If you consider buying Nook device, you are surely interested in how many books you can find for your new device – and how many of them can be downloaded legally for free.
Before we move on, please read a short introduction, with things to keep in mind when discovering and downloading free ebooks for Nook.
The most important consideration is DRM. It stands for Digital Rights Management and it prevents from opening the files on unauthorized devices. Barnes & Noble is using DRM from Adobe. It’s also being applied on books that are available on B&N website for free.
Please have it in mind when making a collection of free Nook books. Read more about ebook DRM in this post.
The format which is compatible with Nook – not only e-readers and tablets, but also e-reading applications – is epub.
Surely, pdf format is also supported, but it’s less comfortable to read than epub, especially on smaller screens, so if you have a choice, you should go for first one, unless the book contains a lot of pictures, tables, and charts.
There are over 2 million free books in epub format, available on the web. Most of them are classic books, that are in public domain. The other option to consider is free samples. You can download a free sample of almost every Nook book, before you decide to purchase it.
One more thing. You don’t have to buy Nook, to enjoy reading Nook books. You can download a free app and test the B&N’s ebook ecosystem. Here’s the download page of Nook book apps.
There are versions available for iPad & iPhone, or tablets and smartphones with Android and Windows 8 system. There are apps for PC and Mac computers. You can also pick up a version that will let you read Nook books in a browser.
10 sites with free Nook books
1. Nook Store
First of all, you should check what’s available in the Nook Store. Having in mind one disadvantage – the DRM – you have to balance it with the comfort of using and managing downloaded books. Generally, all books purchased in the Nook Store will be synced across all devices you have. This is very convenient. You can start reading on a Nook Simple Touch, and finish a book in a bus on your Android smartphone with a Nook app installed on it.
The thing to keep in mind is that free books from Nook Store are being synced, but free samples of paid books aren’t.
The list of free books on Barnes & Noble site is here. As you’ll see, there are over 1.8 million titles in the catalog. By default, they are sorted by top matches, but you can change it to bestsellers.
Don’t be surprised to see Nook apps here, as well. The catalog is a directory of all things free in the Nook Store. You’ll find here also special free editions of books from popular contemporary authors, like James Patterson’s Alex Cross, Run. Such books contain more free content than you would get with free samples. For instance, the mentioned above book offers 19 chapters.
Other very popular way among Nook users to get a free book is called Nook Free Fridays. Every week one or more books are offered for free – on Friday only. You can subscribe to The Nook Blog to get updates with Free Friday deals.
If you are looking not only for free, but discounted Nook books, you should check Nook Daily Find. Every day one book is being hugely discounted, usually by more than 50%. Check the Nook Daily Find section here.
2. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is the top place to download free classics. It’s the primary repository of free public domain ebooks. When the title enters public domain, it means the rights to this work have expired and the book is publicly available.
On Project Gutenberg all books are free. It’s possible, that elsewhere you will find the same classic titles in ebook format, for which you’ll have to pay. This issue also applies to Barnes & Noble, so if you are looking for the literary classics from Mark Twain, Jane Austen or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, don’t hesitate to check Project Gutenberg.
Currently there are 40,000 public domain books in the catalog. The files are very well prepared. There are two kinds of epub files: with or without images. The one with images is much heavier. The one without should take no more than 500k of disc space.
Among some very attractive books, that I found recently on Project Gutenberg are the complete collection of Mark Twain works, the cool slang dictionary from 1874, or several sci-fi stories from 30s, 40s, and 50s, including the ones from Philip K. Dick.
I highly recommend to check this site. Smashwords is a top place with titles from independent authors. There are around 200,000 titles in the catalog. You’ll be able not only to download books in epub or pdf format, but also read them online in your browser.
There are two major benefits of using Smashwords. First one is that some books are being distributed to major ebookstores – and Barnes & Noble is one of them. Secondly, all books on Smashwords are DRM-free. If you download an epub file, you’ll be able to read it on the Nook and any other device which supports that format.
To quickly get to the list of free ebooks, simply use the combination of three top filter bars. For instance, here is the link to: bestsellers – that are free – that are 50k words or longer.
Currently there are almost 23,000 free ebooks on Smashwords. You can pick a category first and then select Free tab to get a list of free titles in your favorite genre. For instance, there are 2,100 science-fiction books that are free on Smashwords.
4. Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the mission of “universal access to all knowledge.” The website is a huge digital library of text, audio and video files. It offers over 3.8 mln ebooks and texts. Sub-collections include American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, books from Project Gutenberg, titles from the Million Books Project, and books for children.
When you find the interesting book, you’ll see in the left panel the list of available formats. In most cases epub will be included.
5. Open Library
Open Library is an initiative of the above mentioned Internet Archive. The site positions itself as “the world’s classic literature at your fingertips”. There are over 1,000,000 free ebook titles available.
The biggest benefit of Open Library is that it’s driven by a strong community. It’s like Wikipedia for ebooks. If the book had more than one edition, you’ll see them listed on Open Library. For instance, Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, first published in 1876, have 306 editions altogether and most of them have separate download directories.
BookRix is a German-based self-publishing platform that has currently over 20 thousand publications on offer. You can find here novels, short stories, children’s books, or poetry. There is a strong community of authors and readers, and it’s different from Smashwords. Here, at BookRix you can find books mostly from European authors.
Books are available in over 30 languages, including German, French, Spanish, but also Swedish, Czech, or Serbian.
On Feedbooks you can find both public domain (Public Domain section) and free contemporary books (Original Books section), both fiction and non-fiction. As the site is based in France, there are a lot of titles in French, as well as in other languages, not only in English.
The site offers RSS feeds of specific categories, so you can subscribe to them and get new books the moment they are added to offer.
The site offers 29,000 free ebooks. The site is very well-organized and it’s easy to browse for books or follow recommendations. The book detail page displays not only the usual fields like the author or publish date, but also word count and the reading ease. The number of available formats is impressive. Epub included.
The site is an online ebook catalog, where you can find almost 30,000 titles – all of them are free. There are several categories to choose from. The most popular are Poetry, Juvenile Fiction, and Literary Collections.
The largest book discovery site, Goodreads, offers also books in epub format. The catalog is not huge, there are only 2,500 titles listed here, but they are very interesting ones. For instance you can download Harry Potter: The Prequel by J.K. Rowling, a short story set about three years before the birth of Harry Potter. It recounts an adventure experienced by Sirius Black and James Potter. The books are available in epub, pdf and txt format.
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