load up your e-reader with free, public domain titles

Mrs. Duffee Seated on a Striped Sofa, Reading Her Kindle, After Mary CassattI've had a Kindle for a couple of years now. I'm still in love with the instant gratification thing, being able to browse for a book, buy it, and start reading it in seconds is really convenient. I can get new books if the store is closed, if I don't feel like going out, or if we're visiting my family - who live at least forty minutes from the nearest bookseller larger than a grocery store rack. It makes it easier to start a book immediately after finishing the last one, so I read more books these days.

I still need to keep my book purchases on a budget, though, and free, public domain e-books have helped me to do that. A public domain book is one that is, usually because of its age, no longer protected by copyright law. It's legal to download and distribute them, which means you can read a lot of great stuff for free.

My favorite sources for public domain e-books are Feedbooks and Project Gutenberg. They offer their downloads as both Kindle-friendly mobi files or as epub files compatible with most other types of readers. And if you don't have an e-reader, the sites offer PDF downloads that you can read right on your computer. You can also find many public domain books on e-book stores like Amazon, though they aren't always free.

Books that are public domain are often fairly old (in the US, most were published before 1923), but there are some amazing genre classics in that mix. Frankenstein, Dracula, and Treasure Island are all there, and so are works by H.G. Wells, Edgar Allan Poe, and Arthur Conan Doyle. And since they're all free, there's no reason not to at least try whatever public domain book catches your attention.

For the rest of the month, I'll be posting about some of the authors who have books available in the public domain.

image by Mike Licht used under Creative Commons

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