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I have been searching for ebooks but I don't have money to buy them. Can I get them for free?

closed as off-topic by Ed Cottrell Mar 5 '18 at 5:31

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  • Welcome to the site! This is a site for questions about ebooks themselves, such as how to publish, sell, and read them. Questions asking us to find or recommend a particular book are off-topic here. Please read about How to Ask questions here. – Ed Cottrell Mar 5 '18 at 5:31
  • @Ed I understood the question as fitting the site topic, and specifically its definition given in your comment. The OP asks not so much for interesting books (off-topic) as for free books, which is something that is very specific of ebooks and economical nonsense for material paper books. Typically my answer is about how the market, including publishers and readers, has been organized so that free ebooks are common practice for authors, publishers and retailers, for public domain and for recent books. Sociology and economics matter as much as technology. I edited question accordingly. – babou Mar 5 '18 at 13:29
  • @user70668 I suggest that you edit your question to remove the "interesting ebooks" aspect, which is off-topic all over stack-exchange because it is subjective. You should only ask about objective issues. I actually did the editing for you, but you can undo it if you disagree, since the system keep all successive versions of a question. – babou Mar 5 '18 at 13:30
  • @EdCottrell Indeed, legal and pricing issues are objective aspects that matter to all actors of the ebooks ecology (see existing tags). Free ebooks are simply a special case of pricing. – babou Mar 5 '18 at 13:47
  • @babou I think you may have misunderstood my point. The “interesting” part of the question makes it opinion-based, yes, but the bigger problem is that the entire question is off-topic. Questions about where to find lots of free ebooks are off-topic for a lot of reasons. Among others, they’re going to attract opinionated answers, spam, links to illegal sources, and links that break over time. This site (like other SO) sites is for questions with discrete answers; it doesn’t work well as a way to collect links to off-site resources. – Ed Cottrell Mar 5 '18 at 13:52
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I am not sure what you consider an interesting book. That depends much on the reader. Anyway, I edited your question to remove the reference to "interesting books", since it is a matter of opinion and as such is generally a proscribed issue on StackExchange.

Asking for, or giving a list of places where you can find free ebooks is also proscribed, as it can give rise to endless lists and answers. Furthermore, it would make little sense since the question would become far too broad (another proscribed situation), because you did not specify (fortunately, I think) the kind of books you are interested in. I am saying fortunately, because it does leave open the one proper option, which is to describe in general terms some current disseminations and pricing practices, which structure the ebook market. These should be hints as to how to search on your own the current market for sources of free book. Ad searching is good, because its is always an open door for serendipity.

Answers to your question may also depend on how legal you expect the download to be. For several reasons I would discourage downloading from illegal sites and I will thus ignore this possibility.

Parameters that may play an important role include :

  • the kind of book you are looking for : romance, scifi, thriller, philosophy, mystery, comics, etc.;
  • the book format: epub, mobi, pdf, scanned pdf, ... knowing that readers do not always accept all formats;
  • your tolerance to DRM (Digital Right Management systems). Though rarer for free books, they manage to be a pervasive annoyance in any context;
  • whether you might be willing to pay a very small price rather than nothing.

Note also that some books (whether free or not) may not be downloadable from some countries.

Without attempting to list sources, 2 sites are major entry points for public domain books, that cannot be ignored:

  1. The primary source of well formatted free ebooks is certainly Project Gutenberg. I would say they have a very large collection of interesting books, well digitalized.

  2. If you are not fussy about format, there is also the Internet Archive, which has pointers to lots of library resources, some of which do offer public domain books for free. And there is the Internet Archive own repository. But these books may be in awkward formats, or poorly digitalized ... the technical quality is very variable.

But since the above sources are making available public domain books, they are unlikely to contain recent books.

Many independent authors give some of their ebooks for free, though you seldom get complete series (but it does happen). They will often ask you to subscribe to their mailing list in exchange for the free book(s). And some of these mails will contain information about other free resources. See BookFunnel and Instafreebie. Many author will give you books for free, in exchange for honest independent reviews on various sites. You may also get pre-release versions (ARCs, i.e., advance review copy) in exchange for reviewing or proof-reading the book.

Most retailers (including Kobo, Smashwords or Amazon) have a lot of books available for free, sometimes permanently, sometimes only for 2 or 3 days. Grab what you want, as it may be gone tomorrow.

You can subscribe to various daily mails that will keep you informed of such opportunities. Examples include BookBub, The Fussy Librarian, Book Cave , Robin Reads, BookBarbarian and many others. Some mailing lists may specialise on topic, publisher or retailer. Just subscribe to some.

Some publishers give away free books to people who are subscribed to their mailing list. Some of them are quite good, though they are often the first volume of a series. For example, the publisher Arc Manor (aka Phoenix Pick) specialises in science fiction, and has one book for free every month.

Many books can be bought for very low prices, such as $1 or $2, including award winners and classics.

A good source can also be to buy book bundles. Humble Bundles has some great opportunities in all kinds of books (including comics). You can typically get a bundle of 25 books of good average quality (including some top ones) for $15. You may also want to look at StoryBundle bundles, though they are less varied, and a bit more expensive. Besides these two bundling retailers, you can sometimes get bundles from publishers or retailers.

There is a lot more to be said and found, but this ought to get you started. My information is probably biased by the kind of books I am interested in.

But it is also important to help by paying when you can. Most of these books have to be produced and edited by people who try to make a living.

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