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How to Read Free Books Online

Updated on July 28, 2012
Get all of your books digitally.
Get all of your books digitally.

Project Gutenberg Offers a Free Library Online

Project Gutenberg offers more than 27,000 books in its free online book catalog. Anyone who loves to read classics can read these books free at any time online. Project Gutenberg, named for the inventor of the printing press, is the next generation of libraries. Instead of going to a library, a vast library of free books that are in the public domain is available for downloading.

According to the site, Project Gutenberg was the first site to offer free ebooks. It continues to do so on a mass scale, including free online books in more than 20 languages.

Free Public Domain Books

Books that are in the public domain are generally books that have expired copyrights. Copyright laws in the United States allow anyone to reprint a work once the copyright has elapsed. Project Gutenberg has utilized a large network of volunteers to enter works into the Gutenberg database after the site has investigated the copyright status and determined the work to be free from current copyright claims.

There are a few books in the Project Gutenberg library that are under copyright, but they are distributed through the site with permission from the copyright holder. These often have formatting or distribution restrictions that the public domain works don't.

Download Free Books

There are several ways to read the free books online that are available through Project Gutenberg. Most titles have several formats available, including HTML, PDF and plain text.

The free books are formatted in an ebook style that makes them readable by text readers. The text files are easy to download into both ebook readers and PDAs. Some readers will also display the PDF or HTML versions of books as well. For those without readers, simply downloading an ebook directly onto the computer is a convenient way to have the ebooks available for reading.

Many people who use Project Gutenberg find that the Plucker reader works well for reading the books on mobile web devices. Plucker is free and works for a variety of pocket PCs, PDAs and other hand-held gadgets.

New Free Ebooks

The site updates the free book catalog every day with a page dedicated to the updates that occurred over the last day. The new titles are available through an RSS feed so that readers never miss out on a new title that interests them.

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization that is run by donations. The site has several donation links that allow readers to donate as much as they wish if they wish to contribute to the site and keep the free books online available to everyone.

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