Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 17:26

I would like to share ebooks that are DRM-free, no cost (gratis), freely licensed, and readable for you Ubuntu users. I guarantee you can read ebooks from these resources immediately on Ubuntu with default reader (or Calibre) without the nonfree, DRM-based Adobe Digital Edition or such program. The number of ebooks reaches more than 2.000.000 and are provided by many online websites which have been recommended by Defective By Design campaign. The ebooks usually available in PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and DVJU formats. You can use built-in ebook readers included in your system: Okular (Kubuntu), Evince (Ubuntu), Atril (Ubuntu MATE); to read them or simply install Calibre to read them. Finally, happy reading!

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How To Read

Just open PDF or EPUB or MOBI book filetype you downloaded on your ebook reader. On Ubuntu, it is GNOME Evince, also called Document Reader. On Kubuntu, it is Okular, which supports multitabbing. If you are not satisfied with your default readers, just install Calibre Ebook Reader, and enjoy the fully featured reading experience with it.

(does not support EPUB and MOBI, supports PDF and DJVU)

Reading  on Ubuntu GNOME
(supports PDF, EPUB, DJVU, MOBI)

Reading on Kubuntu (KDE Plasma)
(supports all formats)

Reading on another Ubuntu Flavors

Ebook Formats

PDF: the most popular digital book format.
EPUB: popular modern ebook format, especially for ebook reader devices.
MOBI: also known as Amazon Kindle's format, a similar format to EPUB.
DJVU: scanned books format.

1. Project Gutenberg

I must place Project Gutenberg first because it is really the pioneer of DRM-free ebooks projects. Project Gutenberg provides more than 57000 ebook in public domain (no copyright in the United States) so most are free to copy. No registration required, no cost to download at all.

2. Internet Archive: Text

A giant of free ebooks download provider. Ebook available in PDF, EPUB, MOBI. But please beware, there are books with "BORROW" buttons, they are not readable on Ubuntu because of DRM.

3. Wikibooks, Wikipedia Sibling

If Wikipedia is the encyclopedia, then Wikibooks is the library. You can find books in all modern subjects here, including Computing, Language, Mathematics, Engineering, Science, even Cooking Recipes. For Wikibooks English, there are 3,000+ books now available. The difference to Wikisource is between new and old; Wikibooks contributors write new instructional books, while Wikisource contributors rewrite old/published pyshical books. All ebooks available in PDF. No cost, no login required, and all freely licensed.

How to download: open up a page like Geometry for Elementary School and click PDF Version or on the left panel Download as PDF link there. 

4. Wikisource, Another Wikipedia Sibling

Wikisource is an online library providing digital version of physical books, manuscripts, and documents from physical libraries around the world as downloadable ebooks in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI. All source texts are mostly in Public Domain, or simply freely licensed in the first place. All ebooks are freely licensed as CC BY-SA. To differ it with Wikibooks, here you will not find modern tutorial books about Ubuntu or such, but classical manuscripts like Shakespeare's literature works and such. No cost, no registration required.

How to download: open up a book page like, for example, Shakespeare's Hamlet Act 1, and click either PDF, EPUB, or MOBI link on the left panel and read the book on your ebook reader.

5. DigiLibraries

A huge library of gratis ebooks without DRM, in a broad list of categories and displayed nicely. You will find each ebooks available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI, with each file size, and no login required. You just have to whitelist your ad blocker for this site. You may find books in Psychology field like Freud's Psychoanalysis for Beginners , in many more.

6. Open Books from Project Calibre

Calibre, the famous ebook reader mentioned above, has a public project to provide thousands of ebooks without DRM on their Open Books page. However, not all ebooks here are gratis, so you just need to type  price:0  keyword on search box to show all no cost ebooks.


A respected giant Open Access resource to 1,000,000+ scientific papers in physics, computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering, and more fields. You can download all papers in PDF formats at no cost and without registration.

Note: if you want more e-print sites like, see big list here.


It has 24,000+ published scientific and mathematics papers in PDF. It is also an Open e-Print archive very similar to, but you may interested in why it exists here.

9. PLOS Open Access Journals

For students and researchers, have you ever heard of Open Access? Here's PLOS, Public Library of Science, a giant Open Access online resource providing Scientific Journals which all articles are in free license (CC BY) and downloadable as PDF. Today, PLOS ONE only has 200,000+ articles. No download cost, no login required. PLOS today publishes 8 different journals:

10. FLOSS Manuals

Where to get high-quality, free ebooks of GNU/Linux and Free Software/Open Source? Go to FLOSS Manuals and download some. You will feel like home here, seeing books from Audacity Audio Editing to Inkscape Vector Graphic Editing, and from Online Collaboration with Etherpad to Intro to GNU/Linux Command Lines. Ebooks available in PDF and EPUB. Personally, FLOSS Manuals is my favorite and I always recommend this to my friends.

