How to find free classic books online – Quartz

Add up all the textbooks and calculators college students have to buy, and September can be tough for American parents and their kids. While schools require the purchase of the latest editions of textbooks each year, parents can acquire books that never go out of date and cost next to nothing.

Many American and English literary works that are mandatory to read are available online. You also don’t need to know how to use torrents or hurt your eyes while reading badly scanned illegal PDFs; these books are legally available through publisher licenses. Here are some resources to find Kill a mockingbird, Gatsby the magnificent, 1984, Of mice and Men, Lord of the flies, and other commonly required reading free of charge:

Your library and a device

If you are not a member of a public library, join one. Many public libraries use OverDrive, an app that lets you borrow eBooks and audiobooks. Download OverDrive to a device or use the site on your computer’s browser and sign in with your library card number. You can also try Libby, an app recently released by OverDrive with the same features and better interface.

Availability depends on your branch, but there will be tons of classics. Some of the most popular may be on hold, but here are a few currently available in my libraries in New York and central New Jersey.

Available: Harper Lee’s Kill a mockingbird; Zora Neale Hurston Their eyes looked at God; Amy tan The Joy of Luck club; that of George Orwell 1984 and Farm animal; Toni Morrison Beloved and The bluest eye; Lois Lowry The donor; Style elements; that of William Golding Lord of flies; that of John Steinbeck Of mice and Men.

Gutenberg Project (Australia)

Project Gutenberg collects eBooks in the public domain in the United States. Its Australian counterpart does the same for public domain books in Australia, where the laws are more lax than in the United States.

Available on the US site: Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice and Emma; that of Charles Dickens A tale of two cities; that of Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; Leo Tolstoy War and peace; at Herman Melville Moby-dick; that of Franz Kafka Metamorphosis; that of James Joyce Odysseus; Beowulf; that of Oscar Wilde Photo by Dorian Gray; Herman Hesse Siddhartha; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein.

On the Australia site: George Orwell 1984 and Farm animal; Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, A room of your own, and Towards the lighthouse; Sinclair lewis It can’t happen here; that of Margaret Mitchell Blown away by the wind; F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby the magnificent and Tender is the night.

Open library

Internet Archive project, Open Library plans to catalog all existing books. A subset of the books in the database are available for free now; others that you can borrow after signing up on a waiting list. Below are a few of those that are always available.

Available: Leo Tolstoy Anna karenina; that of Joseph Conrad Heart of darkness; that of Henry James The portrait of a lady, the ambassadors, and Daisy miller; Edith wharton Ethan Frome; that of Jane Austen Persuasion and Sense and sensitivity.

For any work by Shakespeare

All of Shakespeare’s poems and plays are in the public domain. MIT has a complete database.

Available: Any written work.


Scribd is a subscription-based database of books and audiobooks, as well as articles from paid sites like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It costs $ 9 per month, but if you’re deadlocked for a book or two, you can get a 30-day free trial.

Available: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Gatsby the magnificent; Ray bradbury Fahrenheit 451; at Jack Kerouac On the road; at Aldous Huxley Brave New World; that of Margaret Atwood The Handmaid’s Tale; that of Ernest Hemingway For whom the bell rings and A farewell to arms.

google books

Google once had great ambitions for a massive digital library of all the world’s books, but has been defeated by copyright battles. If you choose “Free ebooks from Google”When you do a search, you may find a few that are old enough to be in the public domain.

Available: Emily Brontë’s The Wuthering Heights; that of George Eliot Walking middle; Dante’s Hell.

the Library of Congress website has some classics if you don’t mind reading right in your browser.

Available: Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of the Green Gables; that of Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; at Herman Melville Moby-dick.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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