You can find just about anything on the Internet, but did you know that you can read books online for free? My favorites are the books for children, but there is something out there for everyone. Enjoy!
Project Gutenberg is an online collection of more than 25,000 public domain books. Started in 1971 with the Declaration of Independence, Project Gutenberg now offers some titles in audio format as well as a limited selection of videos and music. You won't find the most current hits here, but there are plenty of favorite family classics including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
, Anne of Green Gables
, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
. These are all available to download for free in the United States and . Since copyright laws vary in different countries, you'll want to make sure you're in compliance if you aren't in the U.S.
Google Books allows you to search not only copyright-free books, but to search and print copyrighted titles as well. You'll find a lot of overlap with Project Gutenberg, but Google Books now allows you to save books you find in your own virtual "bookshelves" so you can keep track of what you've already read and what you're looking forward to.
The International Children's Library aims to capture children's literature from around the world so that displaced families can still access stories from their own culture and language. They also want to expose children everywhere to quality stories from various cultures. The books are available in their entirety, many in more than one language. According to the library statistics, they have more than 2600 books in 48 languages. This is a must-visit site for true multi-cultural stories with beautiful illustrations.
Children's Books Online aims to create "largest collection of illustrated antique books online" through the Rosetta Project. This is a fun site to browse, but you should remember that some of these books are out of print for a reason. Many of them would be considered sexist, racist or otherwise offensive by today's standards, so I'd suggest a preview before sharing them with younger kids. Still, you'll want to stop by for some precious illustrations and old-fashioned readers and stories. There a books in a variety of languages including Maori, Spanish, Chinese and Farsi.
For something a little different, visit the Library of Congress Digital Collection. This multi-media collection includes interviews, photographs, essays and scans of original books and documents. It's not the easiest site to navigate (online results mingle with those only viewable in person at the Library), but it's worthwhile, especially if you're interested in American history.
TumbleBooks has a number of eBooks for kids. The books are designed for reading, not just browsing, and the ebook reader is easy for kids to use.