Reading is a great way to exercise your brain, learn new things, and even improve your vocabulary. It is also a good way to pass time.
However, sometimes you just can’t seem to find the right book to read either because you are far away from the library or just don’t have the money to buy it.
The good news is that there are many popular such sites.
Few of the best websites to read free books online without downloading them are Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, Free-Ebooks.net, Manybooks and several others. However, the best site to read free books online without downloading is Google Books. The site has over 10 million free books to read. On top of it, it doesn’t take you more than a couple of clicks to get started.
Come along as we dig deeper in these sites.
1. Google Books
Google Books is a service that is operated by Google Inc. It was launched in 2004 and serves as a search for full-text books.
The books on this database have been scanned from their original form using optical character recognition technology and then converted into digital form. With this service, you can search and find millions of books from around the world.
The database contains some books that are still under copyright and you’ll still have to pay to access them or read them. However, there are also thousands of books whose copyright has expired or those that are available to the public free of charge.
There are more than 10 million free books for you to either read online or download for offline reading. Instead of spending too much time looking for free books, narrow down your search by clicking on the section that says “Free Google eBooks”.
That will bring up a list of free books you can access immediately without any special requirements.
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Project Gutenberg is an online book library that was founded in 1971 by an American writer called Michael S. Hart. It is a volunteer effort designed to create as many digitized books as possible and avail them to the general public.
The library features over 60,000 books, which is quite impressive especially if you are looking for a variety of things to read. You do not need any special apps or sign up to access books from this digital library.
Instead, all you have to do is visit the website on your favorite web browser and start browsing through the collection of books available. You can narrow down your searches to categories for ease of perusal.
The library contains books as they appear in their physical form. That means you can even view the book’s hard copy image and find its table of contents. Most of the time, you can select specific parts of the book thanks to hyperlinks included in the table of contents.
You can read books online by clicking on the section that says “Read this book online: HTML”.
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Internet Archive is a digital library that was founded by Brewster Kahle from California, United States in 1996. It is built around the belief that knowledge should be freely accessible to everyone.
It is a unique digital library because it not only brings together a collection of thousands of books but also includes movies, software, music, and websites. The site features a simple interface with sections labeled right at the top.
Click on the section you are interested in and then search for whatever you want to view. In this case, you’ll need to click on the books section and then search for the title of the book you wish to read.
Once you identify the book, simply click on its cover to open its first page. Every time you click on the book, the next page will appear.
Note that the Internet Archive is a non-profit and therefore stays active thanks to donations from well-wishers.
Free-Ebooks.net is another excellent website you can turn to when you want to read free books online. It features different categories including fiction, non-fiction, academic, and textbooks, among others.
By clicking on any of the categories, you’ll be redirected to a page where you can find free books in the said category. To read books online, click on the book cover and then scroll down to the book’s description.
You’ll notice an HTML button next to the book description. Click on the button to start reading the book immediately. If you choose to, you can become a member of the site and download five books every month for free.
You can read books from this site as long as you have access to a computer or a mobile device connected to the internet.
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Manybooks was established in 2004 and strives to offer a comprehensive list of free books in digital format. It has over 50,000 free books in its database.
Once you land on the website, you’ll be welcomed by an organized layout allowing you to navigate to different sections easily. Books are categorized into sections such as romance, action & adventure, young adult, fantasy, non-fiction, science fiction, and horror, among others.
Another unique thing about this site is that it features a collection of books in more than 45 different languages. That means people from different nationalities can visit the site and find something written in their own dialect.
Once you identify a book you are interested in, all you have to do is click on the button that says “Read Online”. This will open up the book and give you access to all its content.
6. Open Library
Open Library is another exceptional site you can go to if you want to read free books online. It is a project of the Internet Archive and was launched in 2006.
Like its parent organization, it seeks to provide as many books as possible to people around the world for free. It currently has over 3,000,000 eBooks under different categories.
