Project Gutenberg: Download Free eBooks

Download free eBooks using the Project Gutenberg library. It is completely free and you can download any eBook that you can imagine at no cost to you.

If you want to read or download free ebooks, one of the best sources is Project Gutenberg. The majority of readers prefer physical books but in this era of smartphones, it is becoming very important to be smart. It is now very necessary to make everything including books fit into your phone.

I have already written several articles about how and where to download free ebooks. One of the major places I mentioned is the Z library and its alternatives.

In this new article, we will be looking at another free ebooks website which is the Project Gutenberg online library. Take a look at the table of content below. If you find a topic of interest, simply click on it to jump to the particular article.

What is Project Gutenberg?

Project Gutenberg, simply “PG” is an online library that distributes ebooks for free. According to many, PG is the oldest digital library in history.

The PG is founded by Michael S Hart somewhere in 1971. Since then, PG has been serving many readers with great books to date. As of the time of this article, the website boasts over 60,000 premium ebooks available for free.

I have written an earlier article about a similar library known as the Library Genesis. You can also read about it if you want more sources to get free ebooks. 

Is Project Gutenberg Legal?

Yes!. PG is legal from all angles in the USA. The website targets old books for which copyrights have expired so it is not infringing on any copyright.
There is a physical address on the website which also means that the owner or owners are not worried about getting sued. That is exactly what you do if you are clean.
It could be illegal in some countries but in the USA, it is completely legal and safe.

One of the completely legal online libraries you can also think of is the ScienceDirect library. You can get awesome scientific research papers for free. I covered that library in an earlier article which you can read to learn more. 

How to Use PG

The website is very easy to use. You just get on the website and download anything you want with no registration required. It is that simple but there are a few things you must know which I will explain below.

Gutenberg Homepage

Project-Gutenberg-Best-Free-Ebooks-Portal-For-Everyone-_1_ is the official website address of the library. As soon as you visit, you will land on the Homepage which is similar to the one in the screenshot above. The page ushers you in with a few of the site’s latest ebook uploads.

Below the latest books panel is a brief history of the whole website and how it came into existence. You also have the chance to know other uses of the website as you scroll to the bottom.

You can also learn how to use ScienceDirect Hub to find scientific research papers. It is also completely legal and I have covered it in an earlier article.  

Search a Book

  • There are so many ways to search for content on the website. The easiest is to just type the name of the book into the “Quick Search” bar and it will provide the results.
  • The other one is to use the “Search and Browse” tab which will also give you other advanced search options to work with.
  • The beginning of the page gives you the option to check out the most popular books, the latest books, or just select a random book. These are the very first options you see as soon as you click on the “Search and Browse” tab.
  • Right after that, there is a Quick Search bar again, and below that is the Advanced Search. This one allows you to narrow down your search by being specific with the book you want to view or download.
  • You have the option to search by author, title, subject, etc. You can use this search option if you know exactly what you want.

Right below the “Advanced Search” is the “Browsing Options” search feature. This is more of a hierarchy browsing system where you can browse by Author Names in alphabetical order or by Book Titles in alphabetical order. You can also browse by category.

When searching for books on the Project Gutenberg website, these are the best options to go for.

Project Gutenberg Filetypes

The ebooks on the website come in different formats for different applications or devices to read. Below are the formats.

  • HTML: There is an HTML format that you can open in any web browser.
  • EPUB (With Images / Without Images): This file type supports only EPUB readers. The website provides one with images and the other without images so when selecting, be specific.
  • Kindle (With images/Without images): This is for the Amazon Kindle reader. Note that one has images and the other doesn’t.
  • Plain Text UTF-8: This one is a NotePad-compatible file type. Any NotePad application can read this file type.

These are the major formats of ebooks you can get on PG.

View Or Download

You can easily view the books online or download them to your device. The best format to easily view in the browser is the HTML format.

There are other formats that you can also save to your Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive accounts.

Other places you can download free ebooks

There are several other online libraries where you can download free ebooks. Below is a list of some of them. I have also specified the types of ebooks some of them are best for.

  • Z library – Good for all types of ebooks.
  • Library Genesis
  • ScienceDirect – Downloading scientific research papers
  • Sci-Hub – Another place you can get scientific research papers. You can also get other ebooks completely free to download.
  • Scopus – Citation database for students.

These are some of the other places you can download free ebooks.


In short, getting ebooks from Project Gutenberg is completely legal and safe. If you could not find any book on this website, there are other Project Gutenberg alternatives that I have already written about. You can check them out.

If you have any questions or suggestions, kindly leave a comment below.

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