In our fast paced world of email, and RSS feeds, sometimes it’s best to just slow down and read a good book…but if you’re unwilling to shell out big bucks for the latest bestseller - try out these great resources, and read to your hearts content!
This site is the oldest producer of free ebooks on the Internet. Their collection, pieced together by thousands of volunteers, now amount to over 20,000 works which have fallen into public domain. With great numbers however, comes the headache of picking true literary gems from the fodder - That’s why this Top 100 page is so valuable.
Want a real physical book for a change? BookMooch is a community for exchanging used books. Under a points system, it lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.
This site specializes in technical books ranging anywhere from C# to AJAX. Many commercial works can be found here though. This makes the legality of this particular site questionable… but we of course assume you own these books before you download them
This service has been giving Google a fair bit of copyright headaches, but has moved forward quite well in spite of the circumstances. It comes with a book-like interface which many people like - I am unfortunately not one of them. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to download my books rather than read it of a website. If you’re going to use this service, select ‘full view books’ under the options page for best effect
This is as basic as it gets, and consists of an open directory with plain text files for download. Don’t be fooled. Their library is comprehensive, and plain text would be the most portable file format around.
I think the name of the site says it all. What I like about this site is that all their books are very specifically tagged so you can zoom down on whatever topic you want very quickly.
Too lazy to read? Get Librivox to read it to you! These guys are undertaking a collaborative project and working with volunteers to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the Internet. They also offer podcasts for their recent work too, so you can get books on your MP3 player with a snap of your fingers.
Yes - CliffsNotes, the all time favorite resource for literary study guides, are now GIVING away their a lot of their literary material. A truly excellent resource if you’re cramming for a test.
WikiBooks is yet another awesome project by the Jimmy Wales and the WikiMedia team (The same guys who brought you Wikipedia) with a mission to create a free collection of open-content textbooks that anyone can edit. They currently have more than 25,000 books on a variety of topics, and can rival many public libraries. One thing to be wary off is that the books can be edited, defaced, or maliciously changed by anyone. While this same possibility is true for Wikipedia, their large base of editors and volunteers ensure that any bad behavior is kept in check. This project would have a much smaller base, and thus may not correct mistakes as fast.
No time to read? DailyLit breaks down big books into smaller chunks so you can read it in palatable parts.