Welcome to the first installment of free ebooks. Every few weeks, TeleRead provides a list of free ebooks which have come to our attention (see also our Guide to Free Ebook Download sites). This regular feature will give an annotated list of the latest ebooks to come to our attention recently. (See also: Teleread’s general list of where to find free ebook titles).

This installment we will be playing a little game of catch up. Over the last few months Teleread has been blogging about so many free titles that it seems like a waste not to mention them here. Also, two wonderful blogs are providing regular announcements about “new” free releases: Finding Free Ebooks and Ebooks Just Published. In many ways, this column is just culling stuff from there.



  • James Boyle’s The Public Domain is a worthy addition to the copyright reform movement. (PDF)
  • Edge.org polls intellectuals and scientists about various philosophical questions. The question for 2009 is “What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?” The 2009 print-friendly version puts text from 151 thinkers all on the same page. (I just cut and paste it into a text file and import into Calibre). See also the 2008 print-friendly question (What have you changed your mind about?) and the 2006 question (What are you optimistic about?) . On all these links you have to scroll down a bit, but once you get to the main section, you will see that the URL contains all the responses on a single pageyou just need to cut-and-paste the rest and ignore the random garbage at the top).

Public Domain/Classic Texts

(note: Public domain trickle down to the free ebook sites eventually, but in the meantime, Project Gutenberg continues to release new books at a maddening rate).

New Zealand Electronic Text Centre publishes lots of New Zealand and Maori classics, both fiction and nonfiction. They publish in TEI format and also MS Lit format. It’s relatively easy to convert MS Lit format into Mobipocket or Sony LRF (with the aid of Calibre). The site contains lots of links between texts, so if you surf the Jane Stafford and Mark Williams introductory essay, you are set. (See also the online ebook, Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914 by the same authors).

Selected Plays of Guan Hanqing, 13th century plays found on SilkPagoda/Munsey’s site. Silk Pagoda sells a lot of low-cost editions of famous Asian texts. Also available for free: Journey to the West, Romance of 3 Kingdoms

Tony Kline’s translation site contains more translations than know what to do with. Kline is a polyglot and geek who has apparently been translating every classic work under the sun (every one I care about anyway). Apollinaire! Ovid! Corneille! Catullus! Horace! Machado! Akhmatova! I can’t comment on his skill as a translator, but for the few works I know intimately well, his translation compares favorably.

Children’s Literature

(Please limit your comments to those discussing any of the titles listed above. If you would like to suggest or recommend a title for the next installment, please email idiotprogrammer AT fastmailbox.net ) .