If you’re a big reader, you might find the cost of e-books adds up quickly. The good news is, you can some e-books for free, if you know where to look. (And yes, it’s totally legal.) If you’re looking for an old text or a classic novel, you can probably find it in a public domain e-books library. These online libraries stock e-books for which the copyright has expired in the United States, meaning they’re free to read and share. (If you don’t live in the U.S., be sure to check your country’s copyright laws before downloading.)
Project Gutenberg bills itself as the first producer of free e-books. The site currently has over 42,000 books to choose from, and they’re all searchable and organized by category. All the books on the site are offered in Epub and Kindle-friendly formats.
Open Library was started in 2007 by the Internet Archive. It boasts 1.7 million books, scanned and uploaded in PDF, Epub, DAISY, DjVu and ASCII text formats and made searchable by subject, author, list, and search terms. Because the Internet Archive is a registered library in the state of California, Open Library also offers a lending library containing 200,000 books, many of which are newer titles.
Digital Public Library of America
The Digital Public Library of America contains photos, manuscripts, e-books, audio files, and other documents collected from America’s libraries. Many (though not all) items in the library are public domain, but copyright information is listed for each item.