Every day more people join the world of eBook lovers, having suddenly decided to take the plunge and buy a new Kindle or some other eBook reader. Along with your new purchase (or your decision to buy) comes the realization that you now need to know a lot more about how you’re going to find great free eBooks to read. At MakeUseOf, we’ve written plenty of articles on how to find free eBooks, but it was about time we made a primer for those of you who haven’t been researching very long.
There are a number of different ways to get great free content on to your eBook reader, to organise your eBooks and to read eBooks without a dedicated eBook gadget. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Find A Great eBook ReaderIf you’re looking for a dedicated eBook reader device, check out MakeUseOf’s poll on eBook readers to see what our readers prefer.
If you’re using a smartphone, there are a number of great apps for eBooks like Aldiko for Android, iBooks and Stanza for iPhone.
If you prefer to read eBooks using your computer, check out the best software for reading eBooks via computer including Lucidor, Calibre, Magic Scroll, Google books and a Firefox ePub reader extension.
2. Download Free eBooks From The Best DirectoriesThere are a number of search engines and public domain directories for eBooks, like Scribd and Project Gutenberg. There are also other directories of eBooks like Planet eBook, Manybooks, Classic Reader and PublicBookshelf.
3. Borrow eBooks From LibrariesThere are a huge amount of libraries which will lend out eBooks. You’ll be able to borrow the eBooks digitally without ever having to visit the library. Needless to say, this makes it easy to borrow eBooks from these libraries from wherever you are in the world. Some of them require a yearly membership to be paid, but sometimes it’s even possible to pay that and sign up from an international location, wherever that may be.
Try searching for an eBook library using the Sony Overdrive service.
Don’t forget to check your local town, city and state libraries to see if you can borrow eBooks there. Most people would be surprised at how well-stocked their local libraries are – and you’d be doing them a favor by supporting them! If you’re an expat, see if you can renew your old library memberships online.
Occasionally services such as the Kindle lending club will surface where you can join to borrow books from other users. These have a tendency to get shut down though, so they’re only a temporary tool.
4. Organize Your eBook CollectionNot everyone stores all of their eBooks on a dedicated device. If you’re trying to manage a collection of eBooks on a computer, there’s a large amount of tools available to use to organize them. Try Papers for organizing PDFs on Mac OS X or Calibre for the ultimate eBook organiser.
5. Create Your Own eBooks EasilyYou can create eBooks from blogs and PDFs using a variety of tools, including online convertors and freeware like BookGlutton, eBook Hood and Calibre (see more on how to download blogs to eBook with Calibre here) or Firefox extensions such as Grab My Books, which converts HTML to ePub format. You can also turn your blog into an eBook for other people to read by using tools like Anthologize, ZinePal and ePub Bud.
What’s your favourite tool for getting eBooks? Let us know in the comments!
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