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12 Best Places to Read Free Books Online

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Written by: Kate Starr

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12 Places to Read Free Books Online

The Library of Congress

If you’re looking to read free books online, you can consider the Library of Congress that is a research library serving the U.S. Congress.

It was founded by John Adams in 1800, The Library of Congress is also the official government library and one of the oldest.

Today the library hosts over 40 million catalogued books, over 70 million manuscripts, and print materials available in different languages.

Some items you’ll find in the digital library include cities and towns, civil war maps, and the Bain collection.

Typically, users must book an appointment to get into the physical library; however, you can access the digital library anywhere on the go.

After gaining access, you will find;

  • Recordings
  • Books
  • Photographs
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Newspapers

You can read some ancient titles. Such include the Notated Office book of Franciscan Sisters with Processional chant by the Catholic Church or Sixteenth-century manuscript part book fragments by the National Library of Medicine (U.S.).

The platform is user-friendly as materials are available in a simple HTML format. Therefore, you can view on your smartphone, PC, or tablet.


Smashwords is an online resource founded in 2008 and has a wide distribution of materials from publishers and authors.   

Over 100,000 authors circulate and distribute materials in Smashwords, which uses robust tools to publish and manage the library.

The Smashwords library enables you to access over 88,000 free publications available for readers and 575,000 paid ebooks.  

Some of the offerings on the platform are free and examples of e-book categories available include:

  • Adventure 
  • Business
  • Classics
  • Fairy tales
  • Literature
  • Holidays

To review the books, you must sign up with your email and accept terms and conditions. Once you’ve registered, you can read the e-books online or download them to devices such as iPhone, Barnes, Amazon Kindle, and Noble Nook.

free music

Google Books

Google Books is one of the most comprehensive online platforms with a list of extensive free textbooks from different scholars. 

This ebook platform is one of the largest, with over 10 million ebooks from famous authors such as; Alfred Lord Tennyson, Beatrix Potter, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

There is an excellent collection of free and public domain content where you can also find kids’ classic eBooks such as;

  • Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland
  • Wind in the Willows

The library allows users to read online and leave public or private reviews about books. Accessing the books is easy since you only need to type your favorite title on the Google search box and then, read online or add it to your library to read on a later date.


With over 1 million titles in various languages, 24Symbols is a great website to access online material at a low cost. 

This premium service costs $8.99 per month to access the titles on any device such as iOS, Kindle Fire and Android. There’s no commitment to pay, and you can cancel your subscription at any time.

You can find the following ebooks;

  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Historical Novel, Essay
  • Crime & Thriller

You can read many books online or download to read offline. 

Some of the most popular books include The Seduction, Nothing Can Hurt You, Old Love Good Girls, and Hell Hath No Fury by Michael Morgan.

free magazines

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a digital library that brings you tons of free eBooks from various genres ranging from top classics and bestsellers in different formats.

The platform has over 60,000 free e-books and kindles e-books which you can read online or download to your device. There are also some classic collections whose copyright has since expired. 

You’ll find any book through browsing by title, language, author, subject, and popularity ranked by the top 100. In addition, some offline catalogs exist, which include metadata and handy ebook listings. 

You can read ancient titles from historical authors such as Arthur John, Brown Francis, Shea John Gilmary and Hamsun Knut.

There is no registration to access the comprehensive collection, and you also don’t need apps to read.

Read recent books in Project Gutenberg; browse by title, language and author and get access to the top 100 titles from famous authors.

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Internet Archive

Internet Archive offers a well-organized non-profit American library that lets you find an ebook easily and quickly from your favorite author.

Here you can find print publications in various formats and languages, plus a bonus of movies, music, and software.

It has various subsections that include, American Archive, European libraries, Television archives, and public libraries of India. 

You don’t pay to access the books, which can filter by title, creator, and date published, after which you read the content on the web without the need to download.

Examples of textbooks you may find include;

  • Cusack’s Freehand Ornament
  • Italian CookBook

Additionally, the books are scanned and digitized into a simple interface for easy viewing on your devices.


BookRix is an online platform with e-books from various authors alongside free publications from the public domain. 

It’s a free service with a broad collection that lets you read or download free e-books to your browser or devices.

You’ll find different categories of e-books such as;

  • Fantasy books
  • Young adults,
  • Kids’ e-books
  • Fiction ebooks 
  • Thriller ebooks
  • Cinderella, 
  • Lost Love and Money
  • Romance ebooks from renowned authors

A plus feature is the e-book community, where you can discover new publications, download, suggest or review e-books with other fans.


BookBub offers free and less costly e-books featuring different genres and sends notifications to your email every day to promote new releases.

There are several categories such as;

  • Recommendations
  • Latest deals
  • Bestsellers
  • Christian fiction
  • Children

When you search any category, you can see a unique arrangement of e-books by title, genre, and author.

Other than new e-books, many classic categories are also included here, and you can find them in your favorite section. 

Here, you can find books such as An American Marriage, and Ghana Must Go, The Power of Habit, and Bringing down the Duke. 

Clicking on the book title opens up an HTML page for easy viewing and thus, the content is easier to load, and you can view it on a browser or mobile screen.


International Children’s Digital Library

International Children’s Digital Library, or ICDL, works in partnership with the University of Maryland and is an online platform that provides free e-books for children for over 20 years.

The site has various e-books written by many authors, and you can access thousands of books from self-published authors in different languages. 

You can find several children’s books from the following sections or categories: color, shape, format, genre, and character.

The ICDL is a non-governmental organization that encourages small kids worldwide to read books from educational, fiction, and children’s stories.

To access the materials you need to do the following;

  • Sign up then click on the shelves section to access the e-books. 
  • After you find the book you want to read and you may opt to read it online or download to your device.

ICDL categories

KidsChildren stories, fiction, adventure
EducationalMulticultural and multilingual school books


Wattpad is an e-book website that connects up to 80 million readers from across the globe. 

The website has various offers, including promoting paid stories; however, most of the content of the ebook is free and you must register and sign up to have full access to the site.

The Browse button is where to start, and here you can choose different genres and categories, including adventure, fiction, romance, urban, new adult, and werewolf. 

After selecting the book from the list provided, you can click on the cover, and once a pop-up bar appears, you can start reading.

Open Library

Open Library is one of the significant projects of the Internet Archive, whose primary focus is to collect library records and create a single web page for published goods. 

This internet resource is user-friendly and straightforward, and it’s easier to find free books more quickly. For instance, you can get access to documented editions by clicking on a particular book. 

Under the classic books category, you’ll find up to 3 million books that you can read for free. After finding your favorite book, you can now decide whether to download or read it online.


If you’d like to download free ebooks online to read offline, you can choose Authorama, a simple platform that delivers ebooks in simplified formats and instructions.

All the materials featured on the website, including book pages and illustrations, are in the public domain, and you don’t have to register or pay to access the books.

Here you can find a comprehensive list of fiction books from famous authors such as;

  • Charles Dickens
  • Francis Bacon
  • Mary Shelley

The platform is simple to navigate since the pages are digitally scanned into an HTML format, and thus you can view them even on mobile devices.

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Kate Starr


About the author:

Kate Starr is a personal finance, FinTech and MarTech writer. Her areas of expertise include making money, investing, and money management.

From earning money as a beginner entrepreneur to advanced investing in the stock market, Kate’s guides can help you to get more ideas on how to earn income online and increase your wealth.

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