The Online Books Page


Most of the online books in our curated collection got added to our lists after readers suggested them, or told us where they could be found online. So we welcome reader's suggestions, and hope that we can help get the books online that readers want to see.

If you'd like to suggest more books for us to include, here's what to do:

First: Does it qualify for listing here?

We list books on this site that are complete, freely readable in their entirety online, significant, well-formatted, and that don't infringe copyright. For full details on our listing criteria, see this link. Here are some of the more important points about our criteria:

We generally can't list copyrighted books unless the copyright holder has given permission for the book to be online. To determine whether a book is still copyrighted, or to pursue permissions if it is, see this page.

Most self-published works don't get listed here. Those that have been cataloged by major libraries do, and occasionally we'll also list particularly significant ones that libraries haven't picked up. If you're interested in sites that do list more self-published electronic-only work, see this listing of archives of new original works.

Only books that can be read online in their entirety free of charge get listed here. There are other sites that list information on books for sale; see this page under "Book Catalogues and Retailers" to find such sites.

If, after reading our criteria, you're not sure whether a book qualifies, go ahead and send the information on it to us, and we'll evaluate it from here.

What should be included in the suggestion?

For books that are already online, we need to know the web location (also known as the URL) of the online book. It's also helpful to include the title and author(s) of the book, and the edition if applicable. And if you know or can look up the Library of Congress call number and subjects of the book, that will help us list it quicker. (If not, we'll just look them up ourselves after we get your suggestion.)

For books that are already in our extended shelves, just select the [X-Info] icon by the book listing, and then select the "request that we add this book" link on the resulting information page. You'll be taken directly to our book suggestion form (described below) with the basic book information already filled out. Make any appropriate corrections or additions, and press the "Submit" button to register your request to add the book to our curated collection.

For books not yet online, tell us the title and the author of the book(s) you want to see, and any other information necessary for us to figure out what you're suggesting. (Titles alone may not be enough, since there may be more than one book with the same title.)

Note that we don't host books at this site, and we do not accept unsolicited ebook files or other email attachments. If you have an online book that you'd like to find a home for, there are many online book archives, some of which accept submissions from the public. Two long-running free nonprofit sites that take submissions are Project Gutenberg (good for transcribed forms like HTML or text), and the Internet Archive (good for PDFs and other image-based forms). If you own the rights to a book that was commercially published, it might already have a digitization held by HathiTrust, who can make it accessible to the public if you give them permission. There are lots of other archives take submissions as well, many of which specialize in particular kinds of books. Let me know if you need help finding a suitable home.)

How do I send a suggestion?

There are basically three ways to submit books for listing here. In descending order of preference, they are:

What happens to the suggestion?

If you suggest a title or set of books that qualifies for listing here, I'll try to act on it as soon as I can. I do have a backlog that prevents some online books from appearing immediately, but I will generally give priority to individual titles that readers tell me they want to see. And if you use the suggestion form, you'll be able to see exactly how long the backlog is for suggestions submitted via the form. (This won't tell you how long the backlog is for emailed suggestions; that can be much longer.)

If you haven't told me an online location for the book, I'll usually make a quick check to see if someone has already put it online. If so (or if you've told me where I can find the book online) I'll add it to my listings, and will generally appear in the listings (including the New Books list) the evening of the day I list it.

If the book isn't already online, but qualifies for listing here, I'll put it in my public requests list. If you've indicated on the suggestion form that you'd like your contact information included in that list, we'll include your name and/or email, so we or other folks can inform you when it becomes available.

We don't actually produce the online books ourselves at this site, but other people and projects do, and some of them may see suggestions from this list and decide to put the books online. I can't guarantee how long it will take before your request goes online; it may be quite soon, or it may not go online for years. If you desperately need a copy soon, you may want to get a print copy through your library (or interlibrary-loan), or through a bookstore or book ordering service.

You may also decide you'd like to put the book online yourself. You're welcome to do so if you like, and I'll be happy to list the book once it's online. See this page for information on how to put books online.

What about suggestions I emailed previously?

If you sent me a suggestion previously, and it hasn't been listed, and you haven't otherwise heard from me, you may want to submit it again via the suggestion form. We are going through the old email backlog, but it currently stretches back years, so I'm not sure when exactly I'll get to your old suggestion. Thank you for your patience.

Thanks for helping build up the online book community!

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