how to get free e-books

How to Get Free E-Books

When I first began reviewing books earlier this year, I passed over a lot of opportunities, simply because I didn’t have any interest in reading on a screen. Don’t be like me. If you know how to get free e-books, then get them, and review them in a timely manner if you’re looking to build your blog following.

Now, it’s not that I don’t prefer paper books to e-books. Trust me, I do. But my seldom-used Kindle is so much more convenient than my phone when it comes to downloading, reading, and keeping track of my e-books. The screen Kindle is much bigger, which — at least according to what I’m telling myself — means less eye strain. The best part is that no one texts me on my e-reader, so my reading goes pretty much uninterrupted.

Even if you aren’t interested in reviewing the books you download, you’ll still get some mileage out of the services I’ve listed here. These are the most convenient, well-stocked places I’ve found to get free e-books. If you have a favorite not included here, feel free to mention it in the comments below.

Your Local Library

If you want to get free e-books, check with your local library to see if they’re associated with Hoopla or Overdrive. These great services allow you to check out free e-books, audiobooks, comics and graphic novels, MP3s, and movies for free with your library account. I frequently listen to nonfiction audiobooks at the gym and in my car, and the huge catalogs on these apps save me the cost of an Audible membership.

Project Gutenberg

If you want to brush up on your classic literature, check out Project Gutenberg for public domain books compatible with your device. Kindle users should know that the public domain text supplier of merit has a much broader catalog of free books than the collection offered on Amazon, but downloading directly to the Kindle itself has been tricky for me in the past.


I started using NetGalley this month, and it has quickly become my favorite place to get newer e-books for free. After creating a free account, you’ll be able to place requests to review the books you want to read. NetGalley will send you an email letting you know whether your requests have been accepted or rejected.

Be aware: your ratio of books approved to books reviewed is a factor in whether you will receive free e-books from NetGalley publishers in the future. If you don’t want to review books, or if you just don’t want to wait for approval, NetGalley has plenty of free e-books that don’t require a request to access them.


LibraryThing has two ways for you to get free e-books. Their Early Reviewers program works a lot like Goodreads’ First Reads, in which you enter to win copies of upcoming and newly released books from publishers. Like Goodreads, LibraryThing also allows users to host their own giveaways on the site. If you prefer e-books, or just want to improve your collection, this is the place for you.


Last but not least, with the free Shelfie app, e-books are a breeze to download. This new social network lets you take pictures of your bookshelves to get deep discounts on the books you already own. Some publishers have partnered with Shelfie to provide digital copies of physically-owned titles for free, while others offer bundles at low prices. Download it to your phone or tablet and see what books you can get for free.