Life is nothing but a series of narratives. Each and every one of us is a collection of short stories that make up a larger novel, the chapters of which we continue to write with every new day that we live. Stories are how we construct our personalities. They are how we relate to our pasts. And they are how we plan for our futures. Sometimes we make up stories to make ourselves feel more comfortable. Other times we exaggerate our stories, telling ourselves and others harmless small fictions about the world for no reason other than it feels truer to us.
Every one of us, at one point or another, has crafted a grand illusion, a boldfaced lie. Maybe we have done it to protect ourselves, our family, our friends, or a loved one. Maybe we have done it just for fun. Maybe we wanted to impress someone. Maybe we were ashamed by the truth. A lie is just another kind of story – one with higher stakes.
Maybe this is why reading is such a comfort to us. Because stories get to the core of this human experience. They are the very means by which we relate to our objective world. When we read, we practice and reinforce that exercise of identifying and constructing narrative, of unspooling it and allowing it to both unravel and strengthen our imaginations anew.
Stories also bind us. Across cultural and socioeconomic divides. There are classic characters and tales that cut straight to the heart of humanity, regardless of superficial differences. Seeing struggles and triumphs and pain and joy that you can relate to happening to another person, a character in a novel, say, is a marvelous way to build empathy. Reading, writing, and storytelling are all transcendental acts that should be spread and supported far and wide.
Which is why it is crucial to make literature as free as possible. Nobody should be denied the right to read, to learn, to grow. Which is why, although I am clearly very passionate about torrenting and P2P file sharing to begin with, I am most invested in sharing with the world free resources of eBooks. Books can be far too pricey. And economic class, in my opinion, should not determine what information should be available to a person. I firmly believe that the access to information and literature is a human right. Especially when it comes to stories that should be in freely part of the public domain right now (if it weren’t for constant republishing by presses to keep the rights that they do not deserve).
I understand that there may be a bit of hypocrisy to this belief. Or perhaps a better word for it would be “conflict” or “tension.” In truth, I am torn about this. Because, well, in addition to my being an advocate for free eBooks and torrenting, I am also a writer … one who needs to make a living off of his words. But I do think that there are ways to support writers while also supporting eBook torrents.
Those who can afford to, should also buy the book that they torrent if possible (assuming that they enjoyed what they downloaded). Those who have the means, please do find some way to support the authors whose books you torrent – even if that consists of merely sharing the book on social media, writing a review, or donating a dollar or two to the author (if possible). Writing is not exactly a lucrative pursuit, you know!
That being said, I have no qualms with downloading countless classic eBooks. Torrent Shakespeare and Dickins, for instance, until your fingers go numb from clicking. The authors are, obviously, long gone, and their estates, I’m sure, are doing just fine. Just please proceed with care when downloading your contemporaries is all that I ask.
That being said, one of my favorite resources for free books is a site that, technically, is not even a torrent site at all. Instead of downloading torrent files, in other words, of books on this site, it allows you to quickly and easily download the ePub files directly, with but one click. The site in question is called Many Books. And, just as the name indicates, it contains a plethora of free books for anyone to download. Many Books boasts over 50,000 titles.
But is the site worth your time? Does it have a solid variety of titles? How about genres? Is it well designed? Is it easy to use? Does it have a powerful search engine, an easy way to browse titles and authors? Does Many Books allow you to read titles online, or is it download only? Does Many Books have an active online community of fellow readers? A books rating system of some sort? Well, let’s dive in and take a look at everything that Many Books has to offer, shall we?
This is the very first aspect of Many Books that stands out to me. The design of this site is phenomenal. I mean, it is exceptional – especially for a free eBook download site. Of course, free download and torrent sites are not exactly known for their exquisite web design. And this makes sense. Their free nature probably limits profitability and, thus, the ability to pay for top-notch web designers.
This is as far from the case with Many Books as can be. The site looks just as professional and impressive as any premium eBook service I have ever seen. At a glance, you would never be able to tell this is a free service. The site looks great – minimalist yet effective, highly organized yet stylish. There are not many missed opportunities here; nor are there many areas for complaint. This is simply a great looking site.
You might expect a site like this to be riddled in ads, right? Not Many Books. The ads found here are classy and out of the way, offering helpful services like VPNs. You almost won’t even notice that the site has ads at all.
Content and Features
When you sign up for a free account with Many Books, you will be guided through a short survey of your preferences. The site will ask you to choose your favorite genres, as well as what file type you prefer (either ePub, PDF, .txt, etc.). From there, the site personalizes your experience based on your preferences. This feature alone shadows all other free eBook or torrent sites I have seen in my day.
You can also browse eBooks by genre. There is a handy site menu bar at the top of the page that grants you quick access to some of the most popular genres. Here, you can browse the site easily and conveniently by choosing either Action and Adventure, Bios and History, Children’s, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, Literary Fiction, Mystery and Thriller, Nonfiction, Romance, Young Adult, and Science Fiction. So, as you can see, Many Books not only contains many books, but many genres as well.
Additionally, Many Books offers a useful resources tab. From here, you can discover authors, browse different languages, read articles and reviews, check out author interviews, and take part in the discussion page to ask a question, share a thought, and spark a conversation with other eBook readers. This site is enormous, and chock full of fun and helpful features.
Mobile and Desktop Experience
I swear … this site just keeps getting better and better the more that I learn about it. Not only does Many Books offer over 50,000 free eBook downloads, great desktop site design, awesome articles and exclusive interviews with authors, and a discussion forum … it also has one of the best free eBook mobile sites that I have ever seen. The site looks just as gorgeous on your smartphone or tablet as it looks on your laptop or desktop computer. And it is equally intuitive and user-friendly. Download free eBooks directly onto your phone, tablet, or Kindle device with ease thanks to Many Books’ awesome mobile optimization.
Pricing and Plans
Although the vast majority of eBooks on Many Books are free, there are some that they ask a minimal amount of money for. These books tend to range anywhere between 99 cents and $3 – still, extremely affordable compared to an eBook purchased from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you can swing it, I urge you to buy one of these eBooks from time to time … just to help keep this incredible resource of free eBooks afloat for as long as possible!