How can we read a book for free?
Walt Disney said, “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island”. And if you are reading this, I’m sure it’s because you are one of those who are looking for these treasures in a book.
However, not all of us have the resources to buy books all the time. So what to do?
No worries. We got you covered. Here are 15 ways you can read a book for free. Whether you’re looking for a physical book or you’re looking for free books online, there should be an option available for you here.
Ready to read a book for free? Let’s get it started!
Ways to Read a Book for Free
1. Project Gutenberg
The first option on our list of ways to read a book for free is Project Gutenberg. This is a fantastic site that offers free electronic books.
The site is able to offer the free download of these eBooks since all the books here are older books. These books mostly have U.S. copyright has expired or a book where the copyright holder has given public permission.
While the site isn’t anything flashy, it offers easy ways to browse book titles. You can search by most frequently downloaded, recently added eBooks, etc.
Additionally, you’ll be able to find some amazing free books on this site that you’ll want to start reading right away.
2. Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press
Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press is the sister site to Project Gutenberg. What sets this site apart is that all the books are from self-published authors. This is a great site to browse and find recently released books and find a new author to enjoy.
This site is super easy to navigate. Each author has a bio section where you can find additional works written by them.
3. Internet Archive
The Internet Archive offers copyright-expired eBooks that are available for free download. In addition to that, there are also over 500,000 more recent eBooks that you are able to borrow after you’ve set up a free account. This is basically an online library.
It’s super easy to sign up for a virtual library card and start borrowing the virtual eBooks. Just like a library, some of the more popular titles do have a waiting list. This is definitely a fantastic site that you’ll want to check out today!
4. Open Library
Open Library is another great online site that allows you to read eBooks for free.
This site offers newer and popular titles such as the Harry Potter series. You can also borrow textbooks, which is fantastic if you are in school or going back to school. The textbook titles range from psychology to biblical studies to mathematics and more.
Open Library also offers a great selection of children’s books by Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, among others. The site is organized by genre and has many great titles available. It is easy to navigate and it also showcases the covers of the books available to borrow.
5. Google Books
For all Google fanatics out there, this next way to read a book for free is going to be right up your alley. Google offers its own free books site.
Google Books is set up just like Google’s main search engine – it’s simply a search bar where you type in the book you are looking for and a page of results will come up. And just like Google, Google Books has a predictive search that helps you find the book you want – even if you just know part of the title.
While this site will be popular because of its name recognition and with those familiar with Google, this site isn’t the greatest if you aren’t sure what book you want to read. For example, when you search for “fantasy books”, it brings up books with fantasy in the title. It doesn’t give you a list of popular fantasy books.
And not all the books on this site are full-text books available for free. Some of the books are just a preview.
Smashwords is an online distributor of indie books. The site offers over 70,000 free books to read but also offers books for sale at an affordable price.
Smashwords is a great place to find new authors to fall in love with. There are over 135,000 authors, independent publishers and literary agents who publish works on Smashwords.
It’s also a great place to check out a variety of genres and explore new books. There are even free samples of the books for sale on the site so if you do fall in love with one of the non-free books, you can test it out before you decide to purchase it.
This site is super easy to navigate and you can search for books by genre and price so it’s easy to find your next free book by a new favorite author.
Blurb is an online publishing site for authors. Most of the books on the site are for sale as print. However, many also have the full book available as a preview on the site.
These books showcase book covers that are beautifully designed and visually appealing. Blurb offers a wide variety of genres to choose from and the site is extremely easy to navigate. And if you decide to purchase one of the books from Blurb, you can rest easy knowing that the author is getting a good chunk of that money back.
Another great site where you can read a book for free is Scribd. This site is set up similar in design to Netflix or Hulu.
While there is a monthly subscription option, there is also a free option. You just need to sign up and you can access the free books. Or if you want, you can try out their free 30-day trial of the subscription model and decide if it’s worth continuing to pay for or if the free option will work for you.
Scribd offers a lot of recently released books but many are only available on the subscription plan. It’s worth taking a look to see if the free books on this site interest you, otherwise there are plenty of other options to read books for free.
If you are someone who likes to read the book before watching the movie, Wattpad is a great place to find new authors and read their works before they are potentially turned into movies.
This site prides itself on taking fresh, new authors and getting their content produced on the big screen. Some of the titles that have been recently turned into movies include The Kissing Booth which can be found on Netflix.
The site is bright and modern. Wattpad is easy to browse based on genre and there are so many books that look fantastic! This is definitely one of the best sites to find books to read.
ManyBooks is just what its name implies – it is a free online eBook site that offers many books.
This site has a great design where you can easily search for books based on ratings (1-5 stars), language, and genre. There are so many books on this site that it is almost overwhelming – but in a good way!
