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Is there any better feeling than sitting down with a good book and a glass of wine after a hard day of work? I don’t think that there is. Books are an escape from our daily monotony. They are a means of staring the hard and uncertain nature of our lives straight in the face They are a way for us to learn, to expand our minds, and to build empathy for others. They are a way to understand, question, and unravel our experiences only to build them back together more concretely.
In short, I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have books. Today, though, the experience of reading is almost entirely different. Many of us do a majority of our reading electronically, be it on our tablets, eReading devices, or smartphones. Although I don’t think that the tactile experience of reading a physical book, of actually turning pages, will ever fully die out, eBooks have become the most popular means of reading for many around the world.
eBooks have opened up the world of free information – The best part of the rise of eBooks, in my opinion, is the fact that opportunities have arisen for free indie eBook reading that never could have existed back in the old world of just physical copies of printed books. Anytime something becomes digital, it bodes well for our wallets. There are millions of free indie eBook downloads out there on the web, you just have to know where to look for them.
That’s where I come into the picture. I am here to help guide you through all of the free indie eBook sites that exist.
Some of the sites that you’ll find here are torrent sites that specialize in free indie eBook downloads. Others are crowdsourced efforts of creating enormous databases of free knowledge. Others still, like the site that we will be looking at today, allow readers to purchase new and bestselling eBooks while also making available the classics and titles in the public domain for free.
Feed Books is not your typical free indie eBook download site – That’s right, Feed Books is an interesting breed of free indie eBook download site. It is not your typical model – most sites that let you download eBooks either commit to providing entirely free indie eBooks or to providing a convenient marketplace in which readers can buy eBooks without ever having to leave their home. Feed Books, however, is a combination of both.
I only say this ahead of the review so that you don’t go into Feed Books expecting to find the latest Stephen King book for free. It will take a tiny bit of navigating through the site, but after only a few seconds of searching, you will have no trouble stumbling upon a treasure trove of free eBooks.
Another way in which Feed Books is unique, though, is the fact that, in addition to providing thousands of free public domain eBooks, the site also has a great deal of original titles available to download for free. Up-and-coming authors, in other words, can upload books of their own as a donation to the library. There are worse ways, I think, to advertise oneself. And, hey, more free eBooks for us – I call that a win, win.
I want to take this opportunity to applaud Feed Books for actually providing a site design that is equal parts user friendly and aesthetically pleasing. I cannot even begin to tell you how many eBook sites that I have seen with terrible, lazy, sloppy, and confusing sites. Feed Books is truly a breath of fresh air from a design perspective.
It offers a minimalistic, stylish, and modern look. Little more than a white background with splashes of a calming blue here and there frame a brilliantly spaced and laid out selection of book titles (with thumbnail covers; a remarkably rare commodity on eBook sites). Browsing the library is easy, simple, and intuitive. Even though Feed Books has thousands upon thousands of titles available, not once will you feel lost or overwhelmed while scrolling through this immense digital library.
Content and Features
There is a little bit of something for everyone on Feed Books. Every genre, new eBooks, classic eBooks, original works from up and coming authors, and more can be found here. Honestly, based on the massive size of Feed Books’ library, it seems as if you would be hard pressed to not be able to find an eBook here, especially if you are willing to pay for one from time to time.
The bent of this site definitely seems to be literary. Some eBook sites specialize in providing learning resources, textbooks, and how-to books, but Feed Books seems more concerned for those of us who like to read for pleasure (based on a bit of browsing of their library). There are novels, memoirs, biographies, books on religion, essays, and so much more here. Simply browse this enormous library by genre, audience (young adult, teen, adult, etc.), language, or popularity.
Users of Feed Books can add titles to various customizable lists and add books to their favorites. As far as a community of readers is concerned, Feed Books is, I think, on the right track. I appreciate the user features that this site does offer; however, I would like to see them add even more. I think Feed Books has the potential to become, in addition to an eBook marketplace, a community of readers.
One thing I would like to see this site enact is a ratings system. It seems crazy to me that members can create profiles and add books to personalized lists, but they cannot rate or review books that they have read. Sure, there are other sites that specialize in this (Feed Books even links to Good Reads, for instance), but I don’t think that any site is ever worsened by adding a sense of community and bolstering the user experience, do you?
Mobile and Desktop Experience
In Feed Books’ mission statement, they mention that one of their goals is to provide an extremely mobile-friendly way to download and access free indie eBooks. And their mobile site is decent. I will be honest: I was expecting more from the mobile version of the site. It is optimized for mobile devices, don’t get me wrong, with appropriate format changes and the works … however, certain aspects of the site, such as the book info pages, could be better – you may have to do a great deal of zooming in here.
I would love to see Feed Books release an app for iOS and Android devices. It would be amazing if that app also offered an eReading experience, but I would settle for just an app version of the marketplace itself. I want an even more intuitive, immersive, and experiential way to browse eBooks on my phone and quickly download them with little to no effort.
This is certainly possible on Feed Books’ mobile site, I just think that this site is screaming to become an app; it would make so much more sense to me.
Pricings and Plans
Luckily, Feed Books does not charge a monthly or yearly membership fee the way that some other eBook download and eBook marketplaces sometimes do (can you imagine? Pay a membership fee so that you can buy books? No way…). The prices of the eBooks, however, on Feed Books do range quite a bit.
Obviously, as we have already established, there are thousands of free public domain and original indie eBooks available here. When it comes to the eBooks that are for sale, though, I have seen some for a dollar and change, whereas others were upwards of $30. You must be dreaming if you think that I am going to pay $30 for an eBook. It hardly costs anything to produce in the first place!
This does seem to be the exception to the rule, though. Most of the eBooks that I saw here were reasonably priced, anywhere between 2 and 10 bucks. There are actually some very fairly priced bestsellers on Feed Books, making it as good an eBook marketplace as it is a source for free eBooks.