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Where to Find Affordable Old Books Online

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The copyright on any book runs out 100 years after its original publication. A few decades ago, this meant that any company could repackage classics and sell them for an amazing markup. Nowadays, it means that students can track down many older books on the Internet and obtain them at no cost.

If the book was published before 1913, the copyright is up and you may be able to find the full text online. However, it takes someone with the patience or a paid job to track down the book and scan it for use. Here are some great places to search for old books.

  • Google Books is the best place to start, as it will provide copies of the book in multiple formats, including PDF. However, it allows you to search magazines, and books not fully available online for free. To help narrow down the noise, it is best to use the advanced search to specify the book title, author, and publication date.
  • The Internet Archive offers a slew of books online. When Microsoft ended its book-scanning project, many folks were kind enough to save the results and re-upload them to the Internet Archive.
  • Project Gutenberg offers another 42,000 books available in PDF, Kindle formats, and others.
  • Finally, search the Internet. There are many sites offering specific types of books online. For example, Loebulus has scanned most of the books from the Loeb Classical library that have passed the copyright mark.

Remember, if you cannot find the book online, there are other options, so do not lose hope in tracking down that old book.

By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor

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