The Top 13 DRM-free eBook Sites

January 4, 2008 at 6:44 am | Posted in eBook | 56 Comments

The Top 13 DRM-free eBook SitesWith the holidays upon us, many of us can think of nothing better than curling up with a good book. Therefore I  thought it a good time to compile a list of the top DRM-free eBook sites. If you want to know what DRM is and why it’s bad when it comes to eBooks, see my previous post on The Perils of DRM-protected eBooks.

The following sites contain either completely free or DRM-free eBooks. Note that you may still be required to pay for a DRM-free eBook, although the cost is usually very reasonable, often around the price of a cup of coffee.

So without further ado…

UPDATE 5th November 2008 – I’ve created a new site called eBooks Just Published that announces new DRM-free ebook releases. Readers can subscribe using RSS or subscribe to a weekly email newsletter. The site is very new but I’m hoping to be able to announce at least one new ebook every day. Only completely DRM-free ebooks will ever be announced on the site.

1. Project Gutenburg

The grand-daddy of eBook collections, Project Gutenburg has over 20,000 free eBooks and contains classic works from authors such as William Shakespeare and Jane Austin.

2. Project Gutenburg Australia

A sister project to the main Project Gutenburg site, the Australian site has 1500 additional eBooks which are public domain in Australia (the works of authors who died before 1955). These may be still under copyright in your country, so check before you download them. The site also includes Australian literature, eBook reviews and various listings based on different categories such as children’s literature, classics, bestsellers, etc.

3. Manybooks.net

Another very large collection, sourced mainly from Project Gutenburg. There are some additional public domain and creative commons works from other sources. What Manybooks.net offers over Project Gutenburg is the ability to download the eBooks in a huge variety of formats suitable for display on a wide range of mobile devices. The site also receives several book reviews per day from readers.

4. Webscriptions and Baen Free Library

The most well-known Science Fiction collection around is the popular Baen Books. I’ve mentioned this site before this site before and I’ve found the books on this site to be of a very high standard.

The Baen Free Library mostly has starter books in a series and sample books for authors who have many other books for sale. These are offered for free to entice you to buy other books from the same authors.

Baen also runs the Webscriptions website, selling non-DRM e-books from over 200 SF and Fantasy authors. The e-book prices are extremely fair and well below paperback prices. Downloads are available in formats that cover all e-book readers. There is also a subscription model that offers a package of 5-7 novels per month.

5. Fictionwise

This site has both DRM-protected and DRM-free eBooks. DRM-free eBooks are listed as ‘Multiformat’ and it’s possible to restrict searching  and browsing to just Multiformat eBooks. This site is well laid out and easily searchable. For example you can browse a specific genre and sort by Bestseller or Most Highly rated.

6. Double Dragon Publishing

A small independent Canadian publisher, Double Dragon Publishing has over 500 eBook titles in various genres, including Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance. Most are priced at $5.99 but there’s a collection of 74 ‘Dollar Downloads’ which range in price from ‘free’ to $1.99.

7. Dr Who Classic Series

The BBC has made a number of rare and acclaimed Dr Who novels freely available. These can be read online or downloaded in PDF or the popular mobile formats.

8. BooksForABuck.com

This site has a good collection of very affordable eBooks but seems to have suffered from inflationary pressures as eBooks from BooksForABuck.com range in price from $1 to $3.99. Still you can’t really complain when you can buy an entire novel for the price of a cup of coffee. Each book is reviewed and also provides links to any external reviews. Many of the books allow you to read the first chapter for free.

9. Cory Doctorow

A science-fiction novelist who makes his novels available as free downloads at the same time as they go to print. All his books have received rave reviews.

10. Only-Free-Fiction.com

The URL says it all. Only-Free-Fiction.com has a good collection of free eBooks in various genres. Each book includes reader ratings and reviews.

11. Speculative Fiction Review

A publisher of science fiction, suspense, thrillers, topical and mixed-genre fiction, Speculative Fiction Review has a small but highly rated selection of eBooks in Adobe Acrobat format. None of their eBooks have any DRM.