Some of these categories include romance, biography, fantasy, children’s, and classics. It is worth pointing out that not all the books in the database are available for free.
You’ll need to sign up and borrow specific books to read. However, there are still thousands of books you can read completely free of charge. Such books have the “Read” label next to them.
Immediately you click on the label, you will be redirected to the book’s page where you can read without any special requirements. The site allows users to organize their books thanks to the lists and reading log features.
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Another site where you can read free books without downloading is Smashwords. It was founded in 2008 and has its headquarters in California.
It styles itself as a platform for self-publishing eBooks. This is another site that contains thousands of books although not all are available to read for free.
If you want to read books offline, you can do so by downloading those that are available for free. The site lets users filter books according to price range or free offers and that help you find what you are looking for relatively fast.
Bookboon is another site you should consider using especially if you are a college or university student. It contains thousands of free textbooks written by professors and scholars from different fields.
However, you have to sign up for a free account to benefit from the free book-reading offer. There are over 100 free textbooks covering categories like natural sciences, engineering, economics, finance, marketing, human resources, and more.
Once you sign up, you’ll identify the free books easily because they have a section marked “Start Reading”. By clicking on the said words, you’ll be able to access the book’s contents without any restrictions.
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9. Open Culture
Open Culture makes it to the list of the best sites to read free books online without downloading because of its impressive database of books and courses. This is another site that is ideal for learners and educators because it is packed with resources for such people.
It is unique because it offers links to free eBooks, textbooks, podcasts, and courses. The links redirect you to sites that contain free books you can read directly from your web browser.
There are even certain links that allow you to download books for offline reading. While Open Culture looks like a regular news site, you’ll notice that it has categorized its content accordingly.
This allows you to browse through the various sections available and land on the one that you want. Clicking a category redirects you to a page with content under the same field.
Click on the “Read Online Now” button to access the content you wish to read.
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10. Read Any Book
Read Any Book is another digital library you can visit to find and read free books online. As soon as you land on its home page, you’ll find an array of books considered to be some of the most popular.
Readers rate books after reading them on the site and this rating makes it possible for the site to display the most loved books first. However, you can also look to the right side of the home page to find links to different genres of books.
Some of these genres include horror, science fiction, mystery, romance, fantasy, thriller, children, comedy, and classic. Click on any genre to reveal the titles available for you to read online.
Once you find a book you are interested in, click on its poster and then scroll down to find the “Read” icon. Clicking on the icon will open the book.
You can even read the book in full screen if you wish.
BookRix is another digital library where you can go to find free books to read online. On this site, you can search for classic and new books by choosing a category and then browsing through the results.
Some of the most popular categories on this site include romance, fantasy, thriller, science fiction, and juvenile fiction. Another positive about this site is that it even allows you to filter your results according to language.
That means people of different nationalities can run searches and find books they can easily read. Individuals can also download free eBooks to read offline.
Once you find a book you are interested in, simply click on its poster to go to its main page. On the book’s main page, you’ll find the option to either read it online or download it.
HathiTrust Digital Library was created by academic and research institutions that decided to form a partnership and build a repository of knowledge resources.
It began in 2008 as a collaboration of different universities and has over the years grown to become one of the most comprehensive digital libraries.
The site has over 17 million digitized items in different categories. Individuals can search for specific books, articles, essays, or news pieces thanks to the search option available at the top of the home page.
Institutions that become members of the project have access to some of the site’s most impressive functions and books. However, guests also get to explore many book titles and read through different resources online.
International Children’s Digital Library has been active for over 20 years. It is an online digital book library that caters to the needs of children.
On this site, you can find over 4000 books from different genres. To read books online, click on the section that says “Read with ICDL Reader”.
This action will open up the book’s pages and let you start reading right away.
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14. Read Central
Read Central is another site you can visit to read free books online. It has over 5,000 free books for you to explore.
It also includes some of the most amazing quotes and poems from the entire world. This particular site does not require you to sign up or download anything.