Many of the books can be downloaded or read online. Their online eBook reader takes a bit to load but is fairly easy to use. The designs of the books seem to be pretty basic – but as long as the story is good, it doesn’t really matter what the book design looks like.
This is most definitely a fantastic find for with many great books.
24symbols is another online site where you can read books for free. This site makes it super easy to find free books and scroll through which one you want to start.
Many of the books don’t have cover art but what do they say, “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, right?
Each book does have a nice summary of what the book is about as well as the estimated amount of time it will take you to read it.
There is also the option to listen to many of the books through LibriVox, a free online audiobook site. Some of the books in the site are older books with expired U.S. copyright while there are also newer books available.
Each author has a nice bio page showcasing other works that can be found on 24symbols.
If you love to read but doesn’t have enough time to do it, then you might prefer audiobook. Good news, there is even a way for you to read a book for free. It’s called LibriVox. This site offers free public domain audiobooks.
The audiobooks are read by volunteers, which is part of the reason why they are able to offer the audiobooks for free. And you can even join them and submit your own audiobook reading through their site.
It is good to note however that the volunteers can only read and submit audiobook versions of books with expired U.S copyright. So they are pretty much books published before 1923.
The books can be listened to on your computer, phone, or even burned onto a CD. It’s super easy to browse the catalog of books and download the audio file.
LibriVox displays all the available titles even if there isn’t currently an audio version available. If you are up for it, you could volunteer to record the audiobook. The site also lets you know if someone is currently in the process of recording that book so you can check back later.
If you find a reader who you enjoy listening to, you can look up their reader profile and easily browse other titles they have recorded.
13. Prime Reading
If you have Amazon Prime, which many of you probably do, you may have heard or seen Prime Reading at some point. But let me share how you can read a book for free through this platform.
Prime members can get an unlimited reading of books, magazines, audible books, and more. You can read on your phone, on an e-reader, on your computer, or any device. There are so many fantastic books available to read through Prime Reading.
While the service offers unlimited reading, you are only able to have 10 titles downloaded at a time. It’s easy to swap out titles once you’ve finished a book or if you decide you’d rather have another book downloaded instead.
Some of the books also have the audio version available. Prime Reading offers a good selection of new and popular books.
While this isn’t completely a free reading option since you have to have a Prime membership, it is just one of the great lesser-known perks of membership so many people are already paying for.
If you have a Prime membership and love to read – you need to be taking advantage of this!
You can also enjoy a 30-day free trial upon sign up by clicking here!
14. Little Free Library
For those of you who still like the smell and feel of a book in your hands, you need to check out the Little Free Library.
This free book option is part of the resource-sharing movement. People can build a small covered shelter to hold books. The shelter is then placed outdoors in a place where people who walk by are able to see what books are available to take (for free) or drop off a book when they are done reading.
These are great for people who have a lot of books at home and want to trade them in for new books. But even if you don’t have a book to trade in, these Little Free Libraries are available for you to browse and take a book you want to read.
There are now over 50,000 Little Free Libraries in the United States and around the world.
15. Public Library
For those of you who are maybe a little old school – you can’t forget your local public library. This is still a fantastic place to get check out and read a book for free. Plus, many public libraries offer free DVD rentals and audiobooks as well.
If you haven’t been to your public library in a while, you definitely need to stop by and check it out. There’s really nothing better than the smell of a good book and the opportunity to browse thousands of book titles.
Also, those librarians are great resources – they are the original Google. If you like thrillers, they can offer you new books within that genre that you should also check out. You never know what book you may come across.
There is literally an ocean of books out there waiting to be explored and so many ways for you to read a book for free. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any reason at all not to be able to read more.
If setting aside time to read is a problem for you, check out this ultimate guide on How to Read More Books this year, regardless if you have a full schedule.
You can also check out more similar articles to get inspiration and ideas on how to read more books.
12 Great Benefits Of Reading 30 Minutes A Day
Read More Books With Speed Reading
33 Ways On How To Read More Books This Year [Ultimate Guide]
5 Best Speed Reading Courses Available
How To Read A Book Fast For School [4 Awesome Methods]
More Apps To Help You Read More Books
Aside from the ones listed above, here are some other services that are good resources to get and read more books.
Kindle Unlimited by Amazon – Enjoy a 30-day free trial upon sign up.
Audible by Amazon – 30 days of free trial plus 2 Free audiobook downloads.
These are great resources and free trials are available for you, so you have 30 days to enjoy free books and audiobooks. Check them out. These are the greatest resources of books, from old to popular to new releases by popular authors. And you can enjoy them for free if you sign up for the free trial. Isn’t that amazing?
Now that you have all the resources you need, what are you waiting for? Make your choice and read a book for free now!
Until next time!