12. iFiction

The iTunes of eBooks, iFiction allows you to read the first part of a novel for free and then you can pay a small amount (usually less than $1) to read the rest. It doesn’t have as many eBooks as iTunes has music tracks yet. The site is maintained by author Andrew Burt.

13. Steve Jordan Books

I’m currently reading and enjoying Steve Jordan’s latest novel ‘As the Mirror Cracks’. Steve Jordan is an author who publishes his own works in eBook format. His novels are $2.50 and he also has a number of short stories available for free.

UPDATE – A few great sites I missed the first time around

14. Free TechBooks.com

FreeTechBooks has a nice collection of free Computer Science, Mathematics and Computer Programming books.

15. Feedbooks.com

FeedBooks.com has a pleasant Web 2.0 look. One feature I like is the ability to browse books by publication date, so you can quickly find recent works.

16. MobileRead Forums

Check out the ‘eBook Uploads‘ forum group which has over 3000 hand-compiled eBooks available for download. MobileRead Forums is also a great place to find any eBook / Mobile reader related news and information.

Let me know of any great sources I’ve missed.

If you don’t like reading from a screen or just can’t be bothered, why not try converting your eBook from text to speech so that you can listen to it on your iPod or MP3 player. Check out this recent post 4 Quick Tips When Converting eBooks from Text to Speech

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56 Comments

  1. [...] I hope the same trend will occur with eBooks. In the meantime, there are a lot of great sources of DRM-free eBooks. [...]

  2. [...] For more great sources of eBooks, have a look at The Top 13 DRM-free eBook Sites. [...]

  3. [...] You may be able to find content from this list as well top 13 DRM Free eBook Sites [...]

  4. Baen’s Webscriptions service is only “subscription-like” in that they give phased early access to the books during the months before publication (first-half 2.5 months ahead; 3/4 of the book 1.5 months ahead; full book .5 months ahead). Once a month goes up, it’s permanently up in full. Webscriptions also sells single books and bundles of eBooks that aren’t part of Baen’s paper publication stream. Recent examples include Lee & Miller’s complete Liaden books, Niven & Pournelle’s complete CoDominium future history, a re-issue of all of A. Bertram Chandler’s ‘Grimes’ stories, and several others.

    You may also want to point out the existence of two DRM-free magazines from Baen: ‘Jim Baen’s Universe’ at http://www.baens-universe.com and ‘The Grantville Gazzette’ at http://www.grantvillegazette.com. JBU is now the highest paying market for SF and Fantasy short fiction. It’s published 6 times a year, packed with good stories (see earlier comment about highest paying market…), and is completely DRM-free. The Grantville Gazzette carries stories in Eric Flint’s ‘1632’ series. It’s a pro magazine (according to SFWA) that is published 6 times yearly, packed with good stories and fact articles, and is completely DRM-free. Back-issues of both are available.

    Btw… I’m not affiliated with Baen, the Grantville Gazzette, or JBU in any way (except as a satisfied customer). Did I remember to mention that all their books and magazines are completely DRM free?

  5. Thanks for sharing these ipod thoughts. I’m bookmarking this for future reference.
    The new features may satisfy almost all requirements and may meet almost all expectations. Digital entertainment, the superior quality of the sound, the best technology in MP3 domain, great battery life and huge memory are only few features that are worth being mentioned.
    I am currently on holiday so, for this reason, I’ve nothing better to do than surf the web for ipod music, lie around and update my blog. Well, more or less anyway.
    Doug C

  6. [...] Leaves Town eBook Review January 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm | In eBook | During my recent search for DRM-free eBook sites, I discovered Cory Doctorow and thought I’d try his most recent novel. As always, I used [...]

  7. enjoy it

  8. Great post thanks dude :)

  9. another good ebook site, only thing is……..some ebooks are commerical

    you can even submit your ebook to them and make money

    http://www.vooba-ebooks.com

  10. [...] your favorite books for free and upload them to your laptop, iPod Classic, or iPod Touch. Here are 13 great sources for free [...]

