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This article was published on April 23, 2011

How to Get Your Hands on Free eBooks

How to Get Your Hands on Free eBooks
Jon Pilon
Story by

Jon Pilon

Jon Pilon comes from London Ontario, Canada, where he is currently a student as well as an avid technology blogger specializing in helping p Jon Pilon comes from London Ontario, Canada, where he is currently a student as well as an avid technology blogger specializing in helping people make technology work for them. You can follow him on Twitter @jonpilon or check out his website at

Since the release of the Kindle, sales of Ebooks have been on the rise. Recently, Amazon announced that it sold more ebooks than paperbacks. Despite the growing trend of ebooks, some of us are still out there looking to get our hands on some good literature without having to pay for it. Here are some tips for getting free ebooks.

The Big Players

There are plenty of marketplaces for ebooks now and many of them offer a large collection of free ebooks. These marketplaces include, but are not limited to: Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and the Kobo store. Recently, Google has begun adding a large number of free ebooks to its online ebookstore as well.

Most of the free books in these marketplaces come from Project Gutenburg. This project aims to scan in and make ebooks out of as many works that are in the public domain as possible. While this is a great service, the majority of the books are classics, which are great to read, but sometimes you want to read something a bit more current.

Your Local Library

Many people wouldn’t believe it, but there is a good chance you can get free ebooks from your local library. While libraries may seem to be irrelevant in the age of the Internet, they are still very important players when it comes to accessing information.

Most libraries use the standard called Adobe Digital Editions for their ebooks, which means that you can check out books to your PC or Mac. In addition, there is an app available for Blackberry, iOS and Android called Overdrive.

To use Adobe Digital Editions or Overdrive, you will first need an Adobe ID, which is free, and then you will have to authorize the app with that ID. From there you can search for your local library and sign in using your library card. Then that will take you to a website and let you search the library’s catalog and download your ebook.

While Overdrive is a nice little app, it does leave a lot to be desired and still has a long way to go. One pet peeve I have is that it pushes you out of the app into the browser to browse your library’s website for books. It also requires you to check the website to see if a book is available or not, which is quite annoying.

On the bright side, there are many great books available, and you can request the books that are currently checked out to send you an email when they come back in. The reading experience itself is also great.

On Wednesday, April 20th, Amazon announced that it will be partnering with Overdrive to help bring library books to your Kindle or device with a Kindle app. While details about this new service are scarce, I am hoping that this will bring some of the much needed fit and finish to the ebook borrowing process thanks to help from Amazon. This service will be launched by the end of the year.

A Great Directory

While there are a lot of great free ebooks out there, finding them can often be the most difficult part. The website, has put together their own ebook called The Magic Catalog, which is full of links to other free ebooks that you can download straight into your ebook reader, tablet, or computer.

Finding a great book to read is always a great experience. Soon, we will be in a world where ebooks exist just as prominently as paper books. Unfortunately until that we will still have to figure out ways to get our ebooks like we have gotten paper books in the past.