A list of places to find free books, ebooks, and audiobooks to keep you in reading heaven for as long as you like!
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Now that my children are a little older, I’ve got a tiny bit of free time back to fill with one of my favorite hobbies: reading!
But on my “minimalish” journey, I’m not looking to buy new books to bring into my home. The good news is that there are plenty of places to find free books, most of which you’re just borrowing for a time. You’ll get the benefits of reading without the clutter in your home!
So the next time you’re looking for your new favorite book, check out these places!
When you think of a place to find a free book, the obvious first thought will always be at the public library. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. In a recent Gallup poll, it was found that Americans visited the library more often than any other cultural activity in the past year.
I know that’s true for our house! Since my children were toddlers, we’ve gone to our library a few times a month for various programs and, of course, to grab a huge stack of books. In fact, my daughter and I have been to 2 different local libraries in the last 10 days! We really do love our libraries and we’re lucky enough to have a few close by so we can rotate our visits.
The Libby app by OverDrive is a super useful way to borrow ebooks and audiobooks right from your library. I have recommended this app more times than I can remember. I’m able to search for the books I want to read and either download them immediately or in the case of more popular selections, place a hold on them. Libby will let you know right away how long the expected hold will be, and you’ll get a notification when it’s ready for you to read. Then you’ll have the option of reading it right on the app, or on a Kindle. The book is yours to read for 2 weeks.
I’ve recently discovered the option to suspend your hold. This has come in really handy when I’m having a busy week or I have more than one book coming in at the same time
Amazon First Reads
Did you know that Amazon offers free books to Prime members?
One way is through their First Reads program.
At the start of every month, Amazon sends Prime members an email offering 5 or more ebooks at no cost. Most of these are new books with not many reviews, but I’ve read some really entertaining ones in the last couple of years. It’s always something I look forward to.
In February, there were 7 ebooks to choose from!
I chose the thriller called The Silence by Daisy Pearce, since I have 3 new fiction books lined to read first. I thought I would be due for a change. Also, I was really interested in the memoir A Drop of Midnight by Jason Diakité. It was a tough choice this month! But, from time to time, Amazon sends out another email at the end of the month allowing you the choice of a second book. Fingers crossed!
Amazon Kindle Library
Prime members also have loads of options for free books and magazines if they have a Kindle. With Prime Reading in the Kindle library, you can borrow up to 10 titles at a time, and once you return one, you can borrow another. Just like your local public library!
If you’re feeling more social, why not organize a book swap? Gather together a group of friends and ask them to bring in some of their favorite books to trade.
Neighborhood Little Free Library
If you’re lucky enough to have one of these tiny, individually-run libraries in your area, you might know how fun this program is. But if you’re not familiar, they’re just what the name suggests and there are more than 90,000 registered worldwide. They are small boxes where people can leave a book and take a book, all on the honor’s system. There’s one in front of my son’s school, and also one inside of our neighborhood co-op!
If you don’t have on in your area, maybe that’s a sign that you need to start one yourself! The Little Free Library site has all the info you need to get you started, everything from the building plans to a world map where you can add your library when it’s open for business.
2nd and Charles Bin
A few years back, my town opened a 2nd and Charles, a ginormous used book, music, and movie store, in what was a Borders Books. And they have just about everything! It’s so fun to just explore and see what you can find.
One of the best parts of the store is actually before you even open the front doors.
My 2nd and Charles has a big bin with absolutely free books in it. You can just take whatever appeals to you! Granted they aren’t the latest bestsellers, but it’s always worth a look.
To see if you have a 2nd and Charles near you, check out their locations here.
Public Domain Sites
Books that are listed under the public domain are those whose copyrights have expired. Usually, those copyrights are ended 70 years after the author has died. That means most of the books under the public domain are quite old. But if you’ve got a list of classic books that you’ve been meaning to read, public domain sites may be the place to look.
There are loads of public domain websites out there, but here are some of the most popular.
Named for Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, Project Gutenberg has more than 60,000 titles available for downloading or reading online.
In addition to loads of free ebooks, Many Books does also offer ebooks at a low, discounted rate. So double-check before downloading so you’re not hit with a fee for a few dollars!
If reading books while you’re running errands or doing chores is more your speed, check out LibriVox’s collection of public domain audiobooks. There’s also an app so you can hear audiobooks on the go. The books are recorded by volunteers, so if you’re interested, check out that option, too!
With this list of places to find free books, you’ll never be without a good novel or biography (or whatever’s your favorite genre) again! Happy Reading!