  11. [...] Books – They take up space and weight and are only good until you’ve read them. Another good reason to bring a laptop is you can download any number of eBooks (and many of the classics are free). [...]

  12. [...] free eBooks instead and stick to a single carry [...]

  13. [...] that publishing an annoucement on a site. I also have a steady stream of readers who visit my post The Top 13 DRM-free eBook Sites on the Text2Go blog who I can direct over [...]

  14. the ebook library, over 10,000 e-books are waiting for your reading.

  15. Ready for an ebook and reader?…

    The Amazon Kindle version 2 is out and appears to be an improvement over the first version.  However, it is still quite expensive.  It’s cousin, the Sony ereader is a little less but still within the price range of a Netbook which, in my opinion, …

  16. Thank you for the excellent list! (Please correct the spelling of Jane Austen’s name in the paragraph about Project Gutenberg.) :)

  17. This is an excellent list! Do you think you could add Free Book Quest to it? I like that site too.

  18. Ignore the poster about ebooks.com, it is completely full of bad bad drm crap.

  19. [...] The Top 13 DRM-free eBook Sites at Text2Go was of some help in compiling my list; there are a couple that I would have overlooked. [...]

  20. [...] for DRM-free science fiction suggested by the BoingBoing community with the excellent “13 DRM-free ebook sites” resource by Mark Gladding at Text2Go [...]

  21. [...] The Top 13 DRM-free eBook Sites « Text2Go Blog Interesting list of good DRM-free eBook sites. Since we'll be heading off on a three month sabbatical next year and I read voraciously when on holiday (on average 2 books per day!) I'm thinking I'll need to invest in some sort of reader closer to the time. (tags: drm ebooks free) Posted by delicious @ 11:02 PM on September 06, 2009 Permalink [...]

  22. AKW Books (akwbooks.com) publishes DRM-free eBooks in all genres, both fiction and non-fiction (no porn or erotica). Writing quality is comparable to paper books by the big NY publishing houses.

    Prices generally vary around $4 depending upon value and length. Free Book Club discounts are available starting at 10%. Club members receive a monthly newsletter with additional discounts.

    We currently publish in five formats: ePub, Microsoft’s LIT, MobiPocket’s prc, unprotected Kindle, and Adobe’s PDF.

    New feature: Free samples available in PDF format for many of the books.

  23. http://www.sharingebooks.com offers free ebooks as well as audio books for you to share, and lets you trade yours for others you may want to read.

  24. Fantasy readers might like to know that I do not put DRM on any of my fantasy novels found at http://www.braveluck.com. The first novel is completely free. 7 formats including epub available.

  25. [...] This list is impressive and also leads to cheap sources for ebooks, too. I’m perfectly happy paying for ebooks (just like real books), though I’m not at all happy about paying more than the paperback price for an older book. [...]

  26. DRM free ebooks are good but just getting tons of free ebooks without paying is great check out http://www.samsfreeebooks.com for a list of free ebook websites

  27. It’s nice getting free eBooks, but in many (most?) cases, you get exactly what you paid for. The big exception is classics that are out of copyright, like the ones on Project Gutenberg.

    You can still get fine books at a good price if you look around for eBooks that have been published by a real-live (not fake), selective publisher or from a known author who’s gone out on his own (and that’s starting to happen, especially with some mid-list authors).

    Amazon is coming up with a new rate schedule that encourages publishers to cap their prices at $9.99. We at AKW Books try to undersell the average Amazon price (based on book size) by at least 15% (and keep ours DRM-free) and I’ll bet a lot more small publishers and sales outlets will also try to compete on price.

    With the advent of the iPad and Apple’s iBookstore along with the coming of the new Google bookstore this summer, the competition for the eBook reader’s dollar will definitely heat up.

