped high school and college students alike (including me and my sister!), and it's been an invaluable resource to countless others who need (or simply enjoy) access to no-cost reading. The website is a wonderland of the world's great, open-domain <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/classic-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">classic books</a>.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>No app or account necessary to read</li> <li>Options to read the books by text or listen to audio</li> <li>Easy to filter the categories</li> <li>Over 70,000 books available</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Because Project Gutenberg focuses on literature with an expired U.S. copyright, it does not have much in the way of modern reads</li> <li>Readers outside the United States need to double-check the copyright terms of any books in their own countries</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.gutenberg.org/">Read Now</a></p>

Project Gutenberg

Good for: Pre-20th-century books

Explicitly intended to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books, Project Gutenberg added its first online book back in the '70s, before reading free books online became a thing. For more than 50 years, the site has helped high school and college students alike (including me and my sister!), and it's been an invaluable resource to countless others who need (or simply enjoy) access to no-cost reading. The website is a wonderland of the world's great, open-domain classic books .

  • No app or account necessary to read
  • Options to read the books by text or listen to audio
  • Easy to filter the categories
  • Over 70,000 books available
  • Because Project Gutenberg focuses on literature with an expired U.S. copyright, it does not have much in the way of modern reads
  • Readers outside the United States need to double-check the copyright terms of any books in their own countries

<p class=""><strong>Good for:</strong> Contemporary books</p> <p>BookBub is a must-visit hub for contemporary reads at steep discounts or completely free. You'll need to create an account (also free) before you can take advantage of perks like limited-time offers on books from well-known publishers and critically acclaimed independent authors in more than 20 genres. Because BookBub asks for your reading preferences, those daily deals are curated to your taste. Like your <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/best-fiction-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">fiction books</a> a little bit bloody? Add horror or mysteries to your genre preferences and get ready for thrills. You can also visit the website to pick from a robust selection of totally free books. To read, click the link for your preferred retailer to order it for free, then use an app like Apple Books or Kindle to read on your computer, tablet, e-reader or phone.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Features more modern picks than other free book sites</li> <li class="">Offers books in a wide range of genres, so you'll find everything from fiction to memoirs, self-help and cookbooks</li> <li class="">Tell BookBub about your favorite authors and get the scoop on discounts, new releases and preorders from them</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Not all the books suggested are free; some are only available at a discount</li> <li class="">Books may be free for a limited time only, after which they revert to the usual price</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.bookbub.com/">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: Contemporary books

BookBub is a must-visit hub for contemporary reads at steep discounts or completely free. You'll need to create an account (also free) before you can take advantage of perks like limited-time offers on books from well-known publishers and critically acclaimed independent authors in more than 20 genres. Because BookBub asks for your reading preferences, those daily deals are curated to your taste. Like your fiction books a little bit bloody? Add horror or mysteries to your genre preferences and get ready for thrills. You can also visit the website to pick from a robust selection of totally free books. To read, click the link for your preferred retailer to order it for free, then use an app like Apple Books or Kindle to read on your computer, tablet, e-reader or phone.

  • Features more modern picks than other free book sites
  • Offers books in a wide range of genres, so you'll find everything from fiction to memoirs, self-help and cookbooks
  • Tell BookBub about your favorite authors and get the scoop on discounts, new releases and preorders from them
  • Not all the books suggested are free; some are only available at a discount
  • Books may be free for a limited time only, after which they revert to the usual price

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Audiobooks</p> <p>If your quest to learn where to read books online for free hasn't taken you down the audiobook route, you'll want to rectify that, stat. It opens a world of possibilities when it comes to accessing free books online. When an audiobook I want to read has a yearlong waitlist on Libby, I head over to Chirp to see if I can find the <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/download-and-listen-to-free-audiobooks/" rel="noopener noreferrer">free audiobook</a> there instead. This fantastic website is run by the same people who run BookBub, which means you can count on it for loads of contemporary reads, along with the classics. When you're ready to listen, stream straight from the site or listen on your go-to device via the Chirp app (you can even listen on an Alexa-enabled device!).</p> <p>The site also features books that are available for a discount (as opposed to free), and if you find yourself lured by one of those titles, you can <strong>use the code</strong> <strong>DIGEST30 to get your first non-free audiobook for 30% off.</strong></p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Great site design makes it easy to sort through the options for books</li> <li>No monthly subscription or package—enjoy what you want, when you want it</li> <li>Features both new releases and classic books</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Not all the books suggested are free; some are only available at a discount</li> <li>Only available in Canada and the United States, unless you are using a VPN</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.chirpbooks.com/audiobook-lists/free-audiobooks">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: Audiobooks

If your quest to learn where to read books online for free hasn't taken you down the audiobook route, you'll want to rectify that, stat. It opens a world of possibilities when it comes to accessing free books online. When an audiobook I want to read has a yearlong waitlist on Libby, I head over to Chirp to see if I can find the free audiobook there instead. This fantastic website is run by the same people who run BookBub, which means you can count on it for loads of contemporary reads, along with the classics. When you're ready to listen, stream straight from the site or listen on your go-to device via the Chirp app (you can even listen on an Alexa-enabled device!).

