Open the door to public domain resources . . .
Are you interested in reading old classics? Perhaps there are books on your reading list that you hope to read someday. For some, it’s Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Others may wish to revisit nostalgic favorites like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre. And don’t forget adventure stories such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, or Robinson Crusoe. Perhaps you enjoy detective mysteries such as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White. And if you’re looking for children’s books, Little Women, Black Beauty and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz might be the ticket.
Whatever your reading interests may be, a vast treasure trove of free books is waiting for you in the public domain (all aforementioned books included). Books classified as ‘public domain’ are books whose copyright has expired and thus belong to the general public. There are many sources of free books online and I wanted to draw your attention to a couple good ones: Project Gutenberg for ebooks and LibriVox for eAudiobooks.
If you check out Project Gutenberg’s website, you’ll find over 60,000 ebooks you can download and read—absolutely free—and this collection continues to expand as more and more books are added. If you don’t already have a title in mind, browse the website for ideas. With over 60,000 books to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming at first. I like to peruse the lists of the Top 100 Ebooks and the Top 100 Authors checked out in the last thirty days. This is a good way to get an idea about what’s available and also, it’s interesting to see what other people are currently reading.
Granted these books are old, but keep in mind classics are classics for a reason. They stand the test of time and give light, insight and entertainment no matter the decade.
You’ll also find plenty of books in the public domain which are not classics per se, but who knows, you might find something just right to satisfy your eclectic tastes.
LibriVox is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to creating free audiobooks from books which are already in the public domain. I first stumbled upon a LibriVox recording while perusing YouTube channels. I was stuck at home and wanted to see if I could find a free dramatic reading of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and I did (YouTube). I was curious about the narrators and found they were volunteers with LibriVox. Part of this organization’s modus operandi is that you don’t have to be a professional voice actor to narrate and record books—after all some of our most precious memories are being read to as children. Very few of our parents were professional voice actors—and we still cherish the experience of being read to. So, you’ll find a great diversity of vocal talents in the books recorded by LibriVox volunteers. You’ll also find books narrated in languages other than English, various translations, and sometimes several versions of the same book allowing you to choose your favorite.
This groups’ motto almost reads like a battle cry, “Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain!”
Check out their website for free downloadable audiobooks HERE
If you’re interested in volunteering with LibriVox, take a look HERE
Here are a few links to a small sample of LibriVox recordings:
Let us know if you utilize either of these sources in the comments below.