We truly are living in a golden age for voracious readers. Countless websites feature e-libraries that contain thousands of novels. However, a lot of these book websites cost money. And many of the free ones require you to create an account. Luckily for you, there are plenty of places out there where you can read books for free online without having to sign up for an account. Here are 10 of the best ones, along with some book recommendations to get you started.
If you’ve been searching for free books online, odds are that you have already come across Project Gutenberg. With a library of over 60,000 public domain ebooks, you’re sure to find something interesting. You can read in your browser or download in formats like EPUB and Kindle.
Here are some of the free classic books you can enjoy on Project Gutenberg:
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
2) Google Books
Google Books is another place where you can read public domain books for free. All you need to do is type in the title of whichever book you’re looking for in the search field. To get results where you can read the full book, just check “Full view” at the top of the search results. Then you can read the book in your browser or download a PDF.
Here are some of the free classic books you can enjoy on Google Books:
- Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
- Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Internet Archive proclaims itself to be a “non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more”. You’ll find mostly classic works in the public domain here as well. Just enter the title of whatever you’re looking for in the search field on the main page and make sure to check “texts” under “Media type” on the left sidebar. A fun bonus with this site is that the books are virtual copies of the physical ones, so you can flip through the pages and enjoy a novel’s original illustrations.
Here are some of the free classic books you can enjoy on Internet Archive:
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Like Internet Archive, the Library of Congress is a digital library where you can peruse virtual versions of classic books in the public domain. In addition to ebooks, the site features audio recordings, films, maps, notated music, and more. To search for a particular novel, just type in the title you’re looking for in the search field on the upper right. For those books with tiny fonts, the site’s online reader will allow you to zoom in and out.
Here are some of the free classic books you can enjoy in the Library of Congress:
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- White Fang by Jack London
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
ReadCentral has a library of over 5,000 online books, as well as several thousand quotes and poems. The site also features several fun book quizzes and puzzles. To find a book to read, you can get ideas from the Most Popular Authors and Most Popular Books lists on the site’s main page. If you have a particular book in mind, just enter the title into the search field on the upper right.
Here are some of the free classic books you can enjoy on ReadCentral:
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
ManyBooks has a lovely and easy-to-use interface, which makes perusing through its 50,000 free ebooks a breeze. Some of the categories on the main page are Romance, Action & Adventure, and Mystery & Thriller. While many of the titles you can read on the site are public domain, there are several novels by up-and-coming indie authors as well (mostly romance).
Here are some of the free books you can enjoy on ManyBooks:
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
- Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Healing Her Heart (Crystal Lake Series Book 1) by Laura Scott
PublicBookshelf is another e-library that offers up a mix of public domain and indie titles. While ManyBooks features an array of genres, PublicBookshelf focuses solely on subgenres of romance. So if you are a lover of love stories, this is the book website for you. A few of the categories of romance include Historical Romance, Vampire Romance, and Western Romance.
Here are some of the free romances you can enjoy on PublicBookshelf:
- Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
- Where the Wild Horses Run by Mary Blair
- Flame Of Love by Sinduja Nareshkumar
The classics are great, but if you’re craving a contemporary read, never fear! There are quite a few sites that offer contemporary books for free without asking you to go through the hassle of signing up for an account. BookRix is a self-publishing platform that offers many genres like fantasy, romance, thriller, and science fiction—though romance is the most popular genre on the site. To find a book, just go to the “Books” tab at the top and make sure to select the “Free eBooks (BookRix only)” button at the top.
Here are some of the free novels you can enjoy on Book Rix:
- A Howl In The Night by Lorelei Sutton
- Arranged by Katy Wong
- My Sophomore Year by Katie Such
Launched in 2008, Smashwords is one of the oldest and most popular self-publishing platforms on the scene. Here you’ll be exposed to indie authors you won’t find elsewhere, all for free. To find free books, you just have to be sure that you click the “Free” button at the top of the main page. You can also search by length, so whether you’re looking for a short read or a long epic fantasy, Smashwords will have you covered.
Here are some of the free stories you can enjoy on Smashwords:
- Fighting Destiny (The Fae Chronicles, Book 1) by Amelia Hutchins
- First Strike (The Kurgan War, Book 1) by Richard Turner
- Darkness Of Light (Darkness Series #1) by Stacey Marie Brown
Fictionate.Me is the new kid on the block when it comes to fiction platforms, which means you’ll get the chance to discover new talent before anyone else. The site offers novels and stories in many genres but those that fall under the umbrella of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.) prove most popular. Some titles are 100% for free, while others offer a hefty free sample and tend to cost $0.99-$2.99.
Here are some stories you can read partially or entirely for free on Fictionate.Me:
- Light & Darkness: Book 1 by Katherine Monroe
- Duel by Kenath Moffat
- Haven – a litRPG by Kate Seger
Author’s Bio:- Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jillian has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.
She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jillian has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).
Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.
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