All you have to do is visit the site from your favorite browser, search through the list of books available and click on any title to start reading.
Riveted by Simon Teen is an online community where anyone can go to find some of the most interesting free books to read online. However, before you can start reading, you’ll need to create a free account.
Once you activate your account, all the free reads will be accessible with a few clicks of a button. The site also features interesting polls and quizzes where you can increase your general knowledge and stand a chance to win different prizes.
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OverDrive is another website that allows individuals from across the globe to access some of the best free books online. This digital library was founded in 1986 and offers one of the most comprehensive catalogs of books.
Its database consists of books from over 81,000 libraries in 106 countries. To access the website, you must have a valid card from your local library.
This particular site also offers free eBooks and audiobooks.
The Online Books Page differs slightly from the other sites on this list because it does not have its own database of free books. Instead, it features over three million links that lead directly to sites that have free books for you to read online.
You can find books on this site by narrowing down your search to include the author or title of the book you wish to find. The site also hosts links to books that are written in other languages.
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18. Free Kids Books
Free Kids Books is another website that contains books suitable for children. It categorizes books into sections that include toddlers, children, and young adults.
You can easily search for books using their titles or the name of the author. Once you find a book you are interested in reading, click on its poster to reveal the description.
At the bottom of the description, there is a “Read Book Online” icon you can click and start reading.
PublicBookShelf is another site with a minimalist interface and homepage that makes it easy for you to search for books. On the website, you can find thousands of free books to read online.
Once you identify the book you wish to read, click on its cover and read through the description. Right at the bottom of the description, there is a button labeled “Start Reading”.
Clicking the button will open the first page of the book allowing you to start reading immediately.
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If you love classic books, the Library of Congress may just be the perfect site for you to visit. The site categorizes books into four major sections including kids, teens, adults, and educators.
Click on any category to reveal the titles available. You can also search for books using their titles or the names of your favorite authors.
The site’s simple interface makes it easy for anyone to navigate to different sections and read books easily.
Authorama is another excellent site that offers free books to read online. It features books that are categorized according to alphabetical order.
You can also search for books using the search bar on the right side of the home page. One of the best things about this site is that it loads relatively fast even on slow internet connections.
Individuals can also read books online or offline depending on their preference.
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Wattpad is a website that consists of over 90 million writers and readers. To enjoy free books available on this website, you’ll need to sign up for a free account.
While there are plenty of free books to read, you’ll also come across certain books that are only available to those who pay a given fee. Once you find an interesting book on the site, click on its cover to reveal the next page.
The site is accessible on desktop and mobile devices making it easy for you to access through multiple ways.
23. Kindle Store
Amazon Kindle Store is one of the best places to go when you are looking for any type of book. And while a lot of authors sell their books on Kindle Store, there are also thousands of authors that avail their books completely free of charge.
On the Kindle Store, simply narrow down your search to free books. You can further narrow down your search by choosing books under the best-seller category.
There are over 80,000 free book titles you can access on the Kindle Store and read online.
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Freebooksy is another excellent place to visit if you want to find free books to read online. The site has thousands of books from virtually any genre you can think of.
Before you start reading free books from this site, you’ll need to sign up for a free account. Once you sign up, you’ll need to select your favorite genres.
The site will send you regular emails with recommendations for free books from your favorite genres. This can help you discover new authors and books without the effort of searching through thousands of titles.
eReader News Today is another exceptional site you can use to read books online. However, you’ll need to sign up for a free account first.
Once you activate your account, you can find books according to categories. You can also run searches using the name of the author or the title of the book.
The site offers promotion services to authors which is why it is able to avail old and new books. It is also true that you can find certain books on the site at a relatively cheaper rate than on other sites.
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These are some of the best sites to read free books online without downloading them. They have thousands of books available from different authors and genres so you can be sure to find something interesting for yourself.
Google Books is particularly an impressive site because it allows you to find old and new books that are available for free. It has a simple interface and works on any device you may be using.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.