Most—though not all—new books are simultaneously published as an ebook when the print version comes out. Ebooks are cheaper, on the whole. There are also special offers, when new ebooks are available as part of a reasonably cheap subscription (like Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited), though, on the whole, the kind of books Five Books experts recommend don’t tend to be included.
It’s when it comes to older books that the ebook format comes into its own. You can read some of the greatest authors of all time and most of the classics of literature without spending a cent. For example, here are the complete novels of Jane Austen, available for free.
Amongst our 20 most recommended books, books available for free as ebooks range from Plato’s Republic to Frankenstein. It also includes some of the most important science books ever written, like The Origin of Species. Even books translated into English are available for free, like War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Even though it was written in Russian, the translation we recommend, by Louise and Aylmer Maude, is also already in the public domain.
Of course, it’s not all about cost, and there are other advantages to ebooks. If you can get on top of the tech, the notetaking, highlighting, looking up of references capacity of ebooks is superior to print books. You can also synch between devices, so if you’re out and get caught without your book (Kindle), you can seamlessly carry on reading on the Kindle App on your phone.
Last but not least, ebooks are wonderful for reading in foreign languages. Gone are the days when, if you didn’t know a word, you either had to skip it or look it up in a dictionary. Now you can look them up instantly on your Kindle.
Below are our recommendations of books that are particularly suited to reading as ebooks, selected by Five Books editors.
Note: if you’re wondering which ebook reader to get, here’s our review of the various Kindles.