Where to Read Whole Books Online

By Kay Daniels

If you are a person who likes to read books on your computer, you will be interested to know that there are a lot of websites that will allow you to read books online. The method might range from an application simulating the page turning experience to merely finding a text file that contains the manuscript of a book. Sometimes you may have to pay for access to the whole book, and other times the text might be free. It is not always possible to search out and read a specific book title online (especially if it is a new release,) but for those who like to browse, reading online can be a terrific option.

Step 1

Try Amazon if you want to download the text of a new release. Many newer books are for sale as e-books on Amazon, even from leading authors. This option means that you can be reading the book within seconds rather than having to wait for a shipment. Amazon also allows you to preview select pages from the book (for many titles.) Note that most e-books for sale on Amazon are not free. Amazon is also a good site to use if you have a Kindle reader.

Step 2

Visit Google Books. Although these are not technically whole books, Google Books has a significant portion of the text of many books, including newer releases, so the site can make for fascinating browsing. You can get the information you want from Google Books if you are merely looking for references and not to read a book cover to cover. Most of the books available on Google Books have select pages missing so as to make sure that anyone who wants the entire book will have to buy it.

Step 3

Search Google for "free e-books" or simply "e-books" if you are willing to pay for the books. There are numerous authors out there who have published their work as an e-book, available for free or for very low cost. E-books typically come as PDF files for reading in Adobe Acrobat, but some may be in a different format, so be sure to check for compatibility if you are buying an e-book online.

Step 4

Go to the Project Gutenberg website. Project Gutenberg is a really neat effort to catalog many public domain books (meaning the author has been dead for more than 70 years) and offer them for free online. As of right now, Project Gutenberg offers hundreds of whole books for free -- you can read them right in your browser or download the text. Titles range from Bram Stoker's Dracula to medical texts.

Step 5

Browse Page By Page Books. The site offers hundreds of classic novels that you can search by title or by author. A few examples of books that are available on the site are Anthem by Ayn Rand and Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.

Step 6

Visit FullBooks.com. The site is not as easily searched as some other options, with merely a list of alphabetical titles, but the site claims to have over 1000 titles, including works by authors such as D.H. Lawrence and Alexander Pope. The books can be read right in the browser.

Step 7

Go to Bartleby.com. This is quite possibly the best of the bunch for free whole books (rather than excerpts.) The site offers thousands of titles with search by fiction, verse, reference, and nonfiction. Many useful resources are available there, such as Bartlet's Familiar Quotations and Roget's Thesauruses.