Via OverDrive or another service, your local public library may be able to offer you relatively recent titles, as well as classics.
Alas, there’s often an interminable waiting list for the most popular modern titles in electronic format at public libraries, assuming they’re available at all. How to improve matters? One difference between TeleRead and other e-book blogs is that we’ve been calling since the 1990s for the creation of well-stocked national digital libraries in the U.S. and elsewhere. We love to stand up for library patrons’ educational and recreational needs. And we’re more passionate than ever following the release of a new U.K. study showing the value of e-books as literacy promoters.
The Archive offers not only books but also other media and may be the most comprehensive source of free material. You can download books directly in Kindle/Mobi format, not just ePub or PDF. No need for conversion. Here are some download pointers, even if some of the information is obsolete. In a nutshell, you type archive.org into the Web brower of your Kindle or other device, search for the book or other goody, reach a related page, then click on the download link or Mobi or ePub or whatever format you prefer.
Unfortunately Kindles cannot read ePub due to Amazon’s stubborn resistance to the industry standard format.
This commercial site offers beautifully formatted public domain classics, as well as some modern books licensed under Creative Commons arrangements. Here is the public domain section. Not all the classics are free.
Aldiko is free from Google Play, as well as the Apple apps store (paid version for Android here). Aldiko is a good option for phone owners using Feedbooks, which owns the app. It’s seamlessly integrated with Feed.
My very favorite reader for these purposes, however, is the Android-only Moon+ Reader Pro, now on sale for just $2.49 (free version here). Moon offers text speech. Also, it lets you call up e-books directly from some prominent public domain sites, among others.
Grab this bargain now to add to your enjoyment from Feedbooks and other sites (you may have to update Feeds’ OPDS address within Moon’s Network Books menu: http://www.feedbooks.com/catalog.atom)! No connection with Moon—I just like what they’re up to. And, yes, you can get Moon running on your $50 Fire even without installing the Google Play Store. The same concept will almost surely work with Aldiko and other good alternatives such as Mantano, another well-down Android/iOS possibility capable of text to speech
For the very most elaborate TTS capabilities, think about the superb Voice Dream, available for both Android and Apple devices.
This is a prominent source of free audiobooks, especially of the classics. Find everything here from Pride and Prejudice to Moby Dick. Think about related audio apps as well from the Apple and Android stores. Just type the keyword LibriVox into the appropriate app store.
Think about Learn Out Loud (educational audiobooks) and Lit2Go (K-12 oriented; please note the site was not loading well today but keep trying). Use the Librophile search engine to uncover more audiobooks and e-books.
Whether you’re a novice or an old-timer, what are you own recommendations for freebie sources? Please limit recs to those from legal sites, as opposed to those offering pirated versions of works still under copyright. Yes, we’re keen on fair treatment of writers and publishers, and our digital library vision calls for fair compensation.
Tip: Check out the related proposal for a national digital library endowment. As published in Education Week in collaboration with a tech-and-literacy-hip librarian named Jim Duncan, the plan drew 103 Likes from teachers and others. Tell your local libraries about the proposal. It would strengthen, not replace, local public libraries. Librarians could stock paper books, but the more they relied on E, the more time they would have for outreach and interaction with patrons. The plan calls for the hiring and professional development of digital-savvy librarian—not just for more money for e-books and gadgets and the like.
Initiatives in areas such as family literacy require well-trained humans, a point lost on people incapable of seeing the picture as a well. The proposal even calls for the creation of cell phone book clubs (which could encourage reading on all kinds of platforms—not just phones).