Load Up Your iPad with a Massive Library of Over 38,000 Free eBooks

Apr 5, 2012 - 7 Comments

Free eBooks for iPad

The iPad is a great device to read on, and if your digital library is feeling a little bare then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve found some of the best places to get free ebooks, ready to be downloaded and opened with iBooks on your shiny new iPad (or iPhone, iPod, Kindle, Nook, or Android, for that matter).

Free Ebook Downloads

  • Project Gutenberg Top 100 – Full of classics, if you’re only going to visit one source for free ebooks, Gutenberg should be it. They have over 38,000 free ebooks available, and their top 100 list is basically a mirror of the Western Canon of literature. Grab titles from the popular lists, and then search category or by your favorite author to load up on a nearly infinite amount of reading. Audiobooks are offered in some cases too.
  • Gutenberg Bookshelf by Category – Looking for books on a specific topic? This is the place to go. Sorted by alphabetical category.
  • Gutenberg Harvard Classics – A 51 volume anthology of world literature classics, this collection was created in 1909 to provide the core elements of a liberal arts education by reading just 15 minutes a day. Free is slightly cheaper than a Harvard education.

Gutenberg is probably the best source online, but other sites offer free ebooks too:

  • ManyBooks – Plenty of classics and a wide variety of formats
  • FreeKindleBooks – All in .mobi format, intended for Kindle
  • ePUbBooks – Free .epub ebooks, plenty of classics though most are also on Gutenberg
  • FeedBooks – Free books from the public domain, varying quality
  • SneeKidsBooks – A handful of childrens picture books like the Three Bears and Little Bo-peep

If you download the books onto a Mac or PC, emailing them to an iPad or iPhone is generally the easiest way to transfer them over quickly without syncing. From there they can be directly imported into iBooks or the Kindle app.

Know any other quality sources for free ebooks? Chime in the comments.


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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Fun, iPad


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  1. Sahadath Hossain says:

    This an awesome list, I am a eBooks lover and your list help me to read more eBooks.

  2. Another one worth looking at is Books Should Be Free, which has free audiobooks of titles in the public domain. These are Librivox recordings. Hours and hours of listening pleasure there, great for long commutes and other times when your ears are free but your eyes are otherwise occupied.

  3. Dave says:

    I have to second the suggestion to get eBook Search. The author states that easiest way the get free books onto your iBook app it to first get them on your computer and then email them. Not so, eBook Search will present you with a list of titles available on a site, give you a description of a selected title and then put it directly into iBooks.

    Gutenberg is great, but for syfi fans the would like to read something a little more modern than Wells or Verne, I recommend the Baen library. A number of current authors have made a few of their recent books available for free. Often they are the first book of a series, hoping to get you hooked. It has worked on me and I have found some great reads.

  4. The eBook Search app allows you to search for free books and open them in your reader of choice. It supports Gutenberg, Feedbooks, Smashwords, Baen, Internet Archive, and others.

    You can download it for free from the app store: http://itunes.apple.com/app/id416454511?mt=8.

  5. Tyler says:

    If you have a library card you can borrow books online too.


  6. Clasqm says:


    Not everything there is free, but a lot is.

  7. abacus rosse says:

    iBooks offers a large amount of high quality books as well. Tap Browse, tap “Free” tab to see.

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