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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sitting on a Gold Mine of Free eBooks

If you’ve discovered the joy of reading ebooks and are a lover of classic literature, perhaps you’ve already noticed the wealth of material in the public domain that’s out there, ready to download to your ereader or tablet at little or no cost. Many public domain works are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble for free or for a nominal fee. But there are other sources for free ebooks that you may keep, including your very own Roselle Public Library.

If you’re not familiar with the library’s ebook lending services, stop reading this now, and go here to find out more about our offerings: Downloadable Music, eBooks and eAudiobooks.

But if you're a veteran library ebook user, go ahead and log in to the eMedia Library. Once you are logged in, scroll down until you see the graphic that says “Additional eBooks Always Available;” click on it and you will be redirected to a searchable and browsable collection of public domain ebooks, in a variety of genres, all in the Adobe EPUB format. These are all books that once downloaded, are yours "forever."

eMedia Library Public Domain Collection
You needn’t be logged in to eMedia to take advantage of this resource; just click on the following link and you will be directed to the same catalog of public domain ebooks: Additional eBooks Always Available.

If you’re interested in finding more titles, and in formats other than EPUB, there are a few websites you might want to try, Manybooks.net, Project Gutenberg, and the Internet Archive—none of which charge for their services or require you to create an account of any kind.

Manybooks.net
Manybooks.net offers more than 29,000 free eBooks available for Kindle, Nook, iOS devices like iPad, and many other eReaders. Manybooks.net is searchable by author, title, genre, and spotlights new additions and recommendations from readers.

If you’re a fan of Mystery, Horror, or Science Fiction, there are many foundational texts of genre literature to be found here. For example, a search for Edgar Rice Burrough, yields a remarkable list of available titles, including his Princess of Mars series and many from Tarzan of the Apes. Edgar Rice Burroughs on Manybooks.net

Here are a couple of more examples:
Arthur Conan Doyle
Edgar Allan Poe

Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is perhaps the motherlode of free public domain ebooks with over 45,000 titles to choose from, and is the source of many of the digital files that other websites rely on to fill their catalogs. Project Gutenberg is a global volunteer initiative to digitize and archive the classics of world literature and encourage the distribution of ebooks.

If you'd like to browse their collection rather than search it, Project Gutenberg has created a simple "Bookshelf" system that allows the user to drill down into various categories and genres of book, sifting through the enormous amount of content in a simple, user-friendly way. Project Gutenberg Bookshelf

Curious about what other folks are downloading and reading? Check out the list of Project Gutenberg's "Top 100"

Internet Archive
Lastly, offering free ebooks and more, including streaming and downloadable audio and video, the Internet Archive, has over 6,000,000 public domain ebooks. More than just a browsable or searchable catalog, the Internet Archive is a portal to many sub-collections and partner websites brimming with free content, and is well-worth some time spent exploring its many corners.

One unusual example of downloadable content that the Internet Archive offers, is a collection of pulp fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. These magazines can be read online or downloaded and read on your computer, tablet, or ereader. The Pulp Magazine Archive

The Internet Archive is a treasure trove for fans of Old Time Radio (OTR). Here are just two examples of their massive OTR collection, available to stream or download:
The Shadow Radio Recordings
Jack Benny: The Jell-O Program

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