Tag Archive | free

10 Places To Get Free eBooks

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has free downloads of public domain works in .txt .html and .epub formats. They were all created by volunteers over the past 15+ years.  These aren’t high quality digital books, but they are free and without DRM, so you can read them on just about any device.

Scribd

Scribd is a service where users can upload their own documents to share with others. You can download those documents or embed them into your website. Not all of the documents are books, but there are lots of books included.

GetFreeEbooks

This site has all legal free downloadable ebooks. I couldn’t find anything on the website saying which formats the ebooks are in, but my guess is that most are PDF.

eBookMall.com

This is a small but growing collection of free ebooks. Downloads are either PDF or ePub. Some are samples but most are full books by modern authors.

MemoWare

MemoWare has a ton of documents and files that are formatted for different devices. They used to advertize devices like Palm and Pocket PC, but now their website says their files also work on Kindle and Nook.

Free Kindle eBooks

Amazon has an entire section of their website with free Kindle ebooks.

Adobe Sample eBook Library

Adobe has a collection of free sample ebooks that you can download for Adobe Digital Editions. They are PDF and ePub formats.

eBookLobby.com

Free ebooks organized into categories. Some are online and some are links to other websites for a download.

Online Books Page

This is a big index of free books that you can find online or for download in PDF format. You could kind of consider it a Wikipedia for free ebooks.

Free online personality test

Here is a great free online personality test that will help you find out your personality type according to the Myers Briggs theory based on Jung.

Free-eBooks.net

With the free account option you can get access to HTML ebooks and up to 5 downloads in PDF or TXT.

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Best Free ePub Reader Software

ePub Reader Software - Free DownloadsThe ePub ebook format is so important because of its reflowable nature. “Reflowable” means that the text will rearrange itself to fit your screen size. If you increase or decrease the font size, the text also rearranges itself. This is hugely different from standard page displays like those in PDF files. On those files, if you wish to increase the text size, all you can really do is zoom in on the page. eReaders try to let you increase the font size but it always affects the page size as well, cutting off the edges of the pages. If you zoom too far in, you have to scroll sideways back and forth in order to read the a whole line of text. This is the main reason why I think ePub is the best ebook format, and I hope it stays around for a long time.

And because of that, I wanted to compile a list of the best current ePub reading programs that you can use on your computer. Most eReaders can display ePubs, and you can use them on your Android or iOS device (with programs like Aldiko and Bluefire Reader, for example), but not everyone knows which program to use to open them on your computer.

DRM

If you’re going to buy an ePub file that is protected by Adobe’s DRM, you’ll have to use Adobe Digital Editions. Likewise, if you buy an ePub ebook at any specific website that has their own DRM, you’ll probably have to use the software that they recommend, but that depends on the website so I can’t tell you what you need.

Non-DRM

For regular ePub files, you have some choices:

Adobe Digital Editions – You can still use Adobe Digital Editions for non-DRM ePubs. I do because I already have it installed on my computer.

calibre – This is a program that lets you create, organize, and read your ebooks.

EPUBReader – A Firefox addon that allows you to read ePubs directly in Firefox.

FBReader – Works on Linux/Unix and Windows.

Mobipocket Reader – Bought by Amazon a while ago, and seems to be slowly shutting down. Still good for now.

There are others available that you can dig up, but these listed above are the ones that I feel are best. Stanza, for example, can read many ebook formats but ignores a lot of formatting so you end up missing out on the intended design of the book. Because of that I suspect that other readers might do the same thing.

I think that we’ll probably see more programs released as more and more people use the ePub ebook format. Even now I am seeing that ePub and PDF are the most popular (Kindle notwithstanding) and since ePub works best on the widest range of devices, it is the clear winner as far as I am concerned.

 

Creating ePubs with Sigil

Recently I had the task of creating some ePub ebooks. I did some research to find the best program to use for this, and the best I found was Sigil. This is a free program for Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is very easy to use. It’s simple and works well. It even beats out paid programs like Adobe InDesign because that program requires a lot of levels of unnecessary complication.

