Have you ever wanted to fill your bookshelves with all of the classics you’ve been meaning to read, but don’t have the budget to purchase? Well, there are three ways you can read from the Great Books Canon, and never drop one slim dime— free books on the Internet!
Bartleby.com http://bartleby.com/ is a highly user/student friendly site that allows you to search for: quotations, verse, fiction, short stories and even non-fiction, published by various well known publishers, like Oxford and Harvard that have gone into public domain. You can search by author, title or even by theme. In fact, Bartleby.com is so user friendly that it has been added to our Research Web Sites from the Library link on the homepage. This is an excellent place for students to go to get full text versions of these classic works; and each entry has its original printed bibliographic record that students can easily enter into their Works Cited pages or into Noodle Tools.
Project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/ also has books that have gone into public domain, but they have much more to offer than just the classics. You will also find diverse works by world authors from Hermann Hesse and Franz Kafka, to Victor Hugo and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. You will also find works by African American authors, like a collection of short stories by Paul Laurence Dunbar; House Behind the Cedars, by Charles W. Chestnutt; and The Quest of the Silver Fleece by W.E.B. Du Bois. You will also find unexpected authors like science fiction’s Philip K. Dick. Here you can browse “Bookshelves” for categories such as: Countries, Education, Fine Arts, History, Language and Literature, Music, Psychology and Philosophy, Religion and more. It is also possible to search for a book by author, title or by subject. You can download as HTML for a printable version, or you can have a work downloaded to your Kindle.
Last, but certainly not least, is ManyBooks.net http://manybooks.net/ for free titles. What is especially nice about the way in which they’ve categorized their titles is that they have them listed by “Genres” which include: African American Studies (perfect for primary source materials for projects), Banned Books, Biography, Criticism, Drama, Essays, Gay/Lesbian, Myth, Politics and Women’s Studies, plus many more. You can also search by author and title, and you can choose titles from numerous world languages. You may download books in a wide variety of formats from: PDF, HTML, Kindle, eReader, Sony Reader and Audiobook, to name a few. How’s that for mobility?
With spring break imminent and summer break on the horizon—two times when you might actually have the time to pleasure read—I hope that you will give these three websites a try.