Do you love to read but hate to walk or drive or rise from a prone position on your hammock? Well, if you have Internet access, you don’t have to! (Granted, if you only have a desktop computer, you’ll probably have to sit up.) With these 25 great sites, you have access to tens of thousands of books, plays, essays, poems and other written works in electronic form anytime for free! With the scanned documents, you can even enjoy the illustrations and the visual look and feel of the often historic works. The texts available are primarily older ones whose copyright protection has expired, and thus they’re now in the public domain, so don’t expect to find the latest Twilight book or anything like that. Still, there are plenty of cool e-books to explore — from Dracula to Alice in Wonderland — and plenty of useful stuff you’ll no doubt have to read at some point in an English class.
Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts: Collects several thousand texts, mostly from Project Gutenberg (see below).
Bartleby.com: Several hundred titles, featuring iconic texts like the Bible, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and Gray’s Anatomy.
Bibliomania: Over 5,000 books, poems, articles, short stories and plays.
Biodiversity Heritage Library: Over 10,000 titles from ten major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries and research institutions in an effort to digitize the “literature of biodiversity” held in their collections.
Bored.com: More than 10,000 e-books divided into a variety of subjects.
ChestofBooks.com: A large number of books in an assortment of categories, primarily focusing on non-fiction and reference works, including full scanned illustrations.
Classic Reader: As the name suggests, this site has over 3,000 classic works in e-book format.
The Free Library: Hundreds of classic books, plus millions of articles from periodicals.
FullBooks.com: Thousands of free e-versions of texts from around the world.
Google Books: Over seven million books are indexed on Google. Most allow only limited previews of the scanned content, but there are a significant number of full texts available, ranging from literature to cookbooks to poetry and textbooks.
International Children’s Digital Library: Over 2,000 scanned children’s book (including illustrations) in dozens of languages, sortable by age, book length and even the color of the cover.
Internet Archive: Over 1 million pieces contributed by libraries and other collections.
Just Free Books: A search engine the finds just free online texts.
KnowledgeRush.com: Several thousand texts, each available in one file or broken
LibriVox: Over 2,000 free audio books, available to listen online or to download.
The Literature Network: Around 3,000 books and 4,000 poems and short stories, plus biographical information on the major authors.
Page by Page Books: Several hundred books and stories, plus presidential inaugural addresses.
The Online Books Page: Links to over 35,000 books hosted on other sites.
Project Gutenberg: The original online collection of free electronic books, with almost 30,000 books on the site.
Read Books Online: Thousands of free e-works, from books to poems.
Read Print: Thousands of fiction and non-fiction books, plus plays, poetry, essays and short stories.
Universal Digital Library: Over 1 million works, ranging from the 1500s to the 21st century.
World Wide School: Over 2,000 e-books in a variety of subjects.
WOWIO: Using advertisers (“sponsors”) to cover the cost of the books, WOWIO is able to offer a range of works not available for free elsewhere, including comic books. Reading online is free, but downloading a PDF copy might incur a fee.