20 Best Free Online Libraries

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Books are a uniquely portable magic. – Stephen King

book is our friend

Reading offers numerous benefits, but the cost of new books can be prohibitive for many. Fortunately, there are numerous free online libraries that provide a wealth of ebooks at no cost. Here's a curated list of the top 20 online libraries where you can legally read and download ebooks for free.

1. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks. Most of the items in its collection are full texts of public domain books. The project tries to make these as free as possible, in long-lasting, open formats that can be used on almost any computer. Now Project Gutenberg offers over 59,000 free eBooks. You will find the world's great literature here.

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2. Questia

Questia is the premier online research and paper writing resource. Since its founding, Questia has helped students find and cite high-quality scholarly research. With an emphasis on subjects related to the humanities and social sciences, Questia provides the resources needed to complete for coursework. In 2010, Questia was acquired by Cengage Learning, the leading provider of research solutions for academic audiences worldwide. Since then, Questia's library has continued to grow.

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3. Open Library

Open Library is an initiative of the Internet Archive, a nonprofit organization. It is an online project intended to create "one web page for every book ever published". Open Library provides online access to many public domain and out-of-print books. Their ultimate goal is to make all the published works of humankind available to everyone in the world. And their hope is that libraries and individual book readers will join this project and together we can build towards universal access to all knowledge.

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Note: Not all of the books in Open Library can be viewed online. If you only see a "Borrow" button below one book, it means you can only view limited pages via the online browser, to view the entire book you must borrow and download Open Library files offline.

4. The Online Books Page

The Online Books Page is a website that facilitates access to books that are freely readable over the Internet. It also aims to encourage the development of such online books, for the benefit and edification of all. Now their local index includes more than 2 million works in various formats. All of the books they list are free for personal and noncommercial use.

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5. Read Print

Read Print is a free online library that provides thousands of free online books for students, teachers, and classic enthusiasts. The site has over 8,000 online books by 3,500 famous authors and members can create their own personal bookshelves with ratings and reviews and join reading groups that suit their interests. What’s more, Read Print is one of TIME magazine's 50 best websites of 2010.

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6. The Literature Network

The Literature Network offers searchable online literature for the student or enthusiast. To find the work you're looking for start by looking through the author index. They currently have over 3500 full books and over 4400 short stories and poems by over 260 authors. Their quotations database has over 8500 quotes, and their quiz system features over 340 quizzes. If you have a question about literature, you can ask it in their Literature Forums where thousands of members can answer your question.

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7. Classic Reader

Classic Reader offers thousands of free classic books, poems, plays and short stories from a wide range of authors spanning several centuries. You'll find authors such as Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, and many others. The Short Story section is the largest and fastest-growing section on ClassicReader.com. You can read the books for free online and even add your own annotations.

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8. Classic Bookshelf

The Classic Bookshelf is packed full of hundreds of readable classics. Enjoy all the books in plain web page format or use their clever reading applet making electronic reading almost effortless. You won't find The Lord Of The Rings or any Harry Potter books here. But you will find hundreds of timeless wonders from earlier years.

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9. Chest of Books

ChestofBooks.com presents free online books on various topics, like Art and Photography Books, Business books, Health and Healing Books, Craft and Hobby Books, etc. They have put a lot of effort into scanning, converting to text and proofreading the books just for your reading enjoyment.

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10. Public Bookshelf

PublicBookshelf is a platform bringing together quality authors and open-minded readers in a controlled environment where an exchange of ideas, creativity, and knowledge can happen. Their library will likely have something to suit you no matter your interests.

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11. Internet Archive

Internet Archive is the most extensive free online non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more. They provide people with universal access to all knowledge. The Internet Archive offers a wealth of free information, serves millions of people each day and is one of the top 300 websites in the world.

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12. Fiction.us

Fiction.us is a great place to find free online novels. Just as the name of the website tells, this site contains lots of fiction books including many award-winning books. Their books are split into chapters, so it's easy to remember where you left off. The site also offers poetry, plays and picture books.

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13. PublicLiterature.org

PublicLiterature.org showcases some of the greatest authors from around the world. Many high-profile authors use the PublicLiterature.org column to discuss their latest work, provide samples of their work such as poetry, excerpts from books and plays, and share their thoughts. Additionally, PublicLiterature.org provides a user-friendly interface to read books online. At the same time, it gives aspiring writers the opportunity to share their work with a wider audience.

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14. Authorama

Authorama features completely free books from a variety of different authors. And all the classic literature collected on this site, as well as illustrations within the book pages, are in the public domain.

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15. Page By Page Books

Page by Page Books is committed to bringing you a wide selection of the best public domain books available, all in an easy-to-read format. They have hundreds of classic books you can read right now, all absolutely free! It is an ideal way to expand your horizons, catch up on your reading list, or read books that it seems like everyone else has already read. All these classic books you can read now in their e-Library!

