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Knowing some classic literature works being free... what would be typical sites to find and download those? (By "classic" I mean those older works that are now regarded to be “copyright-free”.)

I know iTunes, GooglePlay and the rest offer some free literature works via apps, but I am looking for more "open" resources like free online libraries, archives, etc. Does anything alike exist? Is there a directory or something where (copyright-) free books are listed for reference purposes?

The reason why I am asking is that I would hate having to waste time scanning my hardcopies just to read them on my ebook reader, when such books are freely available in ebook-compatible format somewhere...

Note: I'm talking about freely available literature, and not stolen (non-free) works offered by illegal download sites, and certainly not things like useless "get rich quick" PDF guides. I did my homework and (ab)used some search engines, but in contrast to my usual experiences, search engines didn't really help as most of what they suggest turned out to be sites offering illegal downloads.

The only usable example I found and which had an acceptable quality was Archive.org's texts. In fact, it is a pretty good example of what I'm looking/asking for. There must be more, alike resources out there…


Also note the discussion on Meta related to this question — Should we make the free books question a community wiki?

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is a shopping question. – fuxia Dec 20 '13 at 11:22
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    Shopping question means: Recommend me a list of things or resources, one complete answer is impossible, and I don’t care about the inevitable link rot. It is not about the money, but the quality of the question. These kind of questions tend to attract spammers, the links will probably not work or lead to malware sites over time. – fuxia Dec 20 '13 at 11:30
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    I have proposed making this a community wiki question meta.ebooks.stackexchange.com/questions/44/… – James Jenkins Dec 20 '13 at 11:42
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    @e-sushi, you are the community go make your views known on the meta question. – James Jenkins Dec 20 '13 at 11:45
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    Even more problematic is asking these easy / survey / subjective sort of questions during the beta period is strongly discouraged. ebooks.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic – bmike Dec 20 '13 at 17:53
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The best-known resource is Project Gutenberg, which exists for precisely this purpose.

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The web site Mobile Read maintains a library of public domain eBook files in various formats.

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All the work on Wikisource is free (CC or PD) by US law. It can be downloaded as EPUB with download help available

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Yale University's Avalon Project has a great collection of free materials in the law, history, and diplomacy realm.

Also, Amazon has lots of free Kindle versions of various works that are no longer under copyright protection. For example, you can find free Shakespeare materials here.

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