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Posted by on Feb 14, 2014 in Moving to Costa Rica, Technology, Tips, Uncategorized | 10 comments

5 Sources for Free eBooks for Expats

Free EbooksI love books. I love the feel of a book in my hands while reading; the heft. I love turning pages and (gasp) dog-earing pages I want to come back to. I love marking up books and basically wearing them out.

More than the love of books, however, is the love to read.   When we decided to sell just about everything we owned in order to move to Costa Rica, one of the sell-offs was our library – excuse me while I wipe a tear away.

Hundreds of books, some that we had for years and were visited frequently, all found new homes. The space they took up, their weight, and the fear of the books molding, were all reasons we could not bring them with us.

9 suitcases of “stuff” came with us to Costa Rica and not one book was in them. Instead, we brought a Kindle and an iPad with a Kindle app on it for our reading fix. While not the same as holding a “real” book I have come to appreciate the eBook.

I like the fact that eBooks are typically much less expensive than their paper counterparts. Even more than that I found that I could get my reading fix for free.

Here are 5 ways I have found to get free eBooks.

1).  Project Gutenberg

The Gutenberg press, invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid 1400’s, created the printinting revolution. Project Gutenberg is a fitting name for a collection of eBooks available for download at no cost.

Most of the books on PG are available because their copyright has expired and therefore they are in the public domain. Other books have been donated and the copyright waved so that the public can have free access to them.

If you enjoy the Classics or older writers who have long since left this world, then PG is a good choice. It is where I go when I want my Mark Twain fix or to find obscure books – like the one I found on stage magic and illusions that was written in the late 1800’s.

2).  Children’s Books Online

We do not have children but I had come across ChildrensBooksOnline and I knew that some of the readers of Costa Rica Curious could use the information.

The Children’s Books Online project started in 1996 with one man and a handful of books and now is an organization of many volunteers with tens of thousands of children’s books, most with illustrations.

There are many different niches on the site, after you click into the library you chose an an age/reading group: pre-reader, early ready, intermediate reader, etc… Once in the appropriate reading level area, you will see all the books available.

3).  Twitter

You can use Twitter to find free eBooks. Many fledgling writers offer their books for free at one time or another and many use Twitter to let their readers know.

In the search bar of Twitter use the following hashtags to find recent eBooks available for free: #ebook combined with #free, #freebie, or #bookgiveaway.

This method will give you some more recent titles, but you have to wade through a mess of marketing to get at them and they will most likely be from an author you have never heard of. But who knows what you may find? Some of my favortite writers are those in which I took a stab at a free book from an author I had never heard of and ended up enjoying it.

4).  The Internet Archive (

According to the site, is:

“The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public.”

As such, the website is HUGE, offering over: 1.5 million Videos, 124, 000 Live Music Concerts, 1.8 million Audio Recordings and 5.9 million Texts.

Have fun browsing.

5). Your Public Library

One of the greatest tips we were given, regarding free eBooks, was from Jen’s mom who told us about the eBook program at her public library.

We figured if her small town library in Wisconsin had an eBook program, our small suburb of Dallas would as well.

Before we left for Costa Rica we strolled into my hometown’s library and became members. We now have digital access, here in Costa Rica, to thousands of recent books – even books that have just been released.

For example – Stephen King, a favorite author of mine, has 3 web pages of eBooks available from our library, about 30 of his books. Other authors and books we have seen or downloaded:  Nelson Demille, John Grisham, the Hunger Game trilogy, all of the Game of Thrones books, and many more.

This has been my favorite hunting-ground for new books to read. As a bonus, the library I use allows the download of 5 songs a week from a pretty good catalogue of music.


So, there you have it. Resources that should keep your reading mind busy for a while. All for the low, low price of NADA.

I know there are a ton of other free resources for free eBooks. Kindle, for one, I know rotates some books as free. If you know of another great free eBook resource, don’t be shy, share in the comments below.



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Greg Seymour is a quitter. At 41 Greg and his wife Jen quit their jobs, sold damn near everything they owned and became Intentionally Unemployed and retired early to Costa Rica.
In addition to writing on this blog, Greg has written for other online publications and has written two popular books about living in Costa Rica:
Greg Seymour Amazon Author Page

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  1. You missed BookBub, probably the best for free and cheap Kindle books. You choose your favourite categories and they will email you a selection every day. No need ever to be without something to read. Liz

    • Very cool…thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tips. I hadn’t thought of searching on Twitter. Will give it a go.

    • Thanks for reading. There are so many free sources out there.

  3. I have considered moving to Costa Rica. do you have any suggestions on how to get prescription medicine shipped/mailed to Costa Rica. I take Enbrel and a CR pharmacist said it is not available there yet. Have any of your friends had experience with this dilemma?

    Thanks. Also, is it fairly easy to find affordable (in safe area) housing there still? It seems on craigslist the prices have risen quite a bit.


    • Hi,

      Sorry, I am not the one to ask about meds. It is not something I have to deal with and so I have not had to figure it out. Try the Expats in Costa Rica Face Book page (link is on my Resources page). There are 2000 people in that group and they can normally provide some insight.

      Affordable is relative. Is $400 a month affordable or $1000. Prices indeed have gone up but the best strategy I have found is to get to the town you want to live in, rent a place short term, and start networking like crazy. You will find the rentals not advertised through CL or with realtors and they will be less expensive than those advertised. This is how we found our rental and we are happy with are rental rate. Good luck.

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