ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Where to Read Books Online for Free

Updated on October 18, 2017

I am an information junkie

I don't buy every book I want to read. I go to the library three or four times a month and checkout anywhere from two to six books at a time--I've learned to let the heavy, large books stay at the library and only carry the lightweight ones home (I walk there).

In the interest of time and general information gathering, I attempt to find an online copy of the books I want to read before locating them at the library or bookstore. That's not always easy when a book is brand new or extremely popular.

However, sometimes authors release chapters of their books to online sources and sometimes current and older books are in a scanned resource on the Net.

In fact, current novels and non-fiction are pretty easy to find for free, online reading. As I begin to gather ebooks to read on my new ereader, I am finding free sources for those too.

Here are some of my favorite sources for reading books online for free.

Photo courtesy of nkzs.

Google Books

Not every book has a preview and most books are not available in their entirety on Google Books. However, if you want to read a few chapters or scan a book for some research, Google Books is the best place to begin.

Why? Because most books that provide a preview also include a table of contents and a TOC can tell you a lot about what information the book contains, and whether it is worth your while to track down or purchase.

You can go to Google Books here. You can also go to the Google home page, click on the "More"option and select "books" from the drop down menu.

The Best Thing About Google Books

You can place books you want to keep track of or return to in your online Google Library. You must have a Google account to add books and return to them easily.

The Google Library account allows you to sort your selections by "Favorites", "To Read", "Browsing HIstory", "reading Now", "Have Read", "Purchased" and "Reviewed". Of course, you can buy the book directly from Google too.

Another Great Thing About Google Books

You can almost always find the latest book releases here.

Your Local Library Website

Many public libraries have added, or are in the process of adding, a digital library checkout.

You can see Albuquerque's public digital library entrance page here.

You find public library ebooks by searching here.

You can find your local public library here.

Digital libraries allow you to checkout digital books for a few weeks and read them on your desktop or ereader for FREE. What could be easier than that?

Unfortunately, most books are not in digital format. However, recent publications often are. If you are looking for current books and information, this is an ideal resource.

You will need to have a local library account, which may require you to visit the library at least once to obtain the account.

Photo courtesy of kalilo.

University of Pennsylvania Online

The University of Pennsylvania online is a great resource that lists a million+ books for free reading. Search by author, title and subject.

Many of the books are history related and some are quite old. However, there are links to very popular books, too. I found a link to several Napoleon Hill books including Think and Grow Rich through this resource.

If you are looking for books considered to be classics or written by famous authors, this is the place to go. You can find Keats, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Dickens, the list of authors is long.

I even found a listing for a Stephen King book.

Problem: Sometimes the links are outdated and don't work. However, at the end of each listing you are givein the website address of the original source the link directs to. If you are inclined to copy and paste that into your browser, you can probably find what you are looking for, eventually.

You can visit UPenn here.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg here provides free ebooks of outdated copyrighted books--copyrights do expire, eventually. Which indicates the books are probably much older and would be very out of date if they pertain to nonfiction subjects, certainly not a place to read if you are looking for current items.

If you are doing historical research on a subject, this site may provide what you are looking for.

Visit Project Gutenberg here.

Photo courtesy of typofi.

Specialty Books for Free

Romance, Law, Spanish

Romance Harlequin Books offers 18 Free recently published roamnce novels for download.

Free novels in Spanish are available from Don Quijote. org. Great for anyone learning to read Spanish.

FREE Current Releases

Read Any Book Online is a great site that allows you to read current books from an online easy!

Read from series books such as Harry Potter or Twilight, and from the Dan Brown books, Paul Cohelo's The Alchemist--great selection!

Authors include Jane Austen, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dean Koontz, Louisa May Alcott, John Steinbeck and the list goes on. Simply select a book by clicking on it and it will show up on the ereader screen embedded on the web page.

(WARNING: Do not be fooled by the flashing "Download" and "Play Now" buttons--that is an advertisement and not the way to read from this site!)


Open Library has a goal: to create "one web page for every book ever published". With 20 million records already created, Open Library is well on its way to achieving a successful end to their goal.

Similar to Wikipedia, Open Library allows its members (membership is FREE, btw) to add, correct and comment on its titles.

Each book page includes a variety of ways to read the book online.

You can read a scanned version online or read Open Library books books in one of these formats:

  • PDF
  • Plain text
  • ePub
  • DjVu
  • MOBI
  • Send to Kindle

Plus, Open Library links you to The World Catalog book search site to locate a physical copy at a local library. You are also given links to buy the book as well.

Types of Books available from Open Library: cookbooks, sci-fi, the classics, plays from all eras...just about any subject you could possible think of! You can search by author, title or subject.

Open Library is part of Internet Archive a non-profit organization dedicated to building an Internet Library.

Photo courtesy of andrewatla.

Do You Know of Other Free Book Resources?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I received a Kindle for Christmas, so looking for books online is a new thing for me. Before that I was carrying books from the library too. Thank you for this lens, it will definitely help me.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)