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Finding E-books: A Guide

External Web Sites

Helen Johns Kirtland leaning on a globe
The World Wide Web is a gateway to vast quantities of information, including e-books.
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Online Repositories & E-book Libraries
Local Libraries

Online Repositories & E-book Libraries

Internet Archive & OpenLibrary

The Internet Archive External Link includes the full text of more than 2.5 million e-books, including works of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts, and academic books. This includes e-books supplied by the Library of Congress. Books can be read online or downloaded and read in a variety of formats, including Plain Text (.txt), PDF (.pdf), ePub (.epub), Mobipocket (.mobi), Kindle (.azw), DAISY, and DJVU (.djvu). E-books from the Internet Archive can also be found through Open Library External Link, an Internet Archive initiative devoted to texts.

Google Books

Google has partnered with more than 20,000 publishers and authors, and several major research libraries, to makes their publications discoverable through Google Books External Link. While only limited text "snippets" can be viewed from books still protected by copyright, one can access the full text of many public domain books. Use the Advanced Search page to limit your search to full-text or public domain books.  Books are available in PDF (.pdf) and ePub (.epub) formats.

The Google ebookstore External Link, a fee-based service, offers e-books in formats compatible with Android, Mac portable devices, Nook and Sony devices, and personal computers.  It does not offer content for the Amazon Kindle.


Through a partnership with more than two dozen research libraries, HathiTrust External Link currently makes available more than 4.9 million digitized volumes, approximately 15 percent of which are in the public domain. Some HathiTrust Digital Library content is available through Google Books. However, HathiTrust provides some content Google does not, including digital collections unique to participating institutions, works from institutional repositories, and born-digital materials.  Texts are available in Plain Text (.txt) and PDF (.pdf) formats.

ManyBooks External Link offers thousands of public domain and free original titles, available in a variety of formats, including ePub (.epub), HTML (.zip), Mobipocket (.mobi), Kindle (.azw), Plain Text (.txt), PDF (.pdf), Plucker (.pdb) and more. ManyBooks also provides QR codes for each item.

The Online Books Page: Archives and Indexes

The Online Books Page External Link is a large compilation of full-text literature resources on the Web. The directory includes sections on general-purpose collections with substantial English-language listings (large-scale repositories; significant indexes and search aids; and significant smaller-scale archives), foreign language and literature resources, and specialty archives, including audio books and children’s literature.  Formats vary by link.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg External Link is one of the first online archives of digitized texts.  All texts are available for free download in ePub (.epub), Plucker (.pdb), Kindle (.azw), and other formats.


Local Libraries

Many local libraries offer e-books to patrons. Consult your local librarian or your local library’s Web site for details. Public and academic libraries tend to offer their patrons access to e-books through subscription services such as NetLibrary External Link or OverDrive External Link.

Use WorldCat External Link or the NCES search function External Link to find your local library.



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  March 22, 2011
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