If you are a parent of a school-age child or are a student yourself, you know how quickly you can burn through your bank account buying books. Whether it’s for required reading or reading for fun, children from preschool all the way up college will need a veritable mountain of books over the years.
With the popularity of ebooks in recent years, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of websites that offer students free alternatives to read online. But it can be overwhelming with the amount of content to decide which sites are the best or to know which ones are safe for younger students.
If you’re looking to save a few bucks and read some great classic literature, as well as up-and-coming new authors, look no further. Here is a roundup of the best online sites to read entire books for free.
*Bonus: College students can save money with free reading sites too. Many classics that are required reading can be found for free online!
Open Library is a nonprofit eBook lending library with a staggering 1 million titles. It is easy to navigate with advanced searches that allow you to search by genre, keyword, places, times, or author. This site has every imaginable genre as well, with a special section for K-12 students to search for books by grade or reading level. Books can also be read directly from the website or downloaded onto various devices with ePubs, PDF, or MOBI, to name a few.
Called a “library for the world’s children”, this site has hundreds of books and stories for children. The content is sorted by topic, genre, and book length, making it easy to find exactly what your child needs. Also impressive is this online library offers books in thirty different languages. Classics like the Wizard of Oz series and Peter Pan can be found here, among many other genres like poetry and nonfiction.
The Internet Archive boasts over 15 million books and stories to read online for free. All you need to access the archive is create a free account. Some books can be downloaded, while others must be borrowed, but either way, you’re reading for free! Classic as well as new titles are available as well, but new titles will require putting your name on a waitlist, as they are the most popular. There are titles here for all ages, but the interface can be a little cluttered and confusing. Be sure to choose “lending library” in the advanced search to filter out a lot of the randomness on this site.
This online reading site is a boon for students from elementary to college-age to find classics in over thirty different languages for free. With 60,000 ebook titles, there is no shortage of epubs and Kindle-compatible books to download. This site is easy to navigate, with a search bar to type in exactly what you’re looking for, or you can browse by most popular or alphabetically. Check back every now and then, as new titles are always being added as they enter the public domain.
This is a great source for students of all ages as well. If you search for “free books” or “free ebooks” in the Kindle Store, you will have thousands of books at your fingertips to read online for free. Amazon’s Best Sellers list is updated hourly with thousands of new titles as well. High school and college students can also access public domain classics here like Frankenstein and The Canterbury Tales. Search by genre, age, or author to find your perfect read.
This website is a little different than sites like Project Gutenberg, in that it has limited-time offers to get the latest ebooks for free from top-tier publishers and critically acclaimed new authors. Simply create a free account and put in your preferences. BookBub will curate a list of free (and discounted) books for you to read online, as well as bring up relevant best-selling authors for you to follow (Like Margaret Atwood or Gillian Flynn!). While the children’s lit section is a bit small, there is a huge selection of young adult and adult titles in every genre, with an especially notable sci-fi and fantasy section. This is great if you keep up with all the latest bestsellers in your favorite genre.
This site has over 50,000 titles to download, and their catalog is always expanding. This site is a good mix of public domain classics and a growing list of new authors as well. ManyBooks has works in over 30 languages and various formats in which to download.
A relative newcomer on the free reading sites list, Fictionate.Me is a website for readers to read for free and connect with self-published authors. This site also caters to those who love speculative fiction: fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, and all those subgenres in between. Another great feature of this website is that the books are audio enabled, so it’s great if you prefer listening to your books. If you type “free” into the search bar, it will bring up a list of free titles to enjoy.
A series of three apps, Overdrive allows readers to read or listen to thousands of titles for free. The app Libby connects to your local library’s collection of free eBooks and audiobooks. The Sora app connects to your child’s school, to access assigned books or books to read just for fun. The classic Overdrive app lets you borrow free content from hundreds of schools and libraries. The apps are available across operating systems, including iOS, Windows, Android, and Kindle Fire.
Librivox is a nonprofit volunteer project whose aim is to make books in the public domain available to read in audio format. Books are read and recorded by volunteers, so you can sign up to be a volunteer if you’d like to contribute to the project. You can search by title, author, genre/subject, or the many languages available. Check back often as they are always adding new titles.