iPad 101: Get Your Free ePub eBooks at Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg

Waiting for Apple's iPad and its iBooks and iBookstore app? The outstanding Project Gutenberg has 30,000 free-as-in-beer-and-and-as-in-speech ePub format eBooks to help keep you start building your library today.

If you're not already familiar with the geeky details, ePub is the open, free-flowing eBook format that Apple is using for iBooks. However, let's caveat that "open" piece -- ePub books bought from the iBookstore will be using Apple's FairPlay DRM (digital rights management) which means that while ePub is a widely supported format, Apple ePub books won't work on other devices, and ePub books using other DRM (like Adobe Content Server) won't work on the iPad. Headache, right? Well, the good news is DRM-free ePub eBooks -- like those from Project Gutenberg -- should work on the iPad and pretty much everything else.

To use Project Gutenberg, just click on the link above and browse or search away. If you're not sure where to start, try their Top 100 list. When you find something you like, scroll down to the EPUB link and download the file.

Apple is also giving us an easy-as-iTunes way to drag, drop, manage and sync free ePub books over to the iPad. (Hopefully iPhone owners will one day get the same ability, though in the meantime we have the powerful if less elegant super-combo of Calibre and Stanza.)

If you know of any other great sources for free ePub content -- or any terrific free eBooks you want to recommend -- tell us about them in the comments.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iPad 101: Get Your Free ePub eBooks at Project Gutenberg


Well, as a traditionally published author (paper), I'm on a big learning curve to see about the feasibility of epublishing my own PDFs to fans via my website. So this is all more fuel for the fire. Thanks! ch:

Actually, we do know Apple that will "give us an easy-as-iTunes way to drag, drop, manage and sync free ePub books over to the iPad". From the iBooks page:
"And you can add free ePub titles to iTunes and sync them to the iBooks app on your iPad."

I'll give the Apple book store a try, but it's going to have to be VERY good to compete with the Kindle app, which synchronizes my bookmarks across my Kindle and iPhone ... and soon, iPad. Something tells me iBooks isn't going to integrate as nicely with my Kindle.

I'm in this ridiculous anticipatory stage, and I just downloaded a bunch of books from the site that I feel like I should read in life. Like the wealth of nations, communist manifesto, divine comedy and bunches of others. If only they had so many more. I could skip ibookstore and deal with an extra step for putting books on my ipad.

It's pretty easy to put books on your iPad--Go into itunes, File, add to Library, then select the folder where your epubs live, and voila! Ready to go. Just open iBooks, and all of them will be sitting on your bookshelf.

Science Fiction fans should check out the Baen Free Library:http://www.baen.com/library/
The introductory text is well worth the read :-)
Dozens of DRM-free books (ePUB is one of the formats) by well-know SF authors such as David Drake, Eric Flint, Lois McMaster Bujold, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

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Thanks, this is really a great source for free ebooks, but do you know if there is an app of this for android?

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