Electronic Books:

A Collection of Links

Classic Bookshelf

Classic Bookshelf is a really awesome site for reading the classics of literature! The site offers public domain texts, reasons for using e-books, feedback from users, suggestions for making the reading of e-books a great experience, and a listing of last month's 100 most requested titles. The most amazing feature of this site is the control the reader has over the text. When a text is selected, the reader has the option to read in simple text or with an applet. Neither requires downloading; simply read right from the screen. With the applet, a control bar at the bottom of the screen allows the reader to adjust text spacing, colors, and text size. Other links and information are also available.

The Online Books Page

This page is maintained by the University of Pennsylvania. Search for titles by author, subject, title, or keyword. This site makes accessing titles common to university academics easy, as each title listed is available online at another site.


This site is very resourceful with a wide variety of electronic texts, including classical literature, articles, and reference books. Users do not need to download. Also, by registering, users can access free online study guides for many of the available titles. I reviewed a study guide for Macbeth, and I found it complete and informative. This feature could be very helpful and beneficial for students.

Young People's Zone

This site offers online versions of classical books that appeal to adolescents. A respectable number of titles are offered. The available e-texts include the usual classics, such as The Secret Garden and The Wind in the Willows in addition to less frequently offered titles, such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Pollyanna, and The Bobbsey Twins at School. Downloading is not necessary.


Bartleby.com is a comprehensive site for online books. Bartleby.com prides itself as "the preeminent Internet publisher of literature, reference, and verse providing students, researchers and the intellectually curious with unlimited access to books and information on the web, free of charge." Books do not need to be downloaded.
I was amazed at the selection offered at this site; I even found books by Agatha Christie! Additional features such as the "Bartleby Daily" and the "Featured Author" make this site even more enjoyable.


This site offers free online texts. Select titles by genre: African-American literature, epic, young adult, mystery, American history, etc. These e-books do not need to be downloaded, but readers can choose to do so if they would like to modify the text. Site users can also submit and read poems by other visitors (to submit a poem, users must register). Book discussions and suggested reading lists are available, too.

Web Book Publications

This site offers "thousands of free e-books." Available titles span a wide variety of subjects and genres. Be sure to check the listing price; some have fees. The title listings include both free and priced texts, published and non-published texts, and the works of novice and classical authors. Information regarding free posting and listing services is accessible. Readers must download texts.

Kids' Corner

This site's special feature is the collection of books by Beatrix Potter. The stories do not need to be downloaded; they are read from the screen page-by-page (to enable readers to see the pictures). Readers of the Potter stories can choose to read in English, read in Japanese, or listen to a narrated version in one of five languages. Other stories, such as A Christmas Carol, can also be "read" using RealAudio. I think this is a very cool site for children.


I really like this site. It would be very helpful for students in literature classes; students can access free e-books as well as free book notes. I was especially impressed with the quality of the notes. The site offers e-books and notes for over 1,500 novels. E-books and e-notes do not need to be downloaded. In addition, if users wish to register, they can also access essays and use an interactive essay editor.


This site declares it is "The World's Largest Online Library." Not only can users read titles from a selection of over 45,000 books and 360,000 magazine, journal, and newspaper articles but they can also use the toolbar to create a bibliographic reference, cite a quote, highlight text, include notes in the text, etc. This site could save an incredible amount of time for students who are writing research papers. The major disadvantage of this site is users must subscribe to Questia, and there is a fee for a subscription. On the other hand, the site would be very useful for certain academic courses, and it is possible to subscribe for only one month, so the money might be worth it in some situations.

Online Literature Library

This site offers a limited number of public domain titles, which do not need to be downloaded.

Wiretap Electronic Text Archive

Click on the link for "The Wiretap Online Library." Here you will find public domain titles, comics, articles, online magazines, and more. Although there is a wide selection, I found it difficult to identify and locate a desired text. Selections do not need to be downloaded.

Online Originals

This site features the works of authors who want to promote their books but do not wish to engage in traditional marketing and publishing practices; they are more interested in creativity and originality. The e-books from this site can be downloaded in both PDF and Palm Pilot formats. Be sure to check the downloading price; few are free of charge.

SparkNotes Classic Books

This is another site for reading the classics online. Texts do not need to be downloaded. A bonus feature is the built-in study guide with each e-book. For example, a pop-up box with character information will appear when a reader clicks on a highlighted character name. Plot summaries and analyses are also available.

The English Server Fiction Collection

The English Server offers a wide selection of literature in the public domain as well as original works submitted by web users. The site specializes in fiction, but it does not limit itself to novels. Users can also read short stories, poetry, dramas, magazines, criticisms, and more. Selections do not require downloading.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg claims to be the "Internet's oldest producer of FREE electronic books." The site offers a comprehensible list of downloadable titles. Users can also read new information about e-books, learn how to help the project, and/or help proofread e-texts.

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J. Paquette