How to Read Free Google Ebooks on Your Phone or Tablet

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The Legal Way to Read Free EBooks

Google Launches eBookstore
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

While modern books are born digital, books old enough to be in the public domain may never have seen a computer. Google has been scanning books from public libraries and other sources for several years. That means you've got access to an entire library of classic literature that you can read on the computer or on a variety of mobile devices and eBook readers.

In some cases, you may also find free books that are not public domain. Not all free books are copyright free. There are other reasons publishers may choose to make a book free, such as for a promotion or because the author/publisher just wants to get the information in front of an audience. 

Here's how to find free books (both public domain and otherwise) through Google Books. 

The first step is to go to make sure you're logged into your Google Account and go to Google Books at books.google.com

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Search for a Book

search for a book
Screen Capture

You can search Google Books for any book or topic. In this case, let's go with "Alice in Wonderland" since it's a well-known book, and there's probably a free eBook or two for this title. The original work is in the public domain, so most of the variations are just with formatting and the number of illustrations included in the work. However, you might also run into several copies for sale, as reformatting the print copy into an eBook still took some work. Some of your search results may also be related works with the same title. 

Now you can make this easier and filter out the irrelevant results. Restrict your search results using the search tools to find only free Google eBooks. 

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Finding the Free Ebooks

Free books
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Another easy way to get Free Google eBooks is to just go to the Google Play store and browse. Top Free in Books is a browsing category that lists this week's most popular free downloads. This includes public domain books and promotional books that legal copyright holders wanted to give away for free.  

"Buy" them like any other Google Book, except that you are buying them for no money.

Note: Amazon often has the same promotions running for free eBooks, so if you prefer Kindle, search Amazon and check. If they're on sale in both the Amazon and Google Play bookstores, you could also download them both. 

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Read Your Google Ebook

Read the Book or Keep Shopping.

Now that you've clicked on the

Get it now

button, you've added the book to your virtual library, and you can read it at any time, including right now. To get started reading, just click the

Read it Now

button, and your book will open up on the screen.

You can also keep shopping for more books, free or otherwise. You can get back to this and any other book at any time by clicking on the My Google eBooks link. You'll find that link on just about every page in the Google eBookstore, so look for it at any time.

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My Google Ebooks

My eBooks View.

When you click on My Google eBooks, you'll see all the books in your virtual library, both purchased and free. You can also get this information by using the My library link from the Google Books homepage.

The simplified My Google eBooks view is also what you'll see when using the Google Books app on Android.

Google Books will remember which page you were on, so you can start reading a book on your desktop computer and continue reading on your tablet or Android phone without missing a page.