6 Great Websites to Find Public Domain eBooks and Audiobooks | Wender Mind Kids

An Amazon Kindle

With the cost of living crisis currently affecting everyone’s finances, many are cutting back on entertainment. With the wide range of public domain ebooks and audiobooks available to download for free, it doesn’t have to be like we’re holding back from reading or listening. With this list, I want to point you to the very best websites for literary content in the public domain, so you don’t have to start from scratch!

Before we continue, most websites host books that are in the US public domain. Public domain rules vary from country to country. So be sure to check the rules in your country before downloading any material so you don’t break the law. For example in the UK you would ensure that the author and any translators or illustrators died more than 70 calendar years ago. Let’s say an author died in 1850 but the book’s translator didn’t die until 1965. You would add 71 years (the extra year takes you to the end of the calendar) to check if the work is already in the public domain; The result is 2036, so you would have to wait until January 1st, 2036 before downloading this title in the UK.

1. Standard e-books

The first place to look for something to read is in standard ebooks. It’s a relatively new site, only going online in 2015, but as of this month, the site hosts over 680 well-done ebooks. The community follows “rigorous and modern” rules when designing their books to ensure they look professional and consistent.

Aside from beautifully designed e-books, the site has moderately powerful search tools to help you refine search results, provides word counts and book ease of reading ratings, provides a brief description of the book, and provides downloads in a number of formats including epub Available , azw3, kepub and enhanced epub. If you want to preview a book before downloading it, you have the option to read it online. Visit Standard eBooks.

A screenshot of the Standard Ebooks website

2. LibriVox

While some prefer to read their books, others prefer to listen to an audio book on the way to work or in the gym. Just as there are public domain e-books that are freely available, there are also public domain audio books. The most popular place to find these is on a website called LibriVox, where you can volunteer to read books or just go to the catalog to find something to listen to.

To start, you can browse the catalog by author, title, genre, or language. If you already know a book you want to search for, just enter the title in the search bar. Once you’ve found something that interests you, you have several download options. You can download a zip file of the entire book via direct download or torrent, subscribe to the audiobook and listen to individual chapters on iTunes, or add the RSS feed to your favorite podcasting app. Alternatively, you can press the play button next to each of the chapters to listen to them in your web browser.

Because these audiobooks are voluntarily contributed by members of the LibriVox community, readings vary widely, but most are of acceptable quality. For some books, especially popular ones such as pride and prejudice, several renderings are available so you can find one you like the most. Visit LibriVox.

A screenshot of the LibriVox website

3. Project Gutenberg

Next on the list is Project Gutenberg, named after the inventor of the movable type printing press, Johannes Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg has a massive library of over 60,000 free e-books, and you’ll find many are well-designed and easily transferrable to your e-reader. Books on this site can be read online (then saved as a PDF) or downloaded in e-book formats including epub and mobi. Some titles are also available directly as a PDF or as a plain text file.

The reason for including this site in the list is because of the amount of content available. If you don’t care too much about the quality of the formatting, this site is great. Unfortunately, not all books are well formatted, so you might encounter quirks such as B. Unavailable chapters or some parts of the text that don’t use the best fonts for the job. Visit Project Gutenberg.

A screenshot of the Project Gutenberg website

4. Internet Archive

Another site I like for quantity over quality is Internet Archive. Most of you reading this will have heard of this website’s Wayback Machine and have used it to view websites as they looked in the past, but it is also home to an enormous collection of books, videos, music and software. These can be called up using the search function. To limit your search to books, make sure you check “Lyrics” in the “Media Type” section of the sidebar.

The main downside of this website is that many of the books are PDFs and not e-book formats. If an e-book format is available for download, the quality may not be the best. However, if the other recommendations don’t include a book you’re looking for, Internet Archive may have a copy. Visit the Internet Archive.

A screenshot of the Internet Archive website

5. Global Gray

Returning to sites with smaller, higher quality collections, we come to Global Grey. This website – run by a woman – offers 2,000 free e-books covering everything from classical literature, the occult, psychology, folklore and much more. You can find books by category, recently added, by author, by book series, and by reading list. Books on this site have custom covers similar to standard ebooks and can be downloaded as pdf, epub, mobi, or azw3. If you don’t want to download them, you can read them online.

A nice bonus of this website is the ability to buy collections of books. The money you pay goes towards maintaining the site and the creator’s work, and you get various collections of books in all their formats. Some of the collections include Ancient Civilizations Collection, Children’s Literature Collection, History Collection, Poetry Collection, Philosophy Collection, Religion Collection and some more. Visit Global Grey.

A screenshot of the Global Gray books page

6. Sticmann Ink Homeschool Collection

The final entry on this list is Sticmann Ink’s homeschool collection of e-books. To give a bit of context, these books appear in a homeschool curriculum called Ambleside Online. The person who put these books together took most of the titles from Gutenberg and cleaned up the formatting to make them easier to read. I also remember at least one title on this list that wasn’t available as an e-book elsewhere, despite being in the public domain.

This list contains many amazing books in both azw3 and epub format, ranging from high quality children’s books to those suitable for teens and adults. They are grouped by the school years in which they appear on Ambleside Online and this can be used to gauge how difficult they are to read. Because they are designed for a curriculum, these titles are particularly appropriate for children. Visit the Sticmann Ink Homeschool Collection.

A screenshot of the Sticmann Ink blog


Hopefully these sites give you a good place to start looking for ebooks in the public domain. The easiest way to read the titles, in my opinion, is to download the epub files and read them on Google Play Books or Apple’s iBooks. If you’d rather read them on your computer or e-reader, then be sure to check out the very powerful Caliber book management software, available for free for Windows, macOS, and Linux.

If you’re not looking for a classic right now, be sure to check out Neowin’s sponsored e-book offerings, which are also available for free.