Learn how to download tens of thousands of classic books for free, and read them on any or all of your devices with these top tips.
Books are protected by copyright, but once this copyright lapses, they belong to the public domain. Project Gutenberg is a not-for-profit organisation that digitises books that belong to the public domain. So rather than paying for classics, you can download them for free.
There are over 100,000 books available from Gutenberg and its partners, but as copyright laws change from country to country, you may want to check to see what is legal to download. In Australia, books generally enter the public domain if the author died before 1955, which means there are some great classics available from the Australian Gutenberg site that you can’t find elsewhere.
Try visiting this page if you’re not sure how to get your ebooks onto your ereader or smart device, or scroll down for some simple ways to get started on your smartphone or tablet.
A great program for reading ebooks on PC and Mac, Calibre has plenty of additional features, including library management tools and ebook conversion tools.
Library management will help you keep track of all your ebooks, so if you buy or download ebooks from different sellers,want to buy a new ereader or read on a different device, Calibre will have you covered. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to buy an ebook twice.
You may not know it, but ebooksare created in dozens of different formats. And this can cause problems, as some devices may not be able to read every format. Using Calibre, you can convert ebooks to different formats and even increase the font size.
Managing ebooks on your smartphone can get tricky, because each app wants you to purchase ebooks from its store and nowhere else. If you want access to thousands of free classics without any hassle, these free apps can help you out.
iPhone and iPad
‘Free Books – 23,469 Classics To Go – The Ultimate Ebooks And Audiobooks Library In Your Pocket’ is an app that might not have the catchiest name but it has some great features, such as, you guessed it, 23,469 free books to download. Also included is a great night reading mode and a convenient dictionary tool for looking up words instantly. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay to download audiobooks with this app, with a $4.99 fee granting access to 4727 audiobooks.
Oodles is a free app that has a selection of over 50,000 free ebooks to download. With some other great features that make reading on a screen more pleasant, such as resizable text and adjustable brightness, it’s the best choice for Android.
Do you read ebooks? Let us know your favourite classics in the comments below, or get chatting in The Book Club.