Public Domain eBooks: now right at your doorstep!

Exciting news! We have a new addition to our eBooks offering at Winnipeg Public Libraries! We now are providing access to over 20,000+ free eBooks – that don’t count against your download limit, that are always available, and that you can never have fines on! Meet our new Public Domain Collection – books that were either published as Creative Commons books or have entered the public domain because their copyright has expired.

This collection is provided by Project Gutenberg, and is separate and distinct from the regular eBook collection. This means: 

  • these books will not appear in regular searches from our catalogue – you must follow the link from our OverDrive site to a separate collection
  • you do NOT need to sign in to download titles
  • eBooks checked out in this way do not count against your checkout limit
  • these titles have no licence limits, so are always available for download – perfect if you just want to read something right now!
  • these titles do NOT expire like regular library books – perfect for if you are going on long holidays!
  • you will still need Adobe Digital Editions or a mobile device with the OverDrive Media Console app installed in order to open eBooks 

As it is a free collection, you should be aware of the following:

  • formatting may not be as ‘pretty’ as you are used to in purchased eBooks. It doesn’t mean your display is broken or there is something wrong with the file. Generally, this is most evident with Tables of Contents and images – the book text is usually fine.
  • Most of the resources in the collection predate 1917, due to the way copyright law works in theUS. However, this means that there is a vast wealth of the classics in the collection – you can find books by Plato, Oscar Wilde, Charlotte Bronte, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and many many more.
  • Searching and browsing in the interface is different from using our regular catalogue. 

For a great start to the books offered, check out the Top 100 downloads from Project Gutenberg – this page is updated daily with the previous day’s hot titles. Currently, thanks to the Disney release of John Carter, the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs are high on the list!

Finding/ Using the Collection 

This new collection is available from the left hand sidebar of the OverDrive site, with an image of books and the caption Additional eBooks. Always Available.

This will take you to the Public Domain section of the site, where you can browse by subject or search for specific titles.

Public Domain eBooksClick on Download in order to access the eBook. You will still need a program in order to read the eBook. We strongly recommend Adobe Digital Editions.  You will be given the opportunity to either save or open their file. From this stage forward, getting the eBook to an eReader or other device is the same as with library books – you just skip the checkout step. If you have more questions about your device, a complete list of resources for each device is available at:

Overdrive AppYou can also use the OverDrive app in order to get eBooks on mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and some newer eReaders such as the Kobo Vox! The interface is a little different. In order to find the collection, go to Browse. ‘Browse Public Domain eBook Titles’ now appears at the bottom of the list.

Clicking on this link will bring you to an outside page with a different look and feel. Here, you can search or browse the books in much the same way as the website version.

When you find a book you want, simply click on download.  Again, the app will not ask for any credential or library information – this is a link to a permanent download of the file, with no checkout or return required.

 An icon with the file will open. You can now open the file and enjoy your book instantly and forever!


One response to “Public Domain eBooks: now right at your doorstep!

  1. Pingback: Which eReader is for me? | Readers' Salon

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