How to Get Free eBooks

You can read eBook content on your iOS device using a variety of apps. In this article, I'll give you some tips on finding some great free eBooks using a variety of iOS eReaders. The following steps assume that you have installed the app on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

Barnes & Noble NOOK

Barnes & Noble NookFree, iPhone/iPod touch:, iPad:; accesses the Barnes & Noble eBook store.

Find free eBooks:

  1. Open the app and tap on the Shop page in your eBook list.

  2. Tap on the NOOKbooks tab at the top of the page.

  3. Tap on Free NOOKbooks at the bottom of the first column of the pop-up menu.

  4. Find your eBook and tap on Get Free eBook to download it. (You will be asked to furnish a credit card number for future purchases, but it will not be charged for free eBooks.)

Borders eBooks

Borders eBooksFree, all devices:; accesses the Borders online eBook store.

Find free eBooks:

  1. Open app and tap the Store tab at the top of the page.

  2. Scroll to the bottom and tap on FREE eBooks.

  3. Find your eBook and tap on the download button below the title's cover page. (You will be asked to sign in to your account or create it if you don't already have one. You will not be asked to furnish a credit card unless you are downloading a paid title.)


iBooksFree, all devices:; accesses Apple's iBookstore.

Find free eBooks:

  1. Open the app and tap on the Store button at the top left of the screen.

  2. Tap on the Browse button at the bottom of the screen.

  3. By default, all authors are listed alphabetically. You can tap the Categories button at the top of the screen and narrow your choices to History, Humor, Fiction & Literature, etc.

  4. Tap on the Free button at the top of the screen to display authors with free eBooks.

  5. Select your author of choice in the list. (Many authors give away free previews of several chapters of new books in the free section, but here you will find mostly classics.)

  6. Select the title of your choice and tap on the Free button, which changes to Get Book.

  7. Tap Get Book and enter your password to download it.


Free, all devices:; accesses Amazon's Kindle eBook store.

Find free eBooks:

  1. Open the app, go to Kindle's Home screen, and top on the Shop In Kindle Store button in the upper right.

  2. In the left column of the screen, go to the Special Features section and top on Free eBook Collections.

  3. In the first paragraph of the center section, tap on the "most popular classics" link.

  4. Find the eBook and tap on the Buy link next to the price, which should be $0.00.

  5. Tap on the Buy now with 1-Click button in the right column. If you are not already logged on to your account, you will be asked to do so. If you have more than one Kindle device/app, you will be asked to select which you wish the eBook to be sent to.


StanzaFree,; accesses 15 online eBook stores (not including

Find free eBooks:

  1. Open the app and tap on the Get Books tab at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Tap on the Catalog tab at the top of the page.

  3. Select from a source in the free book section. Note that some of these sources also have paid content, and some of the sources in the Bookstores section also have free content.

  4. Once you have selected your title of choice, download and enjoy.

Sync eBook content using iTunes

iTunesStanzaThe Kindle, Borders, and Stanza apps let you sync eBook content downloaded on your desktop computer with your iOS device. To use this feature, you must have the apps installed on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.

Stanza is probably the best app for this because it lets you sync books downloaded from its eBook sources and other sites that offer content in the ePub format. (ePub is an open e-book standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). Files have the extension .epub.) Many sites offer content in ePub format. Two of my favorite places to trawl for free sci-fi stuff are and (the latter requires an account to download free stories).

Sync to Stanza using iTunes

  1. Browse to one of the sites mentioned above on your desktop computer and download free content in ePub format.

Connect your iOS device to your computer and sync it with iTunes.

  1. Select your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad in the Devices list in the left column of iTunes.

  2. Tap on the Apps tab at the top of the screen.

  3. Scroll to the File Sharing section at the bottom of the screen and select the app you want to sync with in the Apps list—in this case, Stanza.

  4. Tap on the Add button below the document list and navigate to the free books you have previously grabbed.

  5. Select the book and click on the Open button.

  6. Click the Sync button back in iTunes to move it to your device.

My recommended free eBook list...

Note: Unless otherwise indicated, these books can be found at

Rafael Sabatini: His stories often feature pirates that make Jack Sparrow look like a wimp. (Check out Captain Blood.)

Cory Doctorow: great cyber/sci-fi story teller, though his characters can get a bit preachy at times. (I love For The Win, and Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.)

Nicky Charles: My wife likes the man/wolf pack stuff almost as much as the Twilight books. (I liked The Mating.)

Marc Horne: His edgy writing makes me think first and then laugh. I'm not exactly sure what I'd call the genre—maybe a kind of cyberpunk—but it's just cool. (Tokyo Zero was weird but good.)

Peter Watts: Most of his stories scare and depress me about the future of the world. I especially liked the notion of surviving under the sea described in his Rifters trilogy (Starfish, Maelstrom, and Behemoth).

Shayne Parkinson ( Sentence of Marriage, a freebie about a young girl in New Zealand, really reeled me right in. I might have to buy the next book (Mud and Gold) to find out what happened to Amy, her daughter, and no-account Jimmy. 

The Book of 5 Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Just look it up, get it, and read it. All you noob FPS and MMORPG gamers out there should start with this.

Harry Turtledove ( One of my all-time favorites. Some of his best reads can be had for free at

Use Stanza to convert existing eBook content

StanzaCaptureIf you already downloaded non-DRM eBooks to your computer, you can convert them to ePub format using the desktop version of Stanza (free, Mac, or PC versions available, Simply install the application on your desktop, open the desired eBook, and save it as an ePub file. You can then import it to your iOS device through iTunes. You can also use the desktop version of Stanza to create your own eBooks (e.g., class notes, interesting Web posts, compilations of free stories downloaded from the Web, etc.).

Grab Library ebooks using Overdrive Media Console

Want to check out eBooks from a nearby library? You can do that (audio and eBook reads) using the free OverDrive Media Console (free, You need a valid library card and internet access. You can search for a participating library or bookstore on this website (

May-June 2011
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