While we’re really enjoying our new 3M Cloud Library eBook collection, there are still many hurdles to jump. EBooks for libraries are expensive and have many restrictions set by the publishers – so much to our dismay, we can’t offer you every book ever published. However, there are other ways for you to find free and less-expensive eBook options. There are thousands of free eBooks available to download to your eBook or tablet, but finding them can be difficult.
But remember, while we can provide you with resources to try out, your device still might not work with the service. Some eReaders and tablets use proprietary formats that will not allow you to download eBooks from some sources – one example is that you cannot (at this time) download Project Gutenberg titles to a Kindle Fire.
Project Gutenberg – This website makes thousands of titles available that are out of copyright, plus each book is available in multiple formats. That means these titles are available to download on basic eReaders and tablets. Check out Project Gutenberg’s MobileReader How-To to find out how to get their titles on your device.
Open Library – This project, part of the Internet Archive, is an editable library catalog. They provide free eBooks and books available to borrow through their lending library.
ManyBooks.net – This site includes many of the Project Gutenberg eTexts, but also has public domain titles and Creative Commons works from other sources.
Smashwords – If you’re looking for indie eBooks, check out Smashwords – an eBook distributor. Once you register with the site, you can create your own personal Smashwords library and find affordable self-published eBooks, plus many free titles.
Baen Free Library – Looking for Science Fiction & Fantasy titles? Take a look at Baen’s collection of free titles. Authors choose to make their works available for free, so many of the titles are the first in the series; however, their eBooks are also reasonably priced.
Feedbooks – The site includes free original works and public domain titles. You can sort the collection by price or simply browse the free eBooks listings.
InkMesh – Recently published works are rarely available for free, but you can search for a title on InkMesh to compare prices across platforms and websites. InkMesh even provides you with information on what eBooks are free at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and many other eBook vendor websites.
Depending on your eReader or tablet, you might be able to find daily discounts and a listing of free ebooks on the website for your eReader brand.
Don’t forget to search the Google Play store for your Android device and the iBooks store on your iPhone or iPad.
For more resources, check out these blog posts: