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Friday, January 22, 2010

Seven Places to Find Free eBooks

Every year schools around the world spend thousands of dollars on textbooks that are often outdated by the end of their first year in the classroom. Ebooks, many of them free, can represent huge savings for schools over purchasing textbooks. Here are seven places that you can find free ebooks.

1. Planet eBook is a free service where teachers and students can find classic literature titles available as free downloads. Planet eBook adds new titles at regular intervals. Subscribe to the Planet eBook blog or newsletter to keep track of the latest additions to the collection. For browsing purposes, Planet eBook offers previews of titles through the Issuu pdf publishing service. Using the previews students can get an overview of a title without committing to downloading the entire ebook.

2. E-Books Directory contains nearly 1700 titles. The E-Books Directory provides freely downloadable textbooks, documents, and lecture notes. You can search the directory by keyword or browse through hundreds of categories.

3. Science Books Online is a directory of free ebooks for all areas of science. The books range from small PDF pamphlets to full-length texts made available in electronic form for free. Most of the materials have to be downloaded in order to be viewed but there are some materials that you can view directly within your browser.

4. Free Book-s is a search engine that scans many collections of ebooks to find free content that matches your search. I gave Free Book-s a test drive using academic terms like "physics" and terms like "fly fishing" to see what kids of results would be generated. In both cases I found Free Book-s returned very relevant results.

5. BookServer is a search engine for finding, borrowing, downloading, and purchasing books in digital form. A search on BookServer will yield results listing both free ebooks and ebooks for sale.

6. Flat World Knowledge provides free textbooks created by experts in various academic fields. A quick look at the "find my class" section of Flat World Knowledge reveals that these textbooks are being used in few dozen colleges across the United States.

7. Google Books hosts thousands of books that are in the public domain. Many of the public domain books can be viewed and downloaded in their entirety for free. To find public domain books go into the advanced search options and select the "public domain only" and "full text" options to find free full-length books.

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