Open library’s been doing that the whole time…. for free

By Jessamyn West

Amazon’s “Kindle Unlimited” announcement has been helping raise awareness of Open Library.

Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn’t cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization. For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is possible to read six million e-texts at the Open Library, right now. On a Kindle, or any other tablet or screen thing.

Don’t forget our easy to use interface or downloading with your choice of device or software!
sesame street book of nonsense in the bookreader

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8 Responses to “Open library’s been doing that the whole time…. for free”

  1. Lora Lee Goodson says:

    It is so nice to hear someone speak the truth — as a society I think we’ve become so used to being charged for information that we don’t even think about whether it’s right or wrong anymore. (It’s definitely wrong).

  2. RS says:

    Information is not free.
    As an author, I need to offer a slight amendment to your blog post. It takes money to buy the books, and then to pay someone to catalog the books, and keep track of the books.
    In America luckily, we have agreed that libraries are an important enough public service that we pay for them through our taxes and bonds.

  3. I’m excited to have ‘found’ openlibrary.org, but I support the point that RS makes. Writers do deserve to be paid for their work, whether they are spinning a tale or compiling information that may only ever be used by a handful of academics. Information can be shared freely, but it’s not intrinsically free. Someone, somewhere, had to work for it.

    • robilotto1 says:

      As a disabled person with no room in my budget to purchase books and no vehicle to get to the library I
      can’t tell you how happy I am to have found this site.
      Reading is my passion for I get to leave my situation behind me and get lost in a story! Thank you for providing such a service. I am forever grateful. Valerie

  4. Mary Minow says:

    To RS and LC: Yes. And openlibrary does either pay for each copy it lends, or gets a donated copy that has been paid for initially or donated by the rights holder. Only one user at a time can borrow the openlibrary copy unless the book is in the public domain or the rights holder has given unlimited permissions.

    So… the best of all worlds. Copies for people who can’t afford a monthly fee, and compensation to rights holders. The tradeoff is that there will be a waiting list for popular books, and generally only older titles are available here.

  5. Elin says:

    Hi,

    Is it really true that it is free to borrow e-books from your website?

  6. Jessamyn West says:

    Yes it’s really true. Please check out our help files and see if you can find something you like. We collect no personal information from you other than an email address and what you wish to provide.

    https://openlibrary.org/help

  7. justjoe23 says:

    Finding open library was an absolute treasure for me. Not only am I reading the books, I am now adding them from my very own home library. I live in the uk and more and more libraries are being closed all the time, so sites like open library are an absolute blessing.
    The cost of a decent book nowadays is astronomically large, and an author’s paycheck, is it not? Surely, it is the consumer’s choice if they pass it on for another to read. The greedy world we live in today, I am glad my head in always buried in a good book.