Guest post by Karen Schweitzer
You don't have travel to the local library and scan shelves in hopes of finding free books to read. A simple trip to your computer is all you really need. There are a lot of different websites that offer free books as well as free book summaries and reviews to help you choose and delve into enjoyable texts. This list of 30 places to find free books, summaries, and reviews will help you as you begin to build your own digital library:
Free ebooks - Readers will enjoy the hundreds of free books and magazines that can be downloaded from this website. Books are sorted by category and author so that you can quickly find the book that matches your mood.
FullBooks - FullBooks houses thousands of full text books that can be read for free online. Simply browse through the titles or categories to find the book you need.
Authorama - Authorama provides a wide variety of free books from classic authors. Books can be read online or offline.
ManyBooks - If you're looking for something to read but don't know what, visit ManyBooks. This site offers popular books, recommendations, and reviews from others to help you decide what to read.
Bored.com - People who are bored online will enjoy Bored.com. The site offers thousands of free books in every category imaginable.
IPL - The Internet Public Library is a good online source for free books, magazines, newspapers, and reference materials. You can peruse through the titles yourself or use the site's "Ask a Librarian" feature to find the texts you need.
Librivox - Librivox is a free audio book site that records books in the public domain. The books are read by volunteers and can be played on your mp3 player or desktop.
SimplyAudioBooks - With new titles listed each month, Simply Audiobooks is a wonderful resource for free classic audio books.
Public Literature - Public Literature offers free classic books and a modern book blog. The blog features an array of poetry, plays, and short stories from a variety of authors.
Open Book Project - Aimed at the educational community, the Open Book Project offers free online textbooks and educational material for everyone.
Lit2Go - This online collection of audio books features stories and poetry. Lit2Go works with (or without) iTunes and allows you to listen and read at the same time.
The Literature Network - The Literature Network is a good place to review works and read biographies for an assortment of authors.
ReadPrint - With over 8,000 novels, books, and short stories in their collection, ReadPrint is a great place to find free books to read online.
DailyLit - DailyLit offers free books through daily email or RSS feed. This site features a long list of categories that will please even the pickiest of readers.
Chest of Books - Chest of Books offers tons of free books for reading enthusiasts. A few of the categories you can expect to see include travel, outdoors, society, real estate, and novels.
Free Book Summaries
Bibliomania - Anyone looking for in-depth book summaries needs to try Bibliomania. This free online book resource offers summaries for their most popular books as well as discussion topics and commentaries for a wide range of texts.
PinkMonkey - Perfect for readers of all ages, PinkMonkey is a G-rated site with more than 460 book summaries to choose from.
CliffNotes - This classic study-guide provider offers a wide range of detailed summaries for novels, poetry, plays, and short stories.
Shmoop - Shmoop is a new website that is quickly becoming popular among students and teachers alike. The site offers fun and easy-to-read literature and history study guides along with other useful resources.
Litsum - One of the largest book summary sites online, Litsum has full chapter summaries and discussion topics for the world's most popular books. Readers can also find quotes, style guides, and character analysis.
BookRags - BookRags offers more than eight million pages of book summaries, essays, and biographies. Most recently, the site added more than two million literature articles from HighBeam Research.
SparkNotes - Arguably the most popular provider of study guides, SparkNotes offers detailed chapter analysis and plot overviews for widely-read literature.
WikiSummaries - Incorporating the same principles as Wikipedia, WikiSummaries provides free book summaries that anyone can add too. It is a useful site for anyone who enjoys reading or writing books summaries and guides.
Bookwolf - Bookwolf has a list, sorted by author and title, of chapter interpretations and summaries that will be useful to readers who wanted to further explore the books they read.
FreeBookNotes - FreeBookNotes is a popular database of free book notes, study guides, and chapter summaries for books, plays, and poems. The new and improved site links to resources on SparkNotes, Pink Monkey, BookRags, Bookwolf, and other popular summary sites.
Free Book Reviews
Amazon - Amazon is one of the best places online to find unbiased reviews of books you may want to read. The site displays editorial reviews as well as customer reviews.
Barnes and Noble - Like Amazon, Barnes and Noble publishes a wide range of reviews from editors and customers. The online store also provides a short blurb about each book so that buyers can see a general overview of a product before they make a purchase.
Shvoong - Shvoong gives readers instant knowledge about books through short reviews and summaries.
BookBrowse - Book Browse is a book review site that focuses exclusively on interesting and well-written books. The site is loaded with reviews, ratings, and excerpts designed to help you find the best read.
TheBookHaven.net - This reader-created site reviews the best and worst of fiction and non-fiction. Although some parts of TheBookHaven are for members only, most of the site's resources can be viewed for free.
Guest post from Karen Schweitzer, the About.com Guide to Business School. Karen also writes about online college classes for OnlineCollege.org.