    The advantage of going with a selective publisher or a known author is that you’re more likely to get quality writing, unlike some self-publishers who are there because they can’t find a publisher who will put up with sub-standard work (note: not all self-published authors are lousy writers; some prefer to keep all the net proceeds themselves rather than share with a publisher).

  28. This e-book and its incredible bonuses will teach you exactly what Barnsley did to make herself mentally, spiritually, and financially ready to launch her dream business and craft a lifestyle she loves.

  29. Thanks, very userful! ;)
    And another site: http://ebook68.com – more than 45.000 (up to now) ebooks, update daily.

  30. elektroniczne książki…

    FREE Copy of the Best Self Help Book of the Year! I’ m kicking off the launch of my new video blog at drjohnsblog. wordpress. com. And to make the announcement fun for all, I thought I’ d offer a FREE copy of my book Guide To Self: The Beginner’ s Guid…

  31. O’Reilly Books are DRM free!!

    http://oreilly.com

  32. Hey I just launched a new website – be kind and check it out! http://www.ipadebookstore.com.au/

    ps this site is great I’ve saved as a favourite for future reference. – Great job!

  33. http://ebooklink.net is the best free ebooks download site.
    300k ebooks, 500 categories.

  34. good post ,thanks

  35. Fellow eBook lovers; you may be interested in a new site offering top quality eBooks in both ePub and Kindle format at a mere faction of the cost with the likes of Amazon, iBooks and B&N stores. Why not check them out and see for yourselves. Happy reading…

    TheBookWorm
    SmartBookWorms

  36. Item #4 should read:
    4. Webscriptions and Baen Free Library

    The most well-known Science Fiction collection around is the popular Baen Books. I’ve mentioned this site before and I’ve found the books on this site to be of a very high standard.

    The Baen Free Library mostly has starter books in a series and sample books for authors who have many other books for sale. These are offered for free to entice you to buy other books from the same authors.

    Baen also runs the Webscriptions website, selling non-DRM e-books from over 200 SF and Fantasy authors. The e-book prices are extremely fair and well below paperback prices. Downloads are available in formats that cover all e-book readers. There is also a subscription model that offers a package of 5-7 novels per month.

    http://www.webscription.net/

    • Thanks Ed. I’ve updated the post.

  37. Hey guys, nice to be here! I love blog.text2go.com!

  38. Great Collection! I would also like to recommend http://myfree-ebooks.org it’s a relatively new site but already has thousands of good quality eBooks available to download for free. The site also has a user friendly design which is very easy to navigate.

  39. thank you.. great ebook collection…

  40. nice post shared. thanks

  41. Another free ebooks library: http://www.digilibraries.com
    Over 20’000 eBooks…

  42. I think that the Kindle is still the best ebook reader android out there.

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  45. Always refreshing to hear a rtaoinal answer.

  46. I think there are a lot of free ebooks out there… gotta find ‘em!

  47. One more site for good downloading e-books is http://freebookgroup.com
    Thanks for good list

  48. Buy Ebooks Online is DRM free also

    http://www.buy-e-books-online.com

  49. http://ebooks-file.tk/

    The BEst site with ebooks, i use it and i am happy ;)

  50. I quite like reading through an article that will make men and women think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  51. i just came across this awesome blog where u can download free ebooks novels4you.blogspot.c
    om

  52. Here’s a book that helps you stay focused on the meaning of Christmas throughout the busy holiday season. The original version sold over 30,000 copies. The second edition was just released on the Kindle and it’s being offered free from November 17 to November 21. http://amzn.to/Q4XLtu

  53. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive read anything like this before. So good to seek out any individual with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this website is something that’s wanted on the net, somebody with a bit originality. helpful job for bringing something new to the internet!

  54. Hi guys! You can also download unlimited ebooks here at http://wowcheapbooks.com for free! Yes you heard it right! I already download ebooks from there so enjoy!

  55. Thanks Deron, but where do I get access to? How many free ebooks are available at wowcheapbooks? At http://www.ebooks-forfree.com I can at least see how many free ebooks several sites have.


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