Index of Libraries for Free eBooks
Table of Contents
This is an ever-growing list of online libraries providing access to relevant free literature in digital formats. Our local library of e-books has been substantially enhanced by their free offerings. Libraries hosting untranslated source texts (Pali, Sanskrit etc.) are not included here. They will be listed separately under Resources when indexed.
If you know good free library resources not included below — please contact us and let us know! (As you can see, we've got a bit of a gap below for Hinduism and Taoism.) When sending a library reference, be sure to include a link; a short description; and an approximation of how many books are included in the resource. Thank you for participating!
Major Buddhist Libraries
This section lists major Buddhist e-book libraries with large and well-organized selections of books for free download.
- Access to Insight (Readings in Theravada Buddhism)
Large collection of well-indexed Pali text translations and a selection of other works by Theravada teachers. Languages: English, Pali. Entries: ~1400 (Suttas: HTML); ~600 (Others: HTML); ~100 (PDF).
- Buddhist Publication Society
Pali text translations, compilations, in-depth topical studies, and introductory works on Theravada Buddhism. Languages: English. Entries: ~700 (PDF & HTML & ePub).
- Lotsawa House
Large selection of original translations by 80 Tibetan and Indian Vajrayana masters. Indexed by author and topic. Languages: English, Tibetan, German, Spanish, French. Entries: ~250 in English; ~700+ total (HTML).
- Metta.Net Tipitaka Library (Bhikkhu Samahita)
Useful collection of Theravada Pali suttas and translations compiled from various sources. Languages: English, Pali, Sinhalese. Entries: ~700 in English (HTML).
- Shemtaia Buddhist Download Archive (J. R. Black)
Collection of the entire Pali canon, some commentaries and numerous old English translations. Languages: English, Pali. Entries: ~Hundreds (PDF).
- Sutta Central
Well-organized and thorough archive of early Buddhist texts, translations and thousands of parallels. Languages: English, Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan. Entries: ~Thousands (HTML).
Other Buddhist Libraries
This section lists additional Buddhist e-book libraries with smaller or specialized selections of books for download.
- Abhidhamma.Com (Readings in Theravada Buddhism)
Library focused on Abhidhamma or the aggregated philosophy and psychology in the teachings of the Buddha. Languages: English, Pali. Entries: ~100+ (PDF).
- A Buddhist Library
A large collection of writings by teachers ancient and contemporary. Slightly hard to navigate. Traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Zen. Languages: English. Entries: ~1000+ (PDF & HTML).
- Buddhist eLibrary (Buddha Dharma Education Association c/o)
Library for the free dissemination of digital Buddhist educational material. Traditions: Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, Zen. Languages: English, Chinese, Thai, Spanish and Portuguese. Entries: ~350 in English; ~2000 total (PDF).
- 84000 — Translating the Buddha's Words
Selection of translations of the Buddha's teachings preserved in Tibetan language. Languages: English, Tibetan. Entries: ~150+ (PDF & HTML).
Honestly we're having a bit of a hard time finding coherent libraries for Hinduism that include translations... Help?
- Hindu Online Digital Library
A library of Hindu scriptures from various genres, including many English translations and background information. (Translation vs. Sanskrit links not easy to tell apart.) Languages: English, Sanskrit. Entries: ~? (PDF & HTML).
- Hindu Dharma Forums Library (Saidevo)
A collection of leads worth mentioning, includes some classic texts. "An effort to provide links to various freely available texts on the Internet from a central point, for ease of use." Links: ~1000
- Sacred Scriptures (Hindu Website)
Collection of diverse Hindu scriptures in English translation for online reading. Also includes a selection of texts from other spiritual traditions. Entries: ~? (HTML).
- Vedanta Spiritual Library
Large