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Online books

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Links to collections of free online texts.

British Library electronic text sites

A British Library webpage (opens in a new window) containing links to freely available internet sites which are known to contain digitised (and some searchable) arts and humanities text.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg (opens in a new window) is the oldest producer of free books on the internet. Most of the books are from Western culture and you'll find literature such as novels, poetry, short stories, and drama, but also cookbooks, reference works and issues of periodicals. Most are in English, but there are also large numbers in many other languages. All the works featured are out of copyright in the US, so you won't find anything published after 1923. You can browse by author or title or search if you know what you're looking for. The top 100 lists the most popular. There are currently over 20,000 books available.


Bartleby (opens in a new window) is One of the most respected online book sites, with unlimited access to literature, reference and verse. Searchable reference works include Roget's Thesaurus, Columbia World of Quotations, Oxford Shakespeare, Columbia Gazetteer. You can search by reference, verse, fiction or non-fiction, and indexes by author, subject and title. Well worth a look.

Internet Public Library

Internet Public Library (opens in a new window)Hosted by the Drexel University in USA, this is a lively listing of many collections of online books. You can search by traditional methods or by "Grok it" which clusters your results.


Explorion (opens in a new window) is about travel and exploration. You can find here historical travelogues, full texts of classic books, journals of discovery and personal adventures by authors as diverse as Marco Polo, Cabeza de Vaca, Samuel de Champlain, Isabella Bird, Alexander von Humboldt, Richard F. Burton, Ida Pfeiffer, David Livingstone, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, Lafcadio Hearn, Annie Brassey, Theodore Roosevelt and many more. Explore the digital library by author, volume or geographic location and see the world through the eyes and words of great writers and voyagers.

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