Free reads--Best free books to download?
February 13, 2013 8:35 PM   Subscribe

I have to travel very light. It's going to be a boring trip. I have an iPhone. I'm looking to read on the cheap. What are the best free books to download to my iPhone?

SciFi and fantasy are easy reads while traveling, and I'm not adverse to a good mystery.

I've already read most of the free classics--Sherlock Holmes, etc.

What have you read from free current fiction that you would recommend? If you have an absolutely gangbuster engrossing non-fiction, throw it in the mix.
posted by BlueHorse to Grab Bag (21 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Cory Doctorow's books are available for free and they are pretty good.

I read the first book of the Joe Pitt Casebooks by Charlie Huston as a free ebook and enjoyed it much more than I probably should have.

Check with your local library, I'm sure they'll have lots of good choices.
posted by sacrifix at 8:49 PM on February 13, 2013

PG Wodehouse is light and funny and would be a great travel read.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 8:56 PM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

My public library has modern popular ebooks for checking out for up to 3 weeks.
I can check them out over the internet using my library card, if your library supports this you can get some really good books for free.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:58 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Blindsight by Peter Watts is a pretty fun read.
posted by etc. at 9:11 PM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

There's a Complete Lovecraft floating about that some lady put together a few years ago. It really is a complete Lovecraft.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:24 PM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Three of's anthologies are free on Amazon.
posted by rtha at 9:27 PM on February 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here's the complete Lovecraft mentioned above.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:42 PM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Six SF lists at Readlists.
Benjamin Rosenbaum, The Ant King and Other Stories.
Charles Stross, Accelerando.

The Baen Free Library usually has some reasonable options, currently including David Weber's on Basilisk Station.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 9:56 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite] has a wide range of public domain books.
posted by Sheila Nagig at 10:20 PM on February 13, 2013 has a wide range of public domain books.

This is so. What were some of your favorites?

Charles Stross, Accelerando.
Read this!

I've been enjoying the short stories at This Rocketship Will Crash, lately.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:56 PM on February 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Kelly Link's short story collections Magic for Beginners and Stranger than Fiction are both available for free downloads. If you haven't read them already, I highly recommend them.
posted by tan_coul at 11:42 PM on February 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's worth remembering that while the US-based is generally unable to provide files from after 1923, copyright laws in other countries are not so restrictive. If you are in Canada (, Australia (, or elsewhere, their collections, while smaller, contain works of more recent vintage. So, Phillip Marlowe instead of Sherlock Holmes, if you fancy it.

Munsey's, of course, is a weird treasure land of free pulp, along with the related Black Mask.
posted by mumkin at 1:37 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Er, by Stranger Than Fiction, I of course mean Stranger Things Happen. It's been a long day...
posted by tan_coul at 2:16 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Came to Nth the Baen Free Library.

Additionally, Baen has released a LOT of their stuff that's not part of the Free Library on CD inserts inside other books (for example, the entire Honor Harrington series was inserted on CD inside the then-latest title _Mission of Honor_). Those CDs are freely redistributable, and often find their way to the Internet.

Getting those books onto your phone is an exercise left to the student, but Dropbox + iBooks works pretty well for me.
posted by hanov3r at 6:29 AM on February 14, 2013

I like the works of Jane Austen.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:26 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Among the lesser-known classics, let me recommend:
Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat
G. K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow (a very strong influence on Lovecraft, and occasionally referenced in his work)

On the nonfiction front, if you haven't read Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, it's as relevant now as it was in 1852, and a fun read to boot.
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:34 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry for not having a specific suggestion, but I love to browse the Amazon "Bestsellers" list for free books. Note that the right side is all the free books in order by bestselling. Some of them are not great, I admit. Hopefully the reviews can help you find something that would suit you.
posted by freezer cake at 9:28 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Miracle Jones, the crazy bastard behind This Rocketship Will Crash which sebastienbailard mentioned above, has two wildly demented scifi novels available for free on Smashwords: Sharing and Shifting.
posted by zjacreman at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ditto Blindsight, Accelerando. Besides Link's collections, check out Small Beer Press' other creative commons licensed collections by John Kessel, Maureen McHugh, and Ben Rosenbaum.

H. Beam Piper's charming Little Fuzzy
posted by Zed at 5:31 PM on February 14, 2013

Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott
posted by pimli at 9:28 PM on February 16, 2013

Response by poster: Wow! You guys are fantastic.

I appreciated the recommends for places to go for free books, but for this trip, I'm really glad people recommended individual books.

I've got a couple in line for my trip, and I'll be looking into all of them in the future.

Many thanks to all.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:23 AM on February 19, 2013

« Older Questions to ask before an acquisition?   |   Difficult cooking techniques or recipes Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.