The site also features books that are available for a discount (as opposed to free), and if you find yourself lured by one of those titles, you can use the code DIGEST30 to get your first non-free audiobook for 30% off.

  • Great site design makes it easy to sort through the options for books
  • No monthly subscription or package—enjoy what you want, when you want it
  • Features both new releases and classic books
  • Only available in Canada and the United States, unless you are using a VPN

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Young adult fiction</p> <p>I may not be a teenager anymore, but I still love reading young adult fiction. And of all the places to read books online for free, Simon Teen is a personal favorite for <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/best-books-for-teens/" rel="noopener noreferrer">great novels for teens</a>. Run by publishing house Simon & Schuster, this website offers new and hot YA fiction both for sale and for free for limited periods. Fans of Simon Teen authors will want to check here for extended excerpts and bonus short stories.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The hottest new YA books in many different genres, plus excerpts and extras</li> <li>Lots of very diverse reads available</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Limited selection</li> <li>Books are free for a limited time only</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://simonteen.com/free-reads/">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: Young adult fiction

I may not be a teenager anymore, but I still love reading young adult fiction. And of all the places to read books online for free, Simon Teen is a personal favorite for great novels for teens . Run by publishing house Simon & Schuster, this website offers new and hot YA fiction both for sale and for free for limited periods. Fans of Simon Teen authors will want to check here for extended excerpts and bonus short stories.

  • The hottest new YA books in many different genres, plus excerpts and extras
  • Lots of very diverse reads available
  • Limited selection
  • Books are free for a limited time only

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Audiobooks</p> <p>With the somewhat whimsical-sounding goal of "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain," LibriVox is an online curation of free audiobooks—many of which are read and recorded by the site's volunteers. The platform operates as a nonprofit and sees itself as a library of audiobooks, all of which are in the public domain. It's easy to browse books based on title, author, language or one of dozens of genres and subgenres, from fiction and nonfiction books for adults and children to <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/best-poetry-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">poetry</a> and plays.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Wide range of older books that you might not have otherwise read</li> <li>Full-length, quality book recordings by passionate readers</li> <li>Some of the books are read by only one person, some are collaborative and some are dramatic group readings</li> <li>In addition to listening online, you can download the audiobook to your computer</li> </ul> <p><strong>Con:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Mostly classics, due to public domain limitations</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://librivox.org/">Read Now </a></p>

With the somewhat whimsical-sounding goal of "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain," LibriVox is an online curation of free audiobooks—many of which are read and recorded by the site's volunteers. The platform operates as a nonprofit and sees itself as a library of audiobooks, all of which are in the public domain. It's easy to browse books based on title, author, language or one of dozens of genres and subgenres, from fiction and nonfiction books for adults and children to poetry and plays.

  • Wide range of older books that you might not have otherwise read
  • Full-length, quality book recordings by passionate readers
  • Some of the books are read by only one person, some are collaborative and some are dramatic group readings
  • In addition to listening online, you can download the audiobook to your computer
  • Mostly classics, due to public domain limitations

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Audiobooks, e-books and textbooks</p> <p>Boasting a list of more than 1,000 free audiobooks, 800 free e-books and 200 free textbooks in addition to other free resources, Open Culture considers itself the purveyor of "the best free cultural and educational media on the web." Books are available in multiple genres and include classics and modern books alike, so you have a chance of finding something from your <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/favorite-authors/" rel="noopener noreferrer">favorite author</a> here. Plus, the site maintains a strict copyright policy, so you know you're not reading stolen material. Once you find a book, reading is easy: Open Culture doesn't host the books, so you'll just click a link to read, listen to or download them for reading on your e-reader, tablet or phone.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Features some high-profile and well-known authors and audiobook narrators</li> <li>Open Culture has a lot more than just books to offer, if you want to pick up a short course to take alongside your latest read</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Complicated browsing: Book lists aren't easy to sort or filter</li> <li>Links and listings are not always functional</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.openculture.com/free_ebooks">Read Now </a></p>

Open Culture

Good for: Audiobooks, e-books and textbooks

Boasting a list of more than 1,000 free audiobooks, 800 free e-books and 200 free textbooks in addition to other free resources, Open Culture considers itself the purveyor of "the best free cultural and educational media on the web." Books are available in multiple genres and include classics and modern books alike, so you have a chance of finding something from your favorite author here. Plus, the site maintains a strict copyright policy, so you know you're not reading stolen material. Once you find a book, reading is easy: Open Culture doesn't host the books, so you'll just click a link to read, listen to or download them for reading on your e-reader, tablet or phone.

