Those FREE ebooks you want

The most popular posts here at Treated & Released are lists of free ebooks. Publishers, authors, software developers, and mobile device manufacturers offer free ebook downloads to accustom readers to their business models and familiarize them with their brands.

Kindle
Photo courtesy of James Tarbotton

At Matthew McClintock’s ManyBooks.net, ebooks are generated on demand in a variety of formats as a public service. McClintock maintains a running count of the most popular formats downloaded by users of the site. PDF currently tops the list.

Websites designed to generate advertising revenue are already beginning to capitalize on the demand for free ebooks by presenting large collections for browsing. Before long, there will be a truly comprehensive free ebook library on the Web.

Meanwhile, here’s one more helping of free ebooks:

FeedBooks
This one-year-old technology company based in Paris, France, developed a universal ebook platform and offers free out-of-copyright ebooks and short stories on its nicely organized site.

Zinio
This digital publisher offers a bookshelf of 100 free classics, as well as free digital magazine samples in exchange for your online registration, but its best bet is its digital textbook division.

We Tell Stories
Six Penguin authors took part in an experiment with the creative delivery of digital fiction.

Poet’s Press & Grim Reaper Ebooks
Because it prints only limited editions, this private press in Providence, Rhode Island, offers some of its older titles as ebook downloads.

Scott Sigler & Seth Harwood
Sigler, who specializes in science fiction, and Harwood, who writes crime fiction, amassed audiences on the Web by serializing their novels as free podcasts before they appeared in print. Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle last month, Chris Cadelago described how the two authors landed book deals by proving they could attract readers.

Small Beer Press
This independent publisher in Easthampton, Massachusetts, has offered three of its short-story collections as ebooks with Creative Commons licenses.

Smart Pop
BenBella Books, an independent publisher based in Dallas, Texas, includes a few free ebook downloads on the site devoted to its pop-culture titles.

The Yggyssey
Although it won’t be published by Houghton Mifflin until 2009, Daniel Pinkwater’s children’s book is being released on the Web in weekly installments.

DQ Books
These experimental online magazines resemble graphic novels set to music.

Samizdat Press
Hosted by the Colorado School of Mines, this site distributes free ebooks and lecture notes.

Russian Virtual Library
Classical and modern works of Russian literature are made available in electronic format by this service.

Amazon Kindle Guide, Free Ebooks & Resources
A Kindle evangelist links to scores of additional free ebook sources on the Web.

For more online resources, see the previous posts:

The growing list of FREE ebooks

P1000023
Photo: “Artists Ebooks” by James Bridle is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Each month, more authors, publishers, libraries, and promoters of books experiment with the free distribution of ebooks. I assume and hope the trend will encourage technology companies to develop better devices for reading ebooks. I also expect more writers to adopt the practice of publishing on the Web, because it’s quick and easy, and undiluted feedback is guaranteed. (The absence of feedback is one form of criticism.)

This month, well-publicized examples of strategic marketing with free ebook downloads were news. After Oprah Winfrey announced she would make Suze Orman’s Women & Money temporarily available as a free ebook, a million copies were reportedly downloaded from Oprah’s website.

Book publishers

Several more publishers recently began distributing free ebooks on their websites or via email.

HarperCollins
(a subsidiary of News Corporation)
This major publisher’s online promotion, prominently advertised on its homepage, gives readers full access to a few ebook downloads for limited periods. Along with other authors’ books, one of Paulo Coelho’s titles will be made available each month during 2008.

No Starch Press
This publisher of books on computing is offering free downloads of Cult of Mac and Cult of iPod by Leander Kahney.
[Updated on March 28, 2008]

Random House
(a subsidiary of Bertelsmann)
For three days only (February 27, 28, and 29, 2008), this major publisher is giving away a free ebook version of the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Children by Charles Bock.
[Updated on February 27, 2008]

Tor and Forge Books
(subsidiaries of Macmillan and Holtzbrinck)
Lovers of science fiction and fantasy can register on this site for a weekly link to a free ebook download. The publisher has already given away John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn.

Berrett-Koehler Publishers
As an independent, this publisher is participating in the latest trend by offering Capitalism 3.0 by Peter Barnes as a free download with a Creative Commons license.

Digital library collections

Digital library projects continue to develop, expand, and merge.

The Open Library
Aaron Swartz calls for volunteers to contribute to a free Web-based catalog of every book ever published.

ebooks@Adelaide
The University of Adelaide Library website offers a collection of 1,200 works in digital format, including portions of Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu.

Renascence Editions
The University of Oregon makes available “an online repository of works printed in English between the years 1477 and 1799.”

Representative Poetry Online
The Department of English at the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Press make 3,162 English-language poems available online.

Authors and editors

Book editors and authors are distributing their digital works on the Web.

Lawrence Lessig
The Stanford law professor, Wired columnist, and chair of the Creative Commons project shares his work freely on the Web.

Disraeli Avenue
With the support of The Friday Project, readers can download a novella by Caroline Smailes in exchange for a donation to One in Four, a charity that provides support to people who have experienced sexual abuse and sexual violence.

Party-Directed Mediation: Helping Others Resolve Differences
This book by Gregorio Billikopf is available online as a PDF. I enjoyed working on the second edition as Billikopf’s copyeditor. His book is a great resource for employers and mediators.
[Updated on February 4, 2009]

No Chinook
K. Sawyer Paul’s novel, published through Lulu and bearing a Creative Commons license, can be downloaded for free from the author’s website, which also links to a video trailer for the book.
[Updated on February 25, 2008]

38 Poems by George Mattingly
The PDF ebook was created for a reading given at Moe’s Books in Berkeley, California, and five audio poems in MP3 format were recorded at the Monterey County Free Libraries’ Seaside Branch.
[Updated on March 31, 2008]

Flash Fiction by Ian Hocking
A weekly flash fiction podcast, released with a Creative Commons license, is read by the author who blogs at This Writing Life.
[Updated on February 26, 2008]

Retailers

Booksellers are also changing shape.

DailyLit
Ebooks are delivered in installments via email or RSS by this subscription-based service. More than 750 titles in the public domain, serialized in increments that can be read in five minutes, are available for free.

Exact Editions
This company sells magazines, books, and other documents as PDF files. Users can view free trial issues on its website.

Additional online resources