Free eBooks and Audiobooks Online
Do you have an eReader or other device for downloading eBooks or audiobooks? You should know about MVLC Digital Downloads, where you can borrow library eBooks and audiobooks free of charge. Signing in with a Hamilton-Wenham library card lets you see and download special "Overdrive Advantage" titles: extra copies of books that the library has purchased for the use of Hamilton-Wenham patrons.
For an at-a-glance list of digital books with exclusively Hamilton-Wenham copies, click here.
But there are many other collections of free eBooks available, both through the library and on the internet at large, so here's a list:
- EBSCO eBooks and EBSCO Audiobooks, via the EBSCO Research Databases (library and at home), offers books across a range of topics. Type in your MVLC library card number
when accessing from outside the library. Once in, click "EBSCO Research Databases" to access the eBook and Audiobook databases.
- Safari Books Online (library and at home) is an on-demand, digital library that provides access to thousands of technology books by major IT (information technology) publishers, with coverage for the current and past two full calendar years. Type in your MVLC library card number
when accessing from outside the library.
- Project Gutenberg is the first and largest single collection of free electronic books online. It is based on a volunteer effort to digitize and archive books, with a focus on works in the public domain.
- Gutenberg's Audio Books Project also offers a smaller selection of human-read and computer-generated audiobooks.
- The Internet Archive offers a mammoth collection of media files, including film, text, and audio.
- The Internet Archive Text Archive contains a wide range of "fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books."
- Audio Books & Poetry contains collections from Project Gutenberg, Librivox, and other digitalized audiobook efforts.
- The Children's Library deserves special mention as a source of period-piece children's literature.
- Free NOOK Books from Barnes & Noble offers a selection of free eBooks in the EPUB format (not playable on Kindle ink-readers.)
- Amazon's Free eBooks: Collections page offers information about free eBooks from Amazon (playable on your Kindle device, or through Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac) and elsewhere online.
- The Polyglot Project enables learners to read classic works in their original languages and translate by highlighting the text. These eBooks must be read on the site itself, but this is a great resource for learning or practicing reading in a language other than your own.
- Folger Digital Texts is a phenomenal collection of "meticulously accurate texts" from Folger Shakespeare Library editions, the leading Shakespeare texts used in American classrooms. These are meant for reading on the site itself.
- Baen Free Library is a selection of eBooks offered, at no charge, by Baen Books, a science fiction and fantasy publishing house.
- Bartleby.com publishes classic reference, verse, fiction and nonfiction. These eBooks must be read on the site itself, but include classic texts that aren't always available elsewhere.
- For example, it replicates in entire the 51-volume "five-foot shelf" of Harvard Classics as orginally published.
- The Digital Reader is not a collection but an important online news and information source for eBooks and eReaders.