  • Features some high-profile and well-known authors and audiobook narrators
  • Open Culture has a lot more than just books to offer, if you want to pick up a short course to take alongside your latest read
  • Complicated browsing: Book lists aren't easy to sort or filter
  • Links and listings are not always functional

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Nonfiction and classic books</p> <p>The Online Books Page is a simple website hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and run by a digital library planner and researcher at the college. It aims to help bookworms access any legally available free books online. Don't be put off by the stark site—it will connect you to more than 3 million free books. Over 80,000 of those have been curated by the organizers, while the bulk of the titles have been imported from elsewhere. (The site doesn't host the books, however; it's a central location for finding links to free books.) Though you can access some fiction through this site, the bread and butter of the Online Books Page is <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/best-nonfiction-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">nonfiction books</a> on a range of topics.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Connects users with more than 3 million free books</li> <li>Most of the books in the curated collection come from reader suggestions and are available in a variety of languages</li> <li>Includes lots of highly informative nonfiction books, like <em>The Flora of Makatea</em> from 1934, which can be helpful for research papers or research in general</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Most of the books are older and from the public domain</li> <li>The website is a little intimidating until you dig into it</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/">Read Now</a></p>

The Online Books Page

Good for: Nonfiction and classic books

The Online Books Page is a simple website hosted by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and run by a digital library planner and researcher at the college. It aims to help bookworms access any legally available free books online. Don't be put off by the stark site—it will connect you to more than 3 million free books. Over 80,000 of those have been curated by the organizers, while the bulk of the titles have been imported from elsewhere. (The site doesn't host the books, however; it's a central location for finding links to free books.) Though you can access some fiction through this site, the bread and butter of the Online Books Page is nonfiction books on a range of topics.

  • Connects users with more than 3 million free books
  • Most of the books in the curated collection come from reader suggestions and are available in a variety of languages
  • Includes lots of highly informative nonfiction books, like The Flora of Makatea from 1934, which can be helpful for research papers or research in general
  • Most of the books are older and from the public domain
  • The website is a little intimidating until you dig into it

<p class=""><strong>Good for:</strong> <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/best-romance-novels-of-all-time/" rel="noopener noreferrer">Romance novels</a></p> <p>In-the-know romance readers have the inside scoop on where to read books online for free: Harlequin, the most recognizable name in romance. The publisher offers free, serialized stories by its authors, with new chapters posted every week. Aside from books in progress, the site boasts an extensive backlist of steamy stories you can read for free. Almost as exciting as a good romance? An easy-to-use website, and Harlequin's delivers. Not only can you sort options by how much time you're willing to set aside for reading, but you can also filter by your mood: Do you feel like being seduced? Walking on the dark side? Sitting on the edge of your seat? Make your choice, then read a book that fits the vibe. Because honestly, who <em>doesn't</em> love a good ride-into-the-sunset story or <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/best-enemies-to-lovers-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">enemies-to-lovers</a> tale?</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Easy to pick a book that perfectly fits your mood and free time</li> <li class="">Will appeal to rom-com movie fans who are out of "I discovered the handsome chef at my failing small-town restaurant is a prince in disguise" films</li> <li class="">Weekly schedule means each new chapter is a treat for the week</li> </ul> <p><strong>Con:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Must create a (free) account to read the free books online</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.harlequin.com/articlelist.html">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: Romance novels

In-the-know romance readers have the inside scoop on where to read books online for free: Harlequin, the most recognizable name in romance. The publisher offers free, serialized stories by its authors, with new chapters posted every week. Aside from books in progress, the site boasts an extensive backlist of steamy stories you can read for free. Almost as exciting as a good romance? An easy-to-use website, and Harlequin's delivers. Not only can you sort options by how much time you're willing to set aside for reading, but you can also filter by your mood: Do you feel like being seduced? Walking on the dark side? Sitting on the edge of your seat? Make your choice, then read a book that fits the vibe. Because honestly, who doesn't love a good ride-into-the-sunset story or enemies-to-lovers tale?

