Ten sites that give free access to quality ebooks librarians and publishers should know about [readers, too]

Since launching the Free Content Alerts column, which highlights sites and platforms where ebooks and econtent may be downloaded and read for free, we’ve brought to our readers’ attention 10 great sites to recommend to anyone looking for quality content online in digital format, particularly those unable to access quality ebooks through their local libraries, ranging from classics to professional literature and from popular fiction to scholarly monographs.

These are the ten sources highlighted thusfar on NSR.

Open Culture, a mission to collect the content that is free and [arguably] the ‘best in class’

Eserver.org, an alternative niche for free quality content (including ebooks) in the arts and humanities

Unglue.it, an ebooks site that functions like a true participatory democracy

Knowledge Unlatched, supported by libraries, and made available in pdf to any reader, anywhere in the world

Hathitrust Digital Library, a major source of open scholarship with legal issues seemingly behind it

Smashwords, where indie authors may price their books at ‘free,’ but ‘free’ isn’t the core mission

World Public Library, an impressive collection of free books and documents but a cumbersome registration process

Internet Archive, a nonprofit offering an overwhelming amount of free content (and triggering some copyright debates)

B-OK (formerly Bookzz), probably the world’s largest free ebook site with a minimally-invasive registration process

Project Gutenberg, public domain titles free to be read and re-distributed in the U.S. (but not necessarily throughout the world)

6 thoughts on “Ten sites that give free access to quality ebooks librarians and publishers should know about [readers, too]”

  1. Thanks for the useful list. You’ve listed a couple I didn’t know about. I’m always amazed that people don’t use their libraries and/or don’t know about these free ebook sites.

  2. Of course. Readers who live in affluent urban areas with well-funded libraries certainly benefit from robust ebook collections. But thousands of libraries (in the United States and beyond) and millions of readers around the world do not have that kind of exposure to digital content. The idea here is to alert readers and librarians alike to what is out there beyond library cards and geographic restrictions. These ten are a good place to start for those people not fortunate enough to get ebooks through their libraries. We’ll cover more in the future. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Every reader should check their local public library. Library cards are free and all offer free access to ebook and audiobooks best sellers and premium titles for all readers. See overdrive.com to find your library.

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