DISCOVER | Books Online

The number of free books online has been growing dramatically! And you can read or listen to them on almost any device – desktop or laptop computer, mp3 player, smartphone, or tablet.

Most of these books are books that have come into the public domain – they are books whose copyright has expired and they may be freely read and distributed. Happily, several universities and web sites have begun to collect and organize these books and make them available in a way that is attractive and easy to use. In these collections, you’ll find many classic English novels as well as English translations of classic works from other languages by writers like Cervantes, Dostoevsky, Dumas, and Tolstoy.

Suggestions for using these collections

Many of you have read translations of classic literature in your language – when you attended university or perhaps even high school. If you did and you see books that you enjoyed in your language, start with them. Since you’ve already read them in your own language, they will be easier to understand when you read them in English.

If you’re not familiar with any of the books, let me suggest some writers for you to try. They are relatively easy and fun to read:

  • Jack London – Call of the Wild, White Fang
  • Robert Lewis Stevenson – Treasure Island
  • Arthur Conan Doyle – the Sherlock Holmes stories

Perhaps the best thing to do is to explore! Stop and sample anything that looks interesting. In the process, you may find your next favorite book!

Books, books, and more books! – read my introduction to – The best books at the best price: free!.

Lit2Go – Lit2Go was started several years ago by Florida’s Educational Technology Clearinghouse and the University of South Florida.

  • The best place to explore this attractive collection is at iTunes U, where you’ll find the audio files for the books.
  • If you find a book you’re interested in at iTunes U and want to read it, go to the Lit2Go web site to find the book’s text files. Most books are available in html so you can read them on your browser or pdf so you can download them.

Open Culture is the home of “the best free cultural and educational media on the web.”

  • Free ebooks – This collection features free e-books, mostly classics, that you can read on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. They provide an eBook primer to help you download the books to your computer or mobile device.
  • Free audiobooks – This collection features free audio books – fiction and non-fiction – as well as an extensive list of audio book podcast sites.

If you want to be informed about new additions to their collections, follow their RSS feed.

VOA Special English – The American Stories from VOA is a collection of short stories by American writers in simplified English. Highly recommended for intermediate English users. All of the stories include text and mp3 files for online listening or down-loading.

The Muse E-books Library is a smaller, newer collection. All of the books in the Muse E-books Library collection are available as pdf files.