I know that the summer, a time in particular where people take time to read, is just about done, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop reading! Heck, when Hurricane Irene hit my neck of the woods and power was out, just about all I could do was read. Plus, winter is right around the corner, and what better thing to do to pass the time than read (when you’re not shoveling snow)? With all of that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 12+ websites and eBook stores to help you find whatever book it is you’re looking to read.
Kicking off the list is my personal favorite, the Amazon Kindle Store. With the ability to read Kindle books on your Kindle, Android device, iOS, device, or even on the web itself, chances are if you get a hold of a Kindle book, you’ll be able to read it. On top of nearly a million books, newspapers, and blogs it has to offer, Amazon also runs a daily book deal for the Kindle, where you can grab a new book everyday on the cheap (like 80% off!). They also regularly feature a number of free eBooks as well. Finally, there is also Kindle.Amazon.com, where you can see other people’s reading lists, read reviews, see what books are trending, and more. The Amazon Kindle Store is perfect for the avid book reader.
Another eBook store that’s not tethered to any particular device is the Google ebookstore. Purchasing a book from here will allow you to read the book on the web, or on any device that has the Google Books app, which includes Android and iOS, as well as the iriver Story, the first eReader integrating Google eBooks. The Google ebookstore also integrates directly into the Android market, so you can purchase and download ebooks right from your Android device, and manage your book purchases in the same place as your apps.
Project Gutenberg is an awesome website that offers over 36,000 eBooks for free (!) in several formats including: ePub (works on iOS and Android), Kindle, text, and HTML. The reason they can offer so many books for free is because the copyright has run out for the books they offer, making them public domain. The site is totally free to use and is able to do what it does because of an open source-like community that makes donations, digitizes books, records audio eBooks, and more. Some of the books you’ll find totally free from Project Gutenberg include: War and Peace, Ben Franklin’s Autobiography, Frankenstein, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice and much more. You can see the most popular ones here. My only complaint about Project Gutenberg is the website’s design, which could use some work.
ManyBooks.net is a lot like Project Gutenberg, and even includes most of Project Gutenberg’s current catalog in its own. Boasting over 29,000 free eBooks to choose from (and a nicer design), you can find books by author, title, genre, and language. While Project Gutenberg’s search functionality is a bit better, ManyBooks.net offers a lot more formats. You can download each book in all of the formats Project Gutenberg has to offer, as well as .zip, PDF, Plucker, Rocketbook, and more. They also have a New area and a Recommended area in case you need some help deciding what to read.
Byliner is a cool little indy publishing company and social network that allows you to read, discover, and share books. It will publish excerpts (organized by title or author) from books and short stories, and then link to the site where you can read or purchase the full text. You can also follow authors, as well as read exclusive content, which they call Byliner Originals.
Social reading site and publishing company Scribd allows any user to upload documents for the world to read. Their store allows people to purchase chosen documents to read on Scribd, download, print, or send to a mobile device. The site is pretty ambiguous about the available formats, but from what I gathered you can definitely get PDF, text, and whatever format the book was uploaded in.
Lulu is a great self-publishing site for individuals looking to get their book on the proverbial shelves. While their store offer books primarily in print, authors also have the option of offering an eBook for users to buy, all of which are located in this section of the site. It looks like the eBooks are available in PDF only.
As a web developer and programmer I love the O’Reilly books; they’ve taught me so much! With the O’Reilly Open Feedback Publishing System (OFPS) for short, you’re privy to the latest O’Reilly manuscripts before they hit the shelves. These are works-in-progress and the purpose of the project is to garner feedback from readers before they send the book to print. You can also purchase early releases of certain books as eBooks (PDF).
Safari is a publisher that brings us books from Addison Wesley, O’Reilly, New Riders, and more. With Safari Books Online, you can pay for a monthly subscription (either $27.99 or $42.99 USD) to access all of their books online, read drafts of upcoming books, download up to 5 eBooks a month (as PDFs), and get discounts on printed copies.
As the publishing arm of esteemed web development outlet Happy Cog, A Book Apart offers “brief books for people who make websites.” Since they are relatively, new they have a catalog of 5 [original] books, which they offer in print and as eBooks. The eBook are all offered in ePub, MOBI, and PDF. You can also buy a print and eBook package as at discounted rate, which I think is something more book sellers should do.
Read Individual Books Online Only
A lot of publishers are taking advantage of the fact that the web is available almost anywhere on almost any device (seriously, I get it on my TV) by making their books available as websites. This is especially fantastic for people who have tablets. Below is a short list of some tech and business online eBooks:
Online doesn’t necessarily mean online only. A quick Google search will tell you how to access websites while offline.
- Dive into HTML5
- Mobile Design and Development
- Designing for the Web
- Learn to Program
- Getting Real
- The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web
- Stackoverflow’s list of freely available programming books
Make sure to leave your favorites in the comments!
On top of buying and downloading eBooks, there are a ton of sites out there to aid in book discovery. I’ve decided to highlight two of the best sites here.
GoodReads is a free website for book lovers that allows you to read and write book reviews, create your own bookshelf of books you’ve read, are reading, or plan to read, and view other people’s bookshelves. On top of that, you can join discussion boards, start a book club, and more. This site is great for people looking to discover new books to read, electronic or otherwise.
Readernaut is a social network for readers I covered here back in May. The site allows you to add your own books, follow friends to see what they are reading, and post quotes, excerpts, reviews, and your progress on what you’re currently reading. This site really works well if you have more friends on it, as you can start book discussions, make recommendations to each other, and more.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to find new eBooks to read in whatever format you prefer. With the Kindle Store, Google ebookstore, Project Gutenberg, and the rest, you should be able to keep pretty busy as far as your reading list goes. Of course, I didn’t cover everything, so be sure to post your favorite eBook stores (or eBooks) in the comments!