11. Free Tech Books

Want a computer-oriented free ebooks provider? Here's Free Tech Books for you to cover all topics starting from basic computer science to operating systems (including GNU/Linux), from GIMP's Manual to Python Hacking. However, this site is actually not hosting copies of ebooks on their server, but only collecting and presenting the links to us. Most ebooks are available as PDF.

12. Ubuntu Official Ebooks

Yes, official user guides from The Ubuntu Project for Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04, and 18.04 LTS versions in HTML and PDF format. The URL address is quite easy to type:

13. Ubuntu Manual Project

This is a collaboration project to produce free guide book of Ubuntu. You can download the ebook as PDF. The URL address is also easy to remember:

14. TLDP Ebooks

Many long-time GNU/Linux users will recognize The Linux Documentation Project (TLDP) and free ebooks they published. For example, you can take a start from GNU/Linux Command Line Tools Summary (PDF) and Intro to GNU/Linux (PDF). Ah, yes, and there is also a 1700 pages of GNU/Linux Dictionary (PDF) there. This site is very nostalgic for me, personally, and truly helpful back then. I hope you will find their ebooks useful as well.

15. Open Culture: Section Computer Science

This is a section from Open Culture website to list some computer science textbooks mainly in programming (Python, Java, C/C++ and more) and available in PDF. Many of them can be downloaded by single click of "Save Link As" or few more clicks but still easy to get, at no cost, and no registration. If you wonder what kind of website Open Culture is, read the FAQ, and browse more pages like All 800 Free Ebooks, All 200 Free Textbooks in Science and Educations, Physics, Math, and K-12 Texhbooks.

16. Free Ebook Foundation: Programming Books

The biggest resource in the world now for programming ebooks. All freely licensed, no cost, and no registration required to download. You will find ebooks in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. You can have everything starting from Ada and Assembly, to Java and Python, plus Git and SVN, plus Bash Shell and FreeBSD free books here. But please take a note that this giant list also includes work-in-progress, HTML-only books, and some books only available in another sites which require registration. Thanks to Free Ebook Foundation to curate this giant list!

17. Planet Ebook

The from Australia provides classic literature books in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats at no cost and also without registration needed. You will find here Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Odyssey by Homer, Emma by Jane Austen, and some more. Take a note that Planet Ebook indeed made small number of ebooks but all of them are high-quality for genuine satisfaction. All source books are already in Public Domain.

18. DOAB

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) as its name suggests, is a search engine to find published Open Access academic ebooks in all fields at no cost and without registration. DOAB is an index of Open Access books from member publishers like The MIT Press and Oxford University Press. All books available in PDF format.

How to download: click on the Free Access link in each result.

19. DOAJ

Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ), similar to DOAB, but providing Journals rather than Books. Here you will find 11,000+ journals and 3,000,000+ articles from 127 countries downloadable at no cost and without registration in free license (CC BY-SA). All journals and articles are available as PDF. You may see university members as well as publishers member of DOAJ.

20. LibriVox

In LibriVox you find 11,000+ public domain books read by human voice (called "audiobooks"), available in ebook form + audio form, you can read and listen in the same time. LibriVox Project is an acoustical reading of Project Gutenberg's books (ah, yes, all textbooks here are from the Gutenberg) with all readings released in Public Domain. So of course, the textbooks are in EPUB and MOBI as they released by the Gutenberg. LibriVox is the last in this list but, personally, it is the first thing I found out some month ago to be the first inspiration for me to write up this list. Thank you LibriVox!

How to download: the textbook is downloadable via Online Text link on the left panel, while the audio reading is downloadable individually in each chapter or completely as ZIP via Download button.

Worth Mentioning

Here's some other important sources that are good but not precisely similar to Internet Archive or FLOSS Manuals in their website appearance but they have real ebooks for you.

How About The Open Library?

Unfortunately, Open Library, a project from Internet Archive, provides many ebooks with DRM in their front page (the ones with "BORROW" buttons) and requires you to install the proprietary Adobe Digital Edition (ADE) program. You cannot have ADE on Ubuntu. You cannot read such ebook on Evince, Okular, nor Calibre. So it is not listed here because all free books there are accessible already from Internet Archive.

Closing Words

I hope this list helps you a lot to find truly free ebooks and enjoy them on your Ubuntu computer. Please correct me if you find any error to my links and explanations above, or if you find new recommendations I missed. Finally, go ahead and enjoy books!

About Defective By Design

Thanks to Defective By Design campaign, ultimately for their DRM-free Book Providers List, I can write this list. This campaign, funded by the FSF, educates people and publishers around the world to eliminate DRM in ebooks and software. DRM, or they prefer to call it Digital Restrictions Management, is a certain system or technology to make us the reader could not read and copy our own ebooks freely as we wish. So they created lists, including ebook providers list to help us find (and also contribute!) free ebooks without DRM.


This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.