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16. Perseus Digital Library

The Perseus Hopper is an open-source project providing a suite of services for interacting with textual collections which cover the history, literature, and culture of the Greco-Roman world. Their mission is to help make the full record for humanity as intellectually accessible as possible to every human being, providing information adapted to as many linguistic and cultural backgrounds as possible.

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17. International Children's Digital Library

International Children's Digital Library is a non-profit corporation, which was initially created by an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Maryland in cooperation with the Internet Archive. The mission of the International Children's Digital Library is to prepare children for life in an ethnically and culturally diverse world by building the world's largest online multicultural repository of children's literature and offering free access to works from more than 42 countries.

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18. Biblomania

Bibliomania is the best-loved literature portal on the internet. It has won numerous awards, including being voted one of the top 300 websites in the World by Forbes magazine. It has thousands of e-books, poems, articles, short stories, and plays all of which are absolutely free. You can read the world's greatest fiction by authors such as Sherlock Holmes mysteries, and all Shakespeare's plays, or just dip into some short stories by writers such as Mark Twain.

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19. Bartleby

Bartleby is an academic library developed by Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. Great reference works, as well as historical and scientific texts, are available for free online from Bartleby. Current offerings on the Bartleby platform include Bartleby Textbook Solutions and Bartleby Writing. Its mission is to serve all who work to elevate their lives through education.

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20. LibriVox

LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet. The LibriVox objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. And LibriVox is closely affiliated with Project Gutenberg from where the project gets some of its texts, and the Internet Archive that hosts their offerings.

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From the above top 20 best free online libraries, you can find a comprehensive collection of free online books and thus create your own library of favorite books. Meanwhile, if you come across some other wonderful free online libraries, do share with us in the comment section.

There is no friend as loyal as a book. – Ernest Hemingway

book the loyal friend


crafts informative articles on eBooks and eReaders, uncovering optimal methods to enhance your eBook reading experience, and eagerly shares her findings with you.

08/3/2019 21:04:41

Century Past History Free Online Library, with 3 big collections:

1.  The 90-webpage Century Past Library has thousands of non-fiction books on dozens of subjects, which people can read online or download.   Most books were recommended in H.W. Wilson's Public Library Core Collection, widely used by librarians as a guide for purchasing.
             (paste into a browser)

2.  The 45-page collection History Resources has articles from magazines; podcasts; map and photo collections.  Despite the title, subjects extend beyond History.  
3.  History of the Great Lakes States has thousands of books and articles about 5 U.S. states in the Great Lakes region; Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Throughout the site, books and digital collections are hosted on servers at trusted sites such as Internet Archive,  HathiTrust.org, universities, and State historical societies.  Descriptions of most books are included.  Articles are generally hosted by HathiTrust or magazine publishers.
Everything is free of charge.   Nothing is being sold here, and there are no ads.   There is no registration to use the site, but if users want to use the recent books not yet in the public domain, they'll be asked by host Internet Archive to take a moment to set up a free account there.
I believe many of your website visitors will appreciate you introducing them to Century Past History with a link, or several, on your site.  I hope you have a few minutes to take a look and consider it.

Ted Lienhart

Twitter: @lienhart85

11/1/2019 18:40:08
i like spend my time on reading books
03/7/2020 21:38:29
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04/14/2020 10:53:52
I like to read the books
03/1/2021 05:45:49
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Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate it.

02/26/2022 16:20:22
Hi can you tell me how i can read books
06/12/2020 12:59:15
How can I borrow and read books I've chosen?
08/31/2020 23:43:43
i dont like to read that much
09/2/2020 16:02:50
Thank you so much for sharing.  Love to read.
12/31/2020 16:43:41
Dear Manager
01/9/2021 19:34:26


"There is no friend as loyal as your post"


01/11/2021 09:34:09
Thank you for your comments.
09/14/2021 03:36:42
I really want to read books
10/24/2021 21:24:27
Questia is going out of business and will no longer be available starting in Dec 2021.
01/30/2022 18:45:10
very  bad start
begging for everything
03/30/2022 14:39:12
i want to read your online free books because i can not afford  paid books thats way i join your website  
04/7/2022 03:34:32
z-lib.org : definitely should be on this list, has several million books and articles to choose from
07/18/2022 08:34:39
I would like to read detective novels
09/8/2022 08:55:03
None of these libraries have Wolf Girl 5 by Anh Do. Some of these libraries aren’t even real. They just show ads.
03/21/2023 01:14:15
05/17/2023 08:55:18
this did not help
05/22/2023 11:55:58
Thanks for your message. I'm sorry that this article can't help you. Could you please describe your question in detail so that we can help you easier? Thank you.
Best regards,
Epubor Team
02/25/2024 14:28:17
Free books?
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