Where to Get Free and Low-Cost Ebooks

Free Ebooks Graphic

I am a reader. The term “voracious” has been applied, but to me, it is just the level I read at. During a typical month I will read upwards of 15 fiction books. That can lead to some hefty book bills, unless you know where to get free and low-cost ebooks.

Back In The Day

Back in the day, I would get my books at the library or in second-hand bookstores. Because frankly, buying that amount of books new would lead to some really hefty book bills!

When I switched to eBooks (and I was an early adopter – my first reader was a Rocket eBook, released in 1997), I was in love with the new technology. Now I could carry dozens of books with me everywhere! And since this was the days before Kindle and Nook, I had to find sources for the eBooks. At the time, the only content were books that were no longer under copyright. So I read a lot of classics at that time.

Today’s eBook Readers

Fast forward 20+ years. eBooks are available on so many platforms. Major publishers release eBook versions of the print books.

While it gives a much greater range of reading material, the cost of these eBooks is still large. (And we won’t get into what I think about the way eBooks are priced – there is essentially no cost once the file is formatted and uploaded).

So where can you find eBooks without breaking the bank?

Where To Get Free eBooks

There are still a lot of places that you can get free eBooks.

  • Project Gutenberg: a non-profit organization dedicated to digitizing copyright-free books, this site now has over 60,000 free books, including magazines and foreign language. If you are in the mood for a classic, head here. Most of them have multiple options for reading, including mobi (Kindle), ePub (Nook), HTML and plain text.
  • Your Local Library Most public libraries have a section of eBooks for you to check out. Many of them subscribe to services such as Hoopla and Overdrive/Libby. While the books available depends on what your library subscribes to, it is a great place to get recent eBooks for free. Most of these books are available for Kindle and ePub.
  • Online Bookstores: If you watch the prices, you can often find free (for a time) versions of books in the online book stores. Going to the store and using their search will turn up quite a few. Often times authors and publishers will make the first book in a series free to get you to read the rest.
  • Self-published books: Amazon allows self-published authors to sell directly on their site. Some of these books are free. I would offer a word of caution: read the reviews. While there are dozens of great self-published authors out there, I have run across books where the author made up words (“pigeon bisk”), misused idioms (“tow the line”), and on one occasion switched the name of the main character halfway through the book. Buyer beware. You might get what you pay for in this case.

Where to Get Low-Cost E-Books

If you are willing to spend a little bit of money, you can get a lot of eBooks.

  • Amazon Kindle Unlimited ($10 a month) With Kindle Unlimited, you pay a set fee and can read as many books as you want (limited to 10 items checked out at once). Since the authors get paid based on how far you read into the book, you will see a higher quality of book in this category. If you are a heavy reader, this may be worth it. This is the service I use the most, and where I get most of my eBooks.
  • Other Public Libraries (annual price varies)If you can’t find what you want in your own library, you can subscribe to other public libraries, usually for an annual fee. Sometimes they have reciprocal privileges with other libraries, so it may be free to you. Check the residency requirements and the cost before applying.
  • Online Booksellers (free, discounted and regularly priced books) Most online booksellers offer discounted eBooks. You need to watch the sales, though. Sites like BookBub can help you find these deals.

I hope this expands your knowledge on how to get free and low-cost eBooks. If you have a site that I haven’t mentioned, please share it below!