Free eBooks for iPad

The iPad is a great device to read on, and if your digital library is feeling a little bare then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve found some of the best places to get free ebooks, ready to be downloaded and opened with iBooks on your shiny new iPad (or iPhone, iPod, Kindle, Nook, or Android, for that matter).

  • Project Gutenberg Top 100 – Full of classics, if you’re only going to visit one source for free ebooks, Gutenberg should be it. They have over 38,000 free ebooks available, and their top 100 list is basically a mirror of the Western Canon of literature. Grab titles from the popular lists, and then search category or by your favorite author to load up on a nearly infinite amount of reading. Audiobooks are offered in some cases too.
  • Gutenberg Bookshelf by Category – Looking for books on a specific topic? This is the place to go. Sorted by alphabetical category.
  • Gutenberg Harvard Classics – A 51 volume anthology of world literature classics, this collection was created in 1909 to provide the core elements of a liberal arts education by reading just 15 minutes a day. Free is slightly cheaper than a Harvard education.

Gutenberg is probably the best source online, but other sites offer free ebooks too:

  • ManyBooks – Plenty of classics and a wide variety of formats
  • FreeKindleBooks – All in .mobi format, intended for Kindle
  • ePUbBooks – Free .epub ebooks, plenty of classics though most are also on Gutenberg
  • FeedBooks – Free books from the public domain, varying quality
  • SneeKidsBooks – A handful of childrens picture books like the Three Bears and Little Bo-peep

If you download the books onto a Mac or PC, emailing them to an iPad or iPhone is generally the easiest way to transfer them over quickly without syncing. From there they can be directly imported into iBooks or the Kindle app.