Free Books

As of today, Google Book Search affords you the opportunity to read or even download the complete text of many out-of-copyright books, including Hamlet, Aesop’s Fables, the Inferno, and many more. Here’s the news on Google’s own blog. If you’re looking for a current book, and you also don’t want to pay a penny, you might consider Book Mooch. And if you’re wondering where to start with a new author, living or dead, you might check into Debbie’s Idea. I’m sure a lot of you who read this blog have other good information about online literature, so feel free to share in the comments. (For the discussion of related issues on this blog, see here.)


Rhea

Like most people, I need/want to save money. But I always feel uneasy about getting literature for free. The authors (unless they're dead) are cheated out of their book sales. It's true, I do borrow books from the library occasionally and sometimes from friends. But I try to buy books whenever I can. (Not that I don't think Google books isn't very intriguing.)

fallenposters

Thanks for the link to Debbie's Idea. I always have trouble figuring out which book to start with when I want to read a new author I haven't read before.

BTW, Freakonomics is recommended to start with for books by Stephen J. Dubner. But Turbulent Souls is a close second.

nphebel

Project Gutenberg has been offering free out-of-copyright ebooks for years.

www.gutenberg.org

Not a free lunch for me as paper and toner ink add up...

carty64

I have been going here for years. They seem to abide by all copyright laws so they don't have any works by authors who haven't been dead for 50 years, but they obviously have many classics.

jroane

Has anyone noticed there are almost no public domain literature from the 20th century? The current copyright laws are ridiculously long. Of course there is big money behind them but the public good is not being served, IMO.

turbosaab

Check out LibraryThing as well.

Freakonomics on LibraryThing

Blandy

jroane,

Copyright laws protect authors like a patent protects a researcher's idea. If the author did not have that guarentee that his/her book would not be copied, then they might not have written the book in the first place.

That said, 50 years after the author's death does seem a bit steep. But if that's the sort of incentive Levitt and Dubner need to write a sequel to Freakonomics, who's complaining?

jim_carson

Book Crossing (www.bookcrossing.com) also has an interesting "catch and release" model of sharing books.

- jim

tesslouise

I hadn't heard of Book Mooch, but www.frugalreader.com, www.paperbackswap.com, and www.titletrader.com are similar, popular sites (I belong to the first two and can vouch for them).

moonlighter

A great service from Google - even though, as pointed by nphebel, you spend on ink and paper - should you think of printing tehse out. But then don't we all spend at least something searching for, downloading and installing free stuff from the web?
At least for now, the real benefit of this service would be for free book lovers (complete download perhaps) as well as for rare book lovers (limited view) - who could buy the book from Noble / Amazon, etc.

etreslan

I am not keen on reading books on my computer. However, I would expect that are devices available which simulate the book reading experience that you can download these books to. Can anyone recommend something state-of-the-art for this Christmas?

renprelow

As a public librarian I am compelled to point out the obvious: Check out what is available at your local tax-supported institution! My own is located in a relatively small city and we have a relatively small budget (not that any public library has an enormous budget). However, we subscribe to and offer Web resources for readers and geneaologists, as well as databases containing full-text magazines, newspapers, and downloadable audiobooks. This is all available 24/7 through our Web site; you simply need to log in with your library card number for free access. Don't overlook what your local public library has to offer.

You can also stop in the building some time and ask a real-live librarian for reading suggestions (no, not the clerk behind the Check Out Desk; ask for the Librarian, a trained professional) or just check out a book (the clerk at the Check Out Desk can help you with that).

Read more...

drella

I know this is kind of besides the point, but along the lines of Debbie's Idea, I've always wanted a resource that would tell me which version or translation of a specific book was the best. Anybody know of anything along those lines?

tesslouise

re.: drella

The New Lifetime Reading Plan by Fadiman and Major should be at your local library. For the books they recommend, they recommend specific editions/translations (in the appendix).

PiensoLuegoExisto

In terms of developing countries, a new idea which is being floated around is using the wiki-approach to create text books for developing countries. More info at the below links:

http://www.newscientisttech.com/article.ns?id=dn9906&feedId=online-news_rss20

http://www.scidev.net/news/index.cfm?fuseaction=readnews&itemid=3077&language=1&utm_source=feed-1&utm_medium=rss

http://pienso.typepad.com/pienso/2006/09/free_wiki_textb.html

PiensoLuegoExisto

U Penn also makes a catolog of free online books available:

http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/

And here are some online econ and business text books:

http://www.businessbookmall.com/Free%20Business%20Books.htm

drella

thanks for the recommendation, tesslouise - I'll be sure to check it out.

Balesh

I did a quick search in google with 3 key words ( pdf freakonomics free) and got this link.. really freaked me out.

http://bsx.ru/~gong/freak/Steven.D.Levitt-and-Stephen.J.Dubner-Freakonomics.pdf

Sabrina

i really love this books. the funniest part was about the two brothers named winner and loser.

Rhea

Like most people, I need/want to save money. But I always feel uneasy about getting literature for free. The authors (unless they're dead) are cheated out of their book sales. It's true, I do borrow books from the library occasionally and sometimes from friends. But I try to buy books whenever I can. (Not that I don't think Google books isn't very intriguing.)