  • Easy to pick a book that perfectly fits your mood and free time
  • Will appeal to rom-com movie fans who are out of "I discovered the handsome chef at my failing small-town restaurant is a prince in disguise" films
  • Weekly schedule means each new chapter is a treat for the week
  • Must create a (free) account to read the free books online

<p class=""><strong>Good for: </strong>Contemporary books</p> <p>The self-proclaimed longest-running e-book newsletter, Ereader News Today delivers free and deeply discounted e-book deals—and has been doing so since 2010. The site features a large variety of books from both small publishing houses and major publishers in 20 different genres. Like BookBub, the service curates the selection and delivers it to your inbox; just click the link for your preferred retailer, where you'll access the freebie. All the <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/free-kindle-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">books are available on Kindle</a>, and you can either read them online via the Kindle Cloud Reader or on your e-reader, tablet or mobile device. Some books are even available on Nook, Google Play and Kobo.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Some of the promoted e-books are from bestselling authors</li> <li class="">Highly curated book recommendations</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Only eight to 12 free books posted each day (not always in every genre)</li> <li class="">Not all the books suggested are free; some are only available at a discount</li> <li class="">Features more independently published books than well-known titles, especially compared with competitors like BookBub</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.ereadernewstoday.com/">Read Now </a></p>

Ereader News Today

The self-proclaimed longest-running e-book newsletter, Ereader News Today delivers free and deeply discounted e-book deals—and has been doing so since 2010. The site features a large variety of books from both small publishing houses and major publishers in 20 different genres. Like BookBub, the service curates the selection and delivers it to your inbox; just click the link for your preferred retailer, where you'll access the freebie. All the books are available on Kindle , and you can either read them online via the Kindle Cloud Reader or on your e-reader, tablet or mobile device. Some books are even available on Nook, Google Play and Kobo.

  • Some of the promoted e-books are from bestselling authors
  • Highly curated book recommendations
  • Only eight to 12 free books posted each day (not always in every genre)
  • Features more independently published books than well-known titles, especially compared with competitors like BookBub

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Contemporary books</p> <p>Looking for even more ways to read books online, free of charge? Subscribe to the Free Booksy newsletter and take advantage of the no-cost titles that land in your inbox. The free, curated email includes a personalized list of e-books that will land in your inbox daily. You'll also find the latest freebies on the site, browsing by series, genre or best-of lists, like the <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/the-best-fantasy-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">best fantasy books</a>. Like other sites on this list, Free Booksy doesn't host the books itself. Instead, you'll click over to your preferred retailer to claim the book before reading.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Select books available on Nook, Kobo, Apple Books and Google Play, and an Amazon account isn't necessary</li> <li>Quickly searchable site with lots of categories and curated collections</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Not all the books suggested are free; some are only available at a discount</li> <li>Not all books stay free; they are tied to pre-existing book promotions</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.freebooksy.com/">Read Now </a></p>

Free Booksy

Looking for even more ways to read books online, free of charge? Subscribe to the Free Booksy newsletter and take advantage of the no-cost titles that land in your inbox. The free, curated email includes a personalized list of e-books that will land in your inbox daily. You'll also find the latest freebies on the site, browsing by series, genre or best-of lists, like the best fantasy books . Like other sites on this list, Free Booksy doesn't host the books itself. Instead, you'll click over to your preferred retailer to claim the book before reading.

  • Select books available on Nook, Kobo, Apple Books and Google Play, and an Amazon account isn't necessary
  • Quickly searchable site with lots of categories and curated collections
  • Not all books stay free; they are tied to pre-existing book promotions

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> The classics, along with some contemporary books</p> <p>With a library of more than 50,000 e-books, Manybooks is a great resource for anyone wondering where to read books online for free. While you're more likely to find older, classic titles than contemporary ones, the platform still has a great selection (and you can access plenty of other e-books for a discounted price). Depending on the book, you can either read right in your web browser, download in a variety of formats or access via an e-book retailer. You can also see reader reviews for the book, which helps narrow down the selection.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>New books uploaded daily</li> <li>Large variety of genres with both classic and contemporary reads</li> <li>Easy to filter by things like star rating, genre and language</li> </ul> <p><strong>Con:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Lots of pop-up ads</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://manybooks.net/">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: The classics, along with some contemporary books

With a library of more than 50,000 e-books, Manybooks is a great resource for anyone wondering where to read books online for free. While you're more likely to find older, classic titles than contemporary ones, the platform still has a great selection (and you can access plenty of other e-books for a discounted price). Depending on the book, you can either read right in your web browser, download in a variety of formats or access via an e-book retailer. You can also see reader reviews for the book, which helps narrow down the selection.

