Money Mondays: How to Get Free Classic Books for Download

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

We all know we can borrow books from the public library to read them for free, but here a way to actually own the books without having to return them.

Public Domain

In case you haven’t heard, 1/1/2019 was not only New Year’s Day, it was also Public Domain Day.

What is Public Domain Day?

A quick history:  Back in 1999, works from 1923 were already set to become public domain, based on the original 75 year copyright term.  However, Congress extended the term by another 20 years, resulting in a 95 year copyright term for works dating from 1923-1977.

Now, for the first time in 20 years, a large number of published works entered the public domain.  Next year, works from 1924 will become public domain.

What does this mean to you?

This means books, movies, cartoons, songs published in 1923 are now available for anyone without repercussions from U.S. Copyright Law.  For one, you can download them for your own use.  Or, you can build upon the original and create new works without permission or payment.

A blog post from Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain listed several books from popular authors:

Of course books published prior to 1923 that have expired copyrights are already free for download.  Just a couple of examples:

Willa Cather, My Antonia

Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book

Check out The Project Gutenberg for an extensive list of books free for download.

Download for off-line use

If you are concerned about whether you need an internet connection to read these books, you don’t.  As long as you download them to your device such as your laptop, tablet, smart phone, e-reader etc. in the format that you need such as PDF, EPUB, Kindle, HTML or plain text, you do not need to be connected to the internet.  You do need to be able to power your device. in an outage.

Of course, if you prefer hard copies of the books, you can buy them used at garage sales, used books stores, or Amazon at reduced prices.

Are you building a classics book library?  Please share your favorite ways to add to your collection in the comments below.

© Apartment Prepper 2019


Prefer more current books? You can also get access to current books via KindleUnlimited.

Aware traveler

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  1. And out of print books can be downloaded for listening free from
    These books are read by volunteers and the voices are delightful.

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