List of Free Online Libraries

This list is split into two sections: legal libraries and illegal ones. The legal libraries only host books that are in the public domain, whereas the illegal ones host books that are still under copyright. As for why pirating books is acceptable, the Imperial Library of Trantor puts it quite nicely:

Copyright laws are obsolete. With the technology to copy books without cost, we can finally have universal access to culture. We can provide the tools to allow everybody to read any book without dependence on their monetary resources.

Of course, we have to feed the authors, but with the capitalist way of commercializing culture, we are doing a really bad job of that. We are feeding big corporations, not the authors.

Legal Libraries

  • Project Gutenberg - This is the best of the legal libraries. They have a very large selection, and the ebooks are usually high quality. If the book you're looking for is in the public domain, check here first. Note that this website only checks for whether or not books are in the public domain in the United States. What is public domain in the US may not necessarily be public domain elsewhere, so it could be illegal to download a book from here if that book is not in the public domain where you live. Also note that this website blocks connections from VPNs and Tor.

  • LibriVox - Similar to Project Gutenberg, but for audio books. These recordings are done by volunteers, so the quality may vary. This website also uses the US's definition of public domain, so the same warnings about downloading in a different country apply here.

  • Planet eBook - A small library dedicated only to classic literature. These are the books that everyone had to read in English class in secondary school. Note that this website only checks for whether or not books are in the public domain in Australia.

  • Marxists.org - A huge collection of books written by communists and anarchists. Most of these books are presented as web pages, not epubs or pdfs.

  • The Anarchist Library - Self-explanatory.

Illegal Libraries

  • Imperial Library of Trantor This is the best of the illegal libraries, in my opinion. It only offers books in epub format, and the books are checked for quality before they are approved (this is just a general skimming to make sure there are no glaring formatting errors, not a thorough proofreading for typos). Due to the illegal nature of the website, it is only accessible as a Tor hidden service. You will need to use Tor Browser to access it. This is for your safety, as well as theirs.

  • Library Genesis (list of mirrors) - This is the largest of the illegal libraries, but it does not have the quality control that Trantor does. If you can't find the book you're looking for on Trantor, try searching here. This library also has magazine articles, comic books, and even scientific articles.

  • B-OK (onion mirror) - Very similar to Library Genesis. Try this one if you can't find your book there.

  • Sci-Hub (onion mirror) - A library that only hosts scientific articles.

  • Textbook Nova - A library for college textbooks and other school content.


If you'd like to add a library to this list, make sure that it meets these criteria before adding it:

  1. It must offer all of its books for free.

  2. It must allow anyone to download their books. Libraries that require the user to register for an account before downloading, or libraries that are invite-only, do not qualify.

  3. It must have a sufficiently large collection of books. Use your common sense to determine how large this is. Exceptions to this rule can be made for libraries with a very specific purpose, like Planet eBook, which hosts only classic literature.

  4. It should not be redundant. If there is another library on this list that does the same thing as your library, and you can find just about all of the books on your library over there, then don't add it to the list.