  • New books uploaded daily
  • Large variety of genres with both classic and contemporary reads
  • Easy to filter by things like star rating, genre and language
  • Lots of pop-up ads

<p><strong>Good for: </strong>A sneak peek of pre-release books</p> <p>If you have a #bookstagram account like me, you dream of being the next big <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/booktok-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">BookTok</a> influencer or you just love being ahead of the curve when it comes to book, consider signing up for Reedsy Discover. Those who do gain access to new books before the rest of the world—and while the price is technically free, you do have to review what you read.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Reading books before they are publicly available takes it to a whole new level of book brag</li> <li>You get to help authors and books get discovered</li> <li>Depending on how appreciated your review is, you may even receive a few dollars tip for it, which can feed your bookish addiction</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>You have to apply and be accepted as a reviewer</li> <li>Once you get a book to read, you have a specific window of time to finish and review it</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://reedsy.com/discovery/reviewers">Read Now </a></p>

Reedsy Discover

Good for: A sneak peek of pre-release books

If you have a #bookstagram account like me, you dream of being the next big BookTok influencer or you just love being ahead of the curve when it comes to book, consider signing up for Reedsy Discover. Those who do gain access to new books before the rest of the world—and while the price is technically free, you do have to review what you read.

  • Reading books before they are publicly available takes it to a whole new level of book brag
  • You get to help authors and books get discovered
  • Depending on how appreciated your review is, you may even receive a few dollars tip for it, which can feed your bookish addiction
  • You have to apply and be accepted as a reviewer
  • Once you get a book to read, you have a specific window of time to finish and review it

<p class=""><strong>Good for:</strong> Children's audiobooks</p> <p>Storynory is a podcast that produces audio stories. Most of the reads are aimed at an age group of around 7 to 11 years, but there is a small range beyond that. Content available on Storynory includes both original works and classic literature for children—think <em>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland</em>, <em>The Wizard of Oz</em> and the like. You can read and listen right on the website or use the Storynory app.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Original and classic content available</li> <li class=""><a href="https://www.rd.com/list/free-audiobooks-for-kids/" rel="noopener noreferrer">Free audiobooks for kids</a> in a range of genres, including myths, fairy tales and educational stories</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Searching for titles on the website is difficult</li> <li class="">Some stories are split into multiple parts online</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.storynory.com/">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: Children's audiobooks

Storynory is a podcast that produces audio stories. Most of the reads are aimed at an age group of around 7 to 11 years, but there is a small range beyond that. Content available on Storynory includes both original works and classic literature for children—think Alice's Adventures in Wonderland , The Wizard of Oz and the like. You can read and listen right on the website or use the Storynory app.

  • Original and classic content available
  • Free audiobooks for kids in a range of genres, including myths, fairy tales and educational stories
  • Searching for titles on the website is difficult
  • Some stories are split into multiple parts online

<p class=""><strong>Good for: </strong>Contemporary books</p> <p>Robin Reads is a book-promotion service that works with authors to get books into the hands of readers. And it does that by offering major discounts on contemporary titles, with lots of new releases included. Luckily for you, many of those are available for free. You have to act fast, though—once the daily deals are emailed to subscribers, they're good for only 24 hours. To access your book, j<span>ust click the link and use your Amazon account to either read in the Kindle Cloud Reader or download onto your e-reader or Kindle app.</span></p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Does the work of finding free books on Amazon, so you don't need to</li> <li class="">New hand-selected deals available daily</li> <li class="">Many different genres are available, including romance, thriller, sci-fi and <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/mystery-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">mystery books</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li class="">Users must have an Amazon account (though it doesn't have to be Prime)</li> <li class="">The authors and Amazon have the right to change the price at any time or end their free promotion, so books may stop being free at any time</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://robinreads.com/">Read Now </a></p>

Robin Reads

Robin Reads is a book-promotion service that works with authors to get books into the hands of readers. And it does that by offering major discounts on contemporary titles, with lots of new releases included. Luckily for you, many of those are available for free. You have to act fast, though—once the daily deals are emailed to subscribers, they're good for only 24 hours. To access your book, j ust click the link and use your Amazon account to either read in the Kindle Cloud Reader or download onto your e-reader or Kindle app.

  • Does the work of finding free books on Amazon, so you don't need to
  • New hand-selected deals available daily
  • Many different genres are available, including romance, thriller, sci-fi and mystery books
  • Users must have an Amazon account (though it doesn't have to be Prime)
  • The authors and Amazon have the right to change the price at any time or end their free promotion, so books may stop being free at any time

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> A wide variety of genres</p> <p>If you want free books to read online that aren't just fiction, this is the website for you. Smashwords is an easy-to-use e-book site offering titles in various genres—you'll find everything from Christian fiction to <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/lgbtq-books/" rel="noopener noreferrer">LGBTQ+ books</a>, including poetry, classics, romance and biographies. It started as a publishing platform, although it now focuses on distributing books for independent authors and publishers. Just be sure to click the "free" tab when you search, because not all books on the website are free.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>An almost infinite number of genres to sort through</li> <li>Promotes lots of independent authors</li> <li>Some books allow you to choose your price, so you can opt to pay nothing or support the author</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Not all 500,000-plus books are free</li> <li>The website is not optimized for mobile use</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.smashwords.com/books/category/1/newest/0/free/any">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: A wide variety of genres

If you want free books to read online that aren't just fiction, this is the website for you. Smashwords is an easy-to-use e-book site offering titles in various genres—you'll find everything from Christian fiction to LGBTQ+ books , including poetry, classics, romance and biographies. It started as a publishing platform, although it now focuses on distributing books for independent authors and publishers. Just be sure to click the "free" tab when you search, because not all books on the website are free.

