Public domain books in 2023: what they are and how to download them for free (2024)

Reading for free is possible thanks to public domain books.

Public domain books in 2023: what they are and how to download them for free (1)


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ByEsteban GarcĂ­a MarcosinInternet

Every year, an untold number of books becomepublic domain. This means that they are completely free and available for download by users without fear of any problems.copyright. There are dozens ofpages to download free books, all of them are usually designed to collect books that are both royalty-free and that usecopyleft, but we also find books that havebecame public domain. So, we are going to tell you what this is and how you can download thousands of books completely free thanks to this question.


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What are public domain books?

The books ofpublic domainare all those who arecopyright free. This means that we can access the released versions without paying money for it.Any intellectual property can become public domain. What's more, all the works will end up beingpublic domain sooner or later, although the creators themselves can release their works as something in the public domain from the beginning. Something that, obviously, they do not usually do since they can live their entire lives on theCopyrightif they manage to achieve success.

Books become public domain depending on thecurrent legalityin the countryof origin of the author or edition. For example, in Spain it is 80 years if the author died before December 7, 1987 or 70 years if the author died later. As a general rule, countries have between 50 and 100 years on the exploitation of copyright after their death, something that is established by the Berne Convention.

How and where to download

If we want to fill oure-booksfrom a cataloggigantic of classicsWe can do it through very diverse web pages. Most of them tend to benon-profit projectsthat seek to bring culture and access to library collections to the entire population. This means that the projects are very limited in some aspects, but in others they arefundamental to sustain the cultural initiativeWorldwide. Among them, the most important are:

  • Project Gutenberg
  • Wikipedia/Wikimedia
  • Hispanic Digital Library
  • Open Library
  • Public domain
  • Hathi Trust
  • LibriVox

Internet Archive

It is one of the most loved and supported initiatives on the internet. From they try to recover all the existing memory on the internet and archive it. Areknown from the Wayback Machine, an application that allows us to see what web pages were like in the past. However, their work does not stop there; they havetens of millions of articles, books, images and moviesfree of copyright and public domain.They also have government archivesand totally unknown books. If you are a researcher it is areal gem.

It is useful for:

  • All types of users.
  • Fundamentally those who have a good knowledge of English.

Visit Internet Archive

Project Gutenberg

One of the oldest projects on the internet. Project Gutenberg collects millions of booksthat are no longer copyrighted. There are books in all languages, including Spanish. Additionally, you can find brilliant works from the 19th and 20th centuries, making it a very interesting opportunity to catch up on the culture. In addition, you can download them on different media, depending on what is most convenient for you.

Visita Project Gutenberg


It's hard to say anything about Wikipedia that isn't already known. This page is essential in our daily life and has always advocated being totally free of ads and beingabsolutely open. Although there are manyalternatives to Wikipedia, it is difficult to deny the fact that it has helped us with countless academic works throughout our lives. The platform is incredible and works very well, but its virtues do not end there.

We can find thousands of copyright-free documents. Among them, countless classic books, from Plato to the 20th century. All of them can be enjoyed on its platform or downloaded for greater convenience. In shortsomething to keep in mind.

It is useful for:

  • Authors looking for information for their works.
  • Primary sources, historians, journalists...
  • Lovers of classical literature.

Visit Wikisource

Hispanic Digital Library

Within the digital projects to read free books, there are many options in Spain. We haveEbiblio and Digital Biblio, but perhaps the most interesting this 2023 is theHispanic Digital Librarythat collects books that are alreadypublic domain. This year it has arrived at this libraryall the work of Miguel HernĂĄndez. Therefore, if we are looking for Hispanic authors, it is an option to take into account for the future.

It even has manuscripts from the 14th and 15th centuries, so it is a commitment to our culture.very strong. In addition, it is supported by the National Library.

It is useful for:

  • Find books in Spanish.
  • Read key works in the history of the country's literature.

Visit the Hispanic Digital Library/button]

Open Library

Another perfect website to find classic works is Open Library. It offers a huge amount of works of great quality. It is part of the same project as Internet Archive, and we can askborrowed paid books that do have copyright. It's a good initiative.

[button link="" center]Visita Openlibrary

Public domain

It is not the most visual page of all, but it is one of the easiest to use. On the left you have an extensive list of authors and it will allow you to search more easily in theirextensive catalog. It is very good and offers a lot of versatility, as always, what you are going to find are classics. Still, it's very good and very interesting.

Visit Public Domain

Hathi Trust

Hathi Trust arises as an initiative between several research organizations to put at the service of usersmillions of research articles. This allows us to dive into specific bibliography that will allow us to carry out our own research or simply learn more about a specific topic.

It will be useful if you:

  • You are a researcher
  • You are looking for a fairly extensive collection of articles.
  • You are not looking for a novel, but rather specific literature from some fields of knowledge.

Visit Hathi Trust


If what you are looking for are audiobooks, this can also be an excellent opportunity for that. There are a large number of audiobooks in Spanish frompublic domain. There are also other co-official languages ​​such as Galician and Catalan.

Visit Librivox

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As an avid enthusiast with a deep understanding of the topic, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article about accessing free books from the public domain. The article discusses various platforms and concepts related to public domain literature.

  1. Dominio PĂșblico (Public Domain):

    • Public domain refers to creative works, such as books, that are not protected by intellectual property laws, such as copyright. These works are freely available for the public to use, share, and modify without any legal restrictions.
    • The article emphasizes that books in the public domain are those without copyright restrictions, allowing users to access and download them for free.
  2. Legal Duration of Copyright:

    • The legal duration of copyright varies by country and is governed by laws like the Berne Convention. In Spain, for instance, the article mentions that the duration is 80 years if the author died before December 7, 1987, or 70 years if the author died after that date. This legal timeframe determines when a work becomes part of the public domain.
  3. Websites for Free Book Downloads:

    • The article lists several websites where users can download books for free. These platforms focus on providing access to a wide range of literature, including classics and works in the public domain. Some prominent platforms mentioned are:
      • Known for archiving digital content, including books, with a vast collection of articles, images, and movies in the public domain.
      • Project Gutenberg: One of the oldest digital library projects offering a collection of books with expired copyrights.
      • Wikipedia/Wikimedia: Beyond its role as an encyclopedia, Wikipedia/Wikimedia also hosts documents, including classic books, that are in the public domain.
      • Biblioteca Digital HispĂĄnica: A digital library in Spain that collects works in the public domain, including those by Hispanic authors.
      • Open Library: A platform affiliated with, allowing users to borrow books with copyrights and access a plethora of works in the public domain.
  4. Hathi Trust:

    • Hathi Trust is mentioned as an initiative among various research organizations to provide users with access to millions of research articles. It serves as a resource for in-depth research and exploration of specific fields of knowledge.
  5. LibriVox:

    • LibriVox is highlighted as a platform for audiobooks in the public domain. It offers a large collection of audiobooks in multiple languages, including Spanish, Galician, and Catalan.

The article provides a comprehensive overview of how individuals can access a vast array of literature for free, emphasizing the significance of public domain works and showcasing various platforms that facilitate this access.

Public domain books in 2023: what they are and how to download them for free (2024)


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