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Friday Five: 5 Places to Read Mark Twain for Free

Stephen Eldridge, TeachHUB

Friday Five: 5 Places to Read Mark Twain for FreeEvery student should read the work of Mark Twain, one of the best-loved American authors. With the following resources, every student can. Here’s your simple guide to finding Twain’s writing on the web, along with thousands of other classics. No piracy necessary here—all these sites provide free, legal versions from the public domain.

1: ManyBooks.net

One of the largest compendiums of free ebooks on the web, ManyBooks.net has as complete a collection of Twain’s work as you’re likely to find. Beyond its selection, the best thing about the site is that it provides ebooks in a wide variety of different formats, including PDFs, Kindle format, and sometimes even audiobooks. The site is easy to navigate and allows you to browse author pages so that you can easily see all the Twain it has to offer.

2: Amazon.com

The site that pioneered the modern ebook is still one of the best places on the web to find free versions of the classics. Twain’s work is no exception, with many of his novels, essays, and letters readily available. Although the Amazon Kindle format isn’t as universal as a PDF or EPUB file, the Kindle app can be downloaded to a tablet, smart phone, or desktop computer so you can read them wherever you go.

3: Project Gutenberg

If you want to go right to the source, go to gutenberg.org. Project Gutenberg employs thousands of volunteers to digitize books to produce high-quality ebooks. The work they do often serves as the basis for the free ebooks provided by other sites. They have dozens of Twain’s books, stories, and essays—the only thing keeping Gutenberg.org from the top spot on this list is the slightly unwieldy website.

4: Google Books

Although the sheer volume of material can be a little difficult to wade through, there are few better places to find something to read than books.google.com. Mark Twain’s work is almost all available here, and is usually available for download as a PDF or in EPUB format. What’s particularly interesting about Google’s collection is that it contains scans of printed pages, so you can read the books just as they were originally published.

5: Archive.org

The Internet Archive preserves all kinds of data, including a huge selection of texts. As with Google Books, the biggest draw here is the collection of scanned original publications. Although not every text is scanned, many of them are high-quality, full-color files with illustrations that are as close as you can get to reading the original Twain without searching out an ancient first edition.