  • An almost infinite number of genres to sort through
  • Promotes lots of independent authors
  • Some books allow you to choose your price, so you can opt to pay nothing or support the author
  • Not all 500,000-plus books are free
  • The website is not optimized for mobile use

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> Classics</p> <p>If you're looking for timeless books, the Library of Congress has you covered. With more than 60 classic books available on an easy-to-use interface, this is the perfect website if you have a specific title in mind. This archive includes some of the <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/the-best-childrens-books-ever-written/" rel="noreferrer noopener noreferrer">best children's books</a> ever written, such as <em>Anne of Green Gables </em>or <em>Peter Rabbit</em>.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Well-organized and a decent collection of digital books</li> <li>Books are digitized, so you get to see the actual book and cover, along with any markings on the pages from before they were scanned</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Digitized book format isn't as user-friendly as a text scroll or tap-to-turn feature</li> <li>Limited selection</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.read.gov/books/">Read Now </a></p>

Library of Congress

Good for: Classics

If you're looking for timeless books, the Library of Congress has you covered. With more than 60 classic books available on an easy-to-use interface, this is the perfect website if you have a specific title in mind. This archive includes some of the best children's books ever written, such as Anne of Green Gables or Peter Rabbit .

  • Well-organized and a decent collection of digital books
  • Books are digitized, so you get to see the actual book and cover, along with any markings on the pages from before they were scanned
  • Digitized book format isn't as user-friendly as a text scroll or tap-to-turn feature

<p><strong>Good for:</strong> New writers</p> <p>Wattpad is an e-reading website that connects a community of 80 million readers and writers. Original books are uploaded directly to the platform for users to read. You have to create an account to read the books, but once you find a free book you want to read, click on the cover, then click the "Read" button to get started.</p> <p><strong>Pros: </strong></p> <ul> <li>Readers get to vote on stories and see how many others have read them</li> <li>Stories on Wattpad may later get publishing or filming deals—and if you read them on Wattpad, then you "discovered" them first</li> <li>Great source if you love <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/fantasy-romance-books/" rel="noreferrer noopener noreferrer">fantasy romance books</a>, including books about werewolves or vampires</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Some books are not available for free but require payment</li> <li>Not all books will be complete at the time you start them</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="https://www.wattpad.com/">Read Now </a></p>

Good for: New writers

Wattpad is an e-reading website that connects a community of 80 million readers and writers. Original books are uploaded directly to the platform for users to read. You have to create an account to read the books, but once you find a free book you want to read, click on the cover, then click the "Read" button to get started.

  • Readers get to vote on stories and see how many others have read them
  • Stories on Wattpad may later get publishing or filming deals—and if you read them on Wattpad, then you "discovered" them first
  • Great source if you love fantasy romance books , including books about werewolves or vampires
  • Some books are not available for free but require payment
  • Not all books will be complete at the time you start them

<p><strong>Good for: </strong>Children's books</p> <p>The International Children's Digital Library hopes to "support the world's children in becoming effective members of the global community—who exhibit tolerance and respect for <a href="https://www.rd.com/list/childrens-books-about-diversity/" rel="noopener noreferrer">diverse cultures</a>, languages and ideas." The team does this by working to make the best in children's literature available online for free. <span>With a variety of books in languages other than English, the site is a global resource.</span></p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Whether you like to read aloud to children or give them reading to do for themselves, this is a great resource</li> <li>There are children's books available in more than 70 different languages</li> </ul> <p><strong>Cons:</strong></p> <ul> <li>The website is not very user-friendly</li> <li>Searching for a specific book is difficult</li> </ul> <p class="listicle-page__cta-button-shop"><a class="shop-btn" href="http://en.childrenslibrary.org/index.html">Read Now </a></p> <p class="p1"><b>Get <i>Reader’s Digest</i>’s </b><a href="https://www.rd.com/newsletter/?int_source=direct&int_medium=rd.com&int_campaign=nlrda_20221001_topperformingcontentnlsignup&int_placement=incontent"><span><b>Read Up newsletter</b></span></a><b> for more books, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.</b></p>

International Children's Digital Library

Good for: Children's books

The International Children's Digital Library hopes to "support the world's children in becoming effective members of the global community—who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures , languages and ideas." The team does this by working to make the best in children's literature available online for free. With a variety of books in languages other than English, the site is a global resource.