Here are some basic steps to take:

1. Download the version of Sigil that you need for your computer.

2. Install.

3. Get the text of the publication that you will be working with (more on this below). Sigil can import TXT, HTML, and other EPUB files.

4. Read the Basic Tutorial. This is an excellent tutorial that shows you everything you need to know to get started. I recommend just following along with it and doing each step. After that you”ll be really familiar with the process and you can do more involved work with your ePub creations.

My Tips

Here are some things I think are important that aren’t covered in the basic tutorial in detail.

Margins: One thing that Sigil lacks is a built-in method for setting the margins of pages. There is a really easy solution, though. You can just add a line to the CSS in the code view. I’ve found that this works well:

body {padding: 3%;}

You can change the percentage to anything you like. Putting some padding around the edges really makes the book look more professional and easy to read.

ePub Viewers: The ePub files that I’ve created look really good in Adobe Digital Editions, which is Adobe’s ebook viewer. They also look good on my BeBook Neo, so I assume they will look fine on other similar e-readers. I put my ePubs on my iPhone and opened them with Bluefire Reader and they look good there as well. I tested my ePubls in Stanza’s desktop reader, and it is not smart enough to recognize Sigil’s page breaks and some of its formatting, so I don’t recommend using that program or other less-developed ePub viewers.

Page Breaks: This is covered in the tutorial but I just want to reiterate it. Sigil has an excellent little tool for creating page breaks. This can be used, for example, at the start of each Chapter. You just put your cursor above the Chapter title, and then click the button that looks like a curly “Ch”. Where you’ve created these breaks, the reader will see nicely formatted chapter beginnings that are separated from the end of the previous chapter.

What’s not mentioned in the tutorial is this: You can make global adjustments to your text before you split the pages, and then those adjustments will be included on every page without you having to edit every single page. For example: if you implement the margin CSS code that I mentioned above, you should do this before you start splitting up the page. Each new page you make via the Chapter break will inherit that CSS line that you added to the first one.

Text Prep: I recommend doing a lot of work on your text before you import it into Sigil. For example, if your source file is HTML, you can set Headings on each Chapter title (or section title or whathaveyou) in the HTML. You can prepare any other special formatting like italics, line breaks, indents, etc. That way if you lose your work in Sigil, or if you need to start over, you’ll have it all saved in your source file.

For everything else, you can just play around and see what you can learn. If you have any questions about using this program, feel free to leave a comment. I might know the answer (and might not!).

Where to Find Free eBooks

There are many places to find free ebook downloads online, but there are a few big, reliable, places where you can get a ton of free ebooks safely and easily. Here are my favorites:

Google Books

I recently wrote up an overview of how you can use the Google eBookStore. The ebooks come in PDF and EPUB for a variety of different devices with the Google Books app, or use on the web. Go directly to the free ebooks.

Free eBooks

eBookMall

eBookMall has a section devoted to free ebooks. All are ebook downloads that are totally free. It seems like some are only available for a limited time, as a promotional effort by authors or publishers.


Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has been around for a long time. They started with OCR scanning of public domain books into .txt files, and now they have available HTML, ePub, Kindle, and more.

Amazon Kindle Store

You can get a ton of ebooks for free from Amazon in Kindle format. Like the paid ebooks, you can use them on a Kindle device or in a Kindle app for your computer or other devices. Go to amazon.com/kindle-ebooks/ to get to the Kindle eBook Store, then find the Top 100 Free listing on the right side of the page, a little ways down.

Literature Project

These ebooks aren’t downloadable, but there is a nice selection of classic popular texts that you can read free online. Useful for school projects or study, if they have what you need.

BeBook eBooks

The BeBook store has 20,000 free classic titles available for download. The free ebooks come in plain text and PDF, and can be used on any computer or device.

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