Friday, April 3, 2015

Free Books?! Who doesn't want free books??

There’s a happy trend afoot which should bring joy to all of us who love to read. FREE E-BOOKS! Thousands and thousands of free e-books.

The Gutenberg Project has made 48,518 e-books available. “…choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online,” the project says on its website. “We carry high quality ebooks: All our ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers.” (

No fee or registration is required to download books, but it asks that, if
you find Project Gutenberg useful, you donate a small amount so “we can buy and digitize more books.”

One caveat: Read the licensing agreements. While you may be entitled to download the books, there may be restrictions on how you use them. Many of the free books have no restrictions because their copyrights have expired. Others are still under copyright and are made available with the author’s permission – that permission may come with use restrictions. Additionally, some books are not under copyright in the US but may still be under copyright elsewhere in the world which would limit their use to the US.

Note to writers: The Project invites you to see how Project Gutenberg is facilitating online publishing by contemporary authors in virtually any genre or subject. “The portal is open at and invites all readers and publishers. All items are free to download and share.” There is also an RSS feed, at

As if the Gutenberg Project were not gift enough, museums across the country are putting publications on-line, making them available for free.

You can get “five decades of Metropolitan Museum publications on art history” to read, download and/or search for free at

The Guggenheim Museum began offering on-line catalogs and books in 2011 and now has sixty-five modern art books available on-line at

The Getty has topped that with 250 free art e-books. It has also posted 4600 images. at

The National Gallery in Washington has posted 25,000 images that you can download at

And, on the other side of the pond, the British Library has posted a whopping one million images – all free at

This is just a sampling. Many more sites for free books can be found on and a blog site called Freemake lists what it deems to be the twenty best websites for downloading free e-books at

And what’s better than FREE? Well, yeah, unlimited double double chocolate. But free books are a close second.

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