Public Domain Readers discussion

General Discussion > Places to read public domain books.

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message 1: by Heather (new)

Heather dennis | 6 comments What are your favorite places to read public domain books?

I like to read mine on (<- this one is fun because if they have a scan of the book you can flip the pages.) (large selection of free public domain books. You don't even need a kindle for it)
There is the ebooks section on here too.

I would love to share links if you have more fun places.

message 2: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments uses a lot of texts from, but has texts of its own, and also has pages categorising them, etc., to make browsing/finding more successful

message 3: by Lanelle (new)

Lanelle | 422 comments Mod
Has anyone had any experience with LibriVox?

message 4: by Lee (new)

Lee Howlett Yes, I have, Lanelle. As a reader and listener, I've found some real jewels on LibriVox. You can listen to as much or as little of a book as you like, so you can get a good idea as to whether you'd like the voice(s) or book before downloading it.

There are multiple versions of a number of classics so if you don't like a particular reader, you can check the voice on another version in the catalog. Many people prefer to listen to solo or one-voice recordings but there are some very good group efforts on LibriVox, too.

Good Luck!
Lee Ann

message 5: by Lanelle (last edited May 13, 2015 09:58PM) (new)

Lanelle | 422 comments Mod
Lee, I needed to read The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena's Plan for a reading challenge for a different group, so I thought I would try LibriVox. It was great. The narrator did a wonderful job.

About half way through the story I remembered that the book was published just as the 9-year-old author had written it, so I followed along with my Kindle. It is published complete with spelling errors and poor punctuation. I would suggest to anyone who is curious about this book, that they either read it or at least follow along with the narrator for a whole experience.

By the way, I gave it 4 stars. A really cute novella. I highly recommend it. After all, how many stories do you know of that were written in 1890 by a 9-year-old girl?

message 6: by Lee (new)

Lee Howlett Lanelle wrote: "Lee, I needed to read The Young Visiters, or Mr. Salteena's Plan for a reading challenge for a different group, so I thought I would try LibriVox. It was great. The narrator did a w..."

That's interesting, Lanelle. I hadn't heard of this book but I'm glad you enjoyed the recording. Very impressive about the 9 year old girl. :)

message 7: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments I forgot that ages ago I made a 'free kindles' list on Amazon. Not that this is all the free kindles, but more than 250 of them

message 9: by Lee (new)

Lee Howlett Mark wrote: ""

Terrific site, Mark! I've used this one often to seek out PD works.

message 10: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments Yeah, the sections it has are nice too. Women's writing, banned books, prize winners. It could help a lot in creating lists of public domain books according to those (in my opinion very valuable) categories.

message 11: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments The main feature that I like about besides that firstly it has a 'public domain' section, then you can click on a genre, is that when you open the page for the individual book there are links at the bottom right to a search for the book on Goodreads and Library Thing, so you can quickly see what ratings the books have.

message 13: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments has distracting ads, but look carefully where you really should click and there's no problem. I found a good book here that on other sites, Gutenberg included, was only html or audio.

message 14: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments is based in Australia again, so you may need to read up on your local copyright laws to make sure it's public domain in your country, but most is listed with years, especially in the alphabetical author list, so it's easy to figure out. I found this via what I'll put in the next post.

message 15: by Mark (last edited Oct 01, 2015 11:02PM) (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments You may know of Harold Bloom and maybe even his The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages.

At the back it has a suggested lifetime reading list. The full reading list is reproduced in various places online, such as here: Much of this stuff of course is not public domain.

But here - - you will find a list of the stuff from that list that is public domain in AUSTRALIA (thus, again, read up on your local laws, because it might not all be public domain where you are (some later stuff definitely isn't in the USA)) with LINKS TO DOWNLOADABLE FILES of the book. Lots of stuff is very old, so most definitely public domain internationally.

message 16: by Lee (new)

Lee Howlett Mark wrote: " is based in Australia again, so you may need to read up on your local copyright laws to make sure it's public domain in your country, but most is listed with years, ..."