  • Whether you like to read aloud to children or give them reading to do for themselves, this is a great resource
  • There are children's books available in more than 70 different languages
  • The website is not very user-friendly
  • Searching for a specific book is difficult

Get  Reader’s Digest ’s  Read Up newsletter for more books, humor, cleaning, travel, tech and fun facts all week long.

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What is the Difference Between Royalty-Free and Copyright-Free?

Storyblocks

Storyblocks

what books are copyright free

A common question asked by many content creators is, “What is the difference between copyright-free and royalty-free?” Royalty-free is not the same as copyright-free – but it can be easy to confuse them. The difference between them is significant and important to understand when making content. Let’s start by defining what copyright and royalty are. 

What is a “Copyright”?

Copyright is a legal term used to define ownership over an originally created work. Typically, copyright applies to works of creative expression such as written works, music, video, works of art, photos, etc. While there is a process to register copyrightable work with the US Copyright Office, you do not need a certificate to declare ownership over your original work. Owning the copyright to an original work means that you control who is allowed to use, distribute, re-use, sell, and/or otherwise exploit that work. If you use a work without permission from a copyright holder, you are committing copyright infringement and may be subject to fines. It is important to note that you may be guilty of copyright infringement without intending to steal from another person. Accidental or unintentional infringement is still infringement. 

What is a “Royalty”?  

A royalty is a fee paid to a rights holder in exchange for the right to use their copyrighted work.  However, it does not mean that you own the work. Royalties do not transfer copyright ownership, they simply compensate the rights holder for the use of their work.

what books are copyright free

Now that we have distinguished the difference between a copyright and royalty, let’s take a second look at the terms “copyright-free” and “royalty-free”.

What is “Copyright-Free”?

“Copyright-free” refers to a work where the artist has waived their copyright rights. This means that they still own the work, but they are not interested in collecting royalties, receiving credit for their work, or otherwise being recognized for their ownership/creation of that work. Work that is truly copyright-free is extremely rare and may be suspect (meaning: some people claim that a work is copyright-free without truly knowing who the owner is). Content may be considered copyright-free if it has entered the public domain or if the rights holder is offering it for free, usually as a form of promotion. If you are using a piece of copyright-free material, proceed with caution. Make sure you do extra research to be absolutely certain that you are not infringing on someone else’s copyright. 

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What is “Royalty-Free”?

Royalty-free is used to describe creative materials that don’t require additional payments to the original author for use. This is often because a company (i.e. Storyblocks) has negotiated a license with the author, which allows their customers to use the author’s creative materials within certain mutually agreed upon contexts (i.e. in a YouTube video , on Instagram, in a commercial etc.). In our case, part of your subscription fee pays the original author for permission to use the work, and you don’t have to track that author down later and pay them more money later, as long as your use is covered by the license you purchased with us.    

what books are copyright free

What type of content does Storyblocks have?

Our content is 100% royalty-free and you are licensed to use our tracks worldwide in perpetuity, including in YouTube videos. With Storyblocks, all footage, templates, motion backgrounds, music, sound effects and images are royalty-free and they are yours to use  forever — even if you don’t maintain your subscription. 

Storyblocks is a marketplace that brings content creators together. While much of what you see on Storyblocks is exclusive to our library, some of our contributors are allowed to sell their content on other sites. Occasionally, you may receive a Content ID claim on YouTube or similar automated copyright claim on content you have licensed from Storyblocks. Rest assured, you are cleared to use any content you have licensed from us, and these claims are being made in error.  

If you haven’t already, make sure to update your YouTube channel ID within the My Account section of your Member Dashboard. When you provide us with your YouTube channel, we’re able to have most claims automatically resolved within 30 minutes – no additional action required by you! 

If you have already provided Storyblocks with your YouTube channel ID and your claim was not automatically resolved within 30 minutes, we can still help you dispute the claim. Simply navigate to the Claims Dispute Form in the YouTube Claims section of your account and fill out the form. These claims are typically resolved within 72 hours. 

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IMAGES

  1. copyright free images books 20 free Cliparts

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  2. Copyright Free Images Books / Concept Books And Copyright Day Royalty

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  3. Scribe Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Permissions for Books

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  4. How To Copyright Your Book For Free

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  5. "My Copyright Book"

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  6. Copyright Free Images Book, HD Png Download

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VIDEO

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  2. Easy to read books that WILL make you a reader!

  3. Copyright on religious Books? #shorts #svlc #sanyogvyaslawclasses

COMMENTS

  1. Free eBooks

    Project Gutenberg is a library of over 70,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the 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. 25 best sites with free public domain ebooks and audiobooks

    1. Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a leading site with free public domain ebooks / Screenshot: Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a top destination for free ebooks on the web. It's a first ebook initiative in the world, established by Michael S. Hart in 1971.

  3. About Google Books

    And we're adding more all of the time! Google's free books are made available to read through careful consideration of and respect for copyright law globally: they are public-domain works, made free on request of the copyright owner, or copyright-free, e.g. US government documents.

  4. Free to Use and Reuse Sets

    These sets are just a small sample of the Library's digital collections that are free to use and reuse. The digital collections comprise millions of items including books, newspapers, manuscripts, prints and photos, maps, musical scores, films, sound recordings and more. Whenever possible, each collection has its own rights statement which ...

  5. Welcome to Open Library

    About the Project. Open Library is an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. More. Just like Wikipedia, you can contribute new information or corrections to the catalog. You can browse by subjects, authors or lists members have created.

  6. The Ultimate Guide to New Public Domain Books

    As a result, January 1st 2019 was a momentous day: a pile of new books entered the public domain for the first time in more than twenty years. And since then, there have been new books in the public domain on the first day of every year. In 2019, the copyright for books published in 1923 expired.

  7. Books Entering the Public Domain in 2021

    This year, books first published in 1925 are entering public domain, which means you'll soon be able to read them for free online at sites like Project Gutenberg. 2021 Public Domain Books Given the publishing landscape of 1925, this year's public domain works are predominantly white and male.

  8. Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover

    carefully produced for the true book lover. Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that produces new editions of public domain ebooks that are lovingly formatted, open source, free of U.S. copyright restrictions, and free of cost. Ebook projects like Project Gutenberg transcribe ebooks and make them available for the widest number of ...

  9. The 21 Best Places to Find Free Books Online

    Their Daily Book Deals span 20 genres and almost always feature at least one free book. 8. FreeBooksy. Most of the other book promotion services focus on both free and discounted books, but FreeBooksy is the biggest site that's dedicated solely to ebooks you don't have to pay for.

  10. Public Domain Children's Books: 20 Stories With No Copyright

    The Danish author Hans Christian Anderson wrote many beloved children's fairytales. Stories like The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Snow Queen, The Little Match Girl, The Red Shoes, The Emperor's New Clothes, and more. Altogether, he wrote 156 fairy tales that are all in the public domain.

  11. Where to Download the Millions of Free eBooks that Secretly ...

    A quirk of copyright law means that millions of books are now free for anyone to read, thanks to some work from the New York Public Library. by Matthew Gault August 6, 2019, 11:00am

  12. 50,000+ Free eBooks in the Genres you Love

    FREE DOWNLOAD • GENRES • BESTSELLERS • BOOK CATALOG. NOW AVAILABLE. From the blog Editorial Review: The Missing Puzzle Piece by Marcus Abston ... All our books are either public domain, or the author's have given us permission to add their titles. freedom on what are your favorite comfort books. Secret history of the world and conspiracy ...

  13. Copyright Free Books

    32 books — 3 voters. Books shelved as copyright-free: The Golden Bough by James George Frazer, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon, The Ancient City: A ...

  14. Free and Public Domain Nonfiction Books on Royalty

    42 books · 10 voters · list created August 20th, 2013 by SoundofSilence_BookFan. Tags: ebooks , free , historical-royalty , public-domain , royalty Like

  15. LibriVox

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

  16. How to Copyright a Book in 10 Minutes: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Step 13: Name the author (s) of the work being registered. After you enter the author information, click "Save". Fill out the rest of the information that includes "date of birth", "citizenship", and "domicile.". Repeat this step for each additional author. Click "Save" to move into the next step.

  17. Literary Works: Registration

    A literary work is a work that explains, describes, or narrates a particular subject, theme, or idea through the use of narrative, descriptive, or explanatory text, rather than dialog or dramatic action. Generally, literary works are intended to be read; they are not intended to be performed before an audience.

  18. Z-Library Project

    What is Z Library? Z Library is a digital library that allows users to download books for free. The website has many books covering various genres, including fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, and research papers. Users can search for books by author, title, or ISBN, and the website also provides recommendations based on the user's search history.

  19. Frequently Asked Questions

    Project Gutenberg is an online library of free electronic books, or eBooks. Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize, archive, and distribute literary works. The mission of Project Gutenberg is: To encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. Read more about Project Gutenberg in the About section.

  20. 19 Places Where You Can Read Books Online for Free

    The site also features books that are available for a discount (as opposed to free), and if you find yourself lured by one of those titles, you can use the code DIGEST30 to get your first non-free ...

  21. What is the Difference Between Royalty-Free and Copyright-Free?

    Royalty-free is not the same as copyright-free - but it can be easy to confuse them. The difference between them is significant and important to understand when making content. Let's start by defining what copyright and royalty are.