Celebrate Read an eBook Week with Free eBooks

By Marilynne Rudick on March 7, 2011

I bet you didn’t know that this  is the start of Read an eBook Week. Its purpose is to publicize and promote eBook reading. I bet you also didn’t know that this is the 40th anniversary of the first “eBook,” the Declaration of Independence.

In an eerie juxtaposition, eBook Week follows close on the heels of Borders filing for bankruptcy, closing 200 bookstores. Yes, I love my Kindle. But I also love bricks-and-mortar bookstores. Perhaps Barnes and Noble has gotten it right: keeping its bookstores but also making eBooks available with the Nook reader.

But mourning the demise of Borders doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate eBook week. Downloading free eBooks seems like an appropriate gesture.

Thousands of Free Classic eBooks

The good news: there are thousands of free eBooks compatible with the Kindle, Nook and other eReaders. The bad news: if you are looking for best sellers–or anything published in the last 100 or so years– the pickings are slim. Most free eBooks are those in the public domain; their copyright has expired. Under current U.S. copyright law, an author–or the author’s estate–controls the rights to the work for 70 years after the author’s death. That means most free eBooks are classics–Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, not John Grisham or J.K. Rowling.

Think of it this way: they are called classics because they’ve withstood the test of time. Now there’s no excuse to not read the complete Crime and Punishment instead 0f  the Cliff’s Notes version you used to skate through high school.

Where to Find Free eBooks

  • The nonprofit Project Gutenberg has digitized 40,000 books. Best of all, books are available in a variety of formats to accommodate just about any eBook reader, computer or mobile device. Books are free, but donations are encouraged to make newly out-of-copyright books available. You can search the website to find books by title, author or subject. Browse its list of most popular books or newest releases.
  • Amazon offers over 5000 free eBooks in the Kindle format. Check out Amazon’s top 100 free eBooks.
  • Borders boasts the availability of more than 1 million free eBooks, available in PDF and ePub format. (EPub is compatible with most eReaders, mobile devices and computers. It is not Kindle compatible.)
  • Barnes and Noble free ebook offerings are meager–about 100.
  • Free Kindle Books and Tips Blog (Michael Gallagher) makes it easy to find just-released free eBooks. The blog lists the daily free book offerings from Amazon and other sources. Listings include readers’ ratings. Many of the free eBooks are older books by well-known authors or new authors. Subscribe to receive the blog via e-mail (free) or on your Kindle ($.99 a month).
  • eBookNewser, a daily blog covering the eBook industry, includes a free eBook page with offerings by Amazon, Project Gutenburg, University of Chicago Press, and others.

Read eBooks on Any Digital Device

You don’t have to have a Kindle, Nook, or other eBook reader to download and read eBooks. Project Gutenberg books and those  in ePub format can be read on any digital device. So download an eBook this week and save a tree!

Coming soon: a post about library eBooks.

Categories: Blogging, eBooks, Fun!, Saving Money

1 comment

  • Don’t forget your public library. Many subscribe to a web based e-book provider like OverDrive. Library members can download for free. New titles as well

    Posted by: Dawn Kiddell on April 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

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