One of my favorite sites to read books due to the formatting.

message 17: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments I stumbled upon this too. Again not so much as a place to read as a suggested reading list, with links to places to read. Maybe we should have a separate thread for these kinds of lists:

message 18: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments The Post-Reformation Digital Library (PRDL) is a database of digitized books from the early modern era:

message 19: by Mark (last edited Sep 21, 2015 07:11PM) (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments If anyone reads French, or any of these Slavic languages, via a question put to me on another group I found this French site of links to public domain books from Slavic language world, with French versions for each of them too. No English that I can see though:

message 23: by Tim (new)

Tim Smith | 81 comments Mod
A sight that I don't see above is the Internet Archives. They have books from Project Gutenberg plus digital libraries from several universities. The also have movies, television and radio archives that are in the Public Domain. The link for the ebooks and texts is:

message 24: by Mark (last edited Jul 25, 2016 12:03PM) (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments educational books for children

Inspired by and dedicated to, it seems, James Baldwin (not to be confused with James Baldwin). Here's his page on there, with his works

message 30: by Lanelle (new)

Lanelle | 422 comments Mod
Mark, I have a Goodreads friend who lives in Germany. She is interested in reading Wired Love: A Romance of Dots and Dashes, but says that the book isn't available where she's at. Do you know if there a public domain website for Germany?

message 31: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments I didn't see this message before, Lanelle. I came to post the link that you'll see after this one. Your German friend can probably search for such sites as easily or more easily than me. With a little search I found these 2

Though they're not public domain sites as such, but ones that have a category of free books (just like on Amazon you can find free and public domain books).

These 2 links give pages that give lots of links to sources of free e-books in German, maybe your friend will find it easier than me, if she's German.

A quick look has turned up German ebooks of 'Wired Love', but not for free. Probably because the German translation is not public domain. This is a thing everyone needs to remember, that the copyright on the original work may run out at a certain date after the death of the author, or after the publication of the work, but for the translation, depending on the country's laws, it's either at some number of years after the translation itself was published, or after the death of the translator. For example, I can speak Russian, if I were to translate the Brothers Karamazov this year, despite the original already being in the public domain, you wouldn't legally be able to obtain my translation for free until 75 years after my death. Maybe there's an old German translation for 'Wired World' but I don't know. Of course if the person can read in English then they can perfectly legally just get a public domain book from an English language website. Gutenberg, for example. And Gutenberg does have books in German, and other languages, just not a public domain translation of this book.

message 32: by Mark (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments Anyway, here's what I came here to post. Another link.

These are not old public domain books as such, but books from the University of California Press that they have decided to make freely available to the public. Academic stuff exclusively as far as I can see. Plenty of interest in there to anyone looking for some serious edification, I'm sure, but no literature. The closest to that is literary theory, of which there seems to be quite a lot:

message 33: by Tim (new)

Tim Smith | 81 comments Mod
One that I've found myself using a lot lately to download ebooks is You can download the books in many more ereader formats than most sites.

message 34: by Sawako (new)

Sawako | 493 comments Mod
Thanks a million!

message 37: by Sawako (new)

Sawako | 493 comments Mod
Thanks, Mark.

message 38: by Mark (last edited Aug 31, 2018 03:13PM) (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments ~

This site is rather awesome:

It has a choice of 7 languages for its interface, so if you switch languages and then coose a category you can see the books in that language for that category. See these for example:

One advantage this gives is seeing what translations of foreign works are public domain in your language. See these for example:

If you search on the site you can search by language or for all languages. This, for example, is an all languages search for Kafka:

or just for those in English:

On the book page you can click to choose download options under each book. Most have PDF, EPUB, MOBI, FB2 & AZW. The ones I've downloded so far are clean, correct, scalable, small size. I did see one book that was only a PDF facimile, but this seems rare. Look under the book cover and click 'download book'.

You can register on the site and therefore save all the books you might want to read later by clicking the heart icon next to the book title, above the cover image, on the book's individual page, and then you can find all the ones you've liked via 'My Books'.

From the book page or via the 'authors' tab you can get to a page that shows you all works by that author on the site in all languages:

It's cool for language learner's too, having the same book in various languages:

Or select a language category:

message 39: by Sawako (new)

Sawako | 493 comments Mod
That's an awesome website. Thanks so much, Mark.

message 40: by Mark (last edited Aug 31, 2018 03:13PM) (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments ~

There are probably very few Russian readers in this group, but for those who are: more than 100 pages (2000 books) of free (because public domain) ebooks to download on this site. I think they're all epubs. You have to register to download but it's free plus it keeps a list for you of what you've downloaded.

message 41: by Mark (last edited Aug 31, 2018 03:15PM) (new)

Mark Davess (markdavess) | 66 comments ~

It just dawned on me that for the above site if you change the language you get books listed that are in that language. Here are the English ones (about 600 books, marked gold not green and with no price but 'бесплатно' ('free'), ending on page 31):

When you open the page you can change the language interface via the leftmost drop-down selection top left of the page to whatever language you prefer and it will still show these English books (the 'eng' in the link determines that). Or if you want to see books in other languages use the other drop down menu to its right.

message 43: by Sawako (new)

Sawako | 493 comments Mod
Public Domain Books (In Canada):

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