How to Download and Read Free Ebooks While Traveling
Should travelers bring paper books on the road or buy an ebook reader?
Personally, I like physically holding books in my hand and can't see myself ever getting a Kindle or other ebook reader. But sometimes it's difficult to find English-language books while traveling overseas. Also, books are heavy to carry around.
If you do find yourself stuck without something to read, there are some easy ways to read high-quality ebooks for free on your laptop, tablet computer, iPod, or smartphone without buying an ebook reader.
EPUB Reader Firefox Extension
One of the easiest ways to get free ebooks is to install the EPUB Reader for Firefox. EPUB is an open format for ebooks.
When reading a book it looks like this, though you can change the fonts according to your preferences:
How to download free ebooks with EPUB Reader
The numbers below correspond to the numbers in the screenshot below.
1. The software will prompt you to bookmark your ebook collection, but you can also add the bookmark to your toolbar manually. The URL to bookmark after you have installed the extension is: chrome://epubreader/content/catalog.xul
2. Once you are there, choose the website where you want to search for ebooks.
3. Type in your search term. In the screenshot, I choose Herodotus (highly recommended reading for a Greece trip).
4. Your search results will show up in the right pane. Click the book you want to download.
All of your ebooks will be accessible in Firefox in a nice list:
Other Free Ebook Readers
If you don’t want to use the EPUB Reader Firefox extension, you could try one of the following alternatives. (NOTE: I haven’t tried any of them, because the Firefox extension works for me.)
- FBReader (Linux and Windows)
- Stanza (Windows and Mac)
- Mobi Pocket Reader (Windows desktop, Palm, Windows Mobile,
(Thanks to addictivetips.com for the original list.)
Other Ways to Get Free Ebooks
Project Gutenberg has a library of over 33,000 free ebooks in many languages. Many of the books are in EPUB format, which can be read with one of the free EPUB readers mentioned above.
I've had better luck finding good books on Project Gutenberg than on Archive.org. Don't expect the formatting to always be perfect, but it usually is good.
There is also a mobile edition of the site at m.gutenberg.org.
You can also get free ebooks and audiobooks in EPUB and Kindle format at Archive.org.
If you want to read books in languages other than English, check out this list of sites.