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The Top Five Websites for Readers

Updated on February 17, 2012

Project Gutenberg

38,000 free ebooks and counting are offered up by Project Gutenberg. If you own an e-reader, or even just a computer, you can have access to an enormous selection of books, some that are thousands of years old, whilst others have only just come out of copywrite. This is a great resource for anyone looking to reduce their spending on books or for someone who just wants to read classics.

World Book Night

World Book Night is an annual event during which thousands of books are freely distributed to the public to promote reading. You can get involved as a reader if someone gives you a book, but even better is the chance to become a giver.

Each year a list of books to give away is drawn up. By selecting your favourites on the website you can help contribute to the list, which comes from the top one hundred books picked by users. Once this list is created you can then apply to be a giver on the night, choosing from the list of books available. If successful you’ll receive twenty copies of your chosen book to distribute to members of your local community.

You’ll only visit the website a handful of a times each year (though there is a regularly updated blog that covers various reading topics throughout the year), but it’s worth putting this on your favourites list simply because it’s a great thing to get involved with if you love books.

AmLibraryAssociation on World Book Night

Abe Books

For me, Abe Books is the ultimate online bookshop and with fifteen years online experience behind it, it is one of my favourite places to shop.

The site works by connecting customer’s with independent booksellers. New and used, modern and antiquarian, signed first editions and books of historical importance can all be found on Abe Books. It is truly a worldwide network and has helped me locate all sorts of books that were previously difficult to find and most at much cheaper prices than I could find in the antiquarian bookshops where I live in London.

So, Abe Books is not just for readers, it is for collectors, and it’s particularly useful for those who are looking for a particular edition or a signed copy.


Goodreads is an online bookshelf, designed to catalog books users have read, are reading or intend to read in the future. Space is limitless and you can create your own shelves and upload books that aren’t amongst the millions currently listed.

This system can be used to rate and review, get suggestions for reads and to track your own personal reading target, whether that’s five books for the year or five hundred. It also acts as an online community for readers, with countless book groups that organize reads and discussions each month and offer places to chat about your favorite books and authors.

Many of the communities host users own writings as well and there are a growing number of writers using author accounts on Good Reads to communicate with their readership.

Book Crossing

Book Crossing has been around a few years now and is another great way to read for free and encourage others to read too. Books are swapped amongst users, some directly and others left in Book Crossing Zones. You can register the books released or found, allowing you to track them as they travel all over the world.

Image credit to ntwowe of


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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      I will check out some of these.

    • Hayley Richardson profile image

      Hayley Richardson 5 years ago from London, UK

      It's worth the outlay if you read a lot, particularly with costs coming down right now whilst books seem to be rising in price. I love mine!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Good information. I have not got a ebook reader yet but it is a sure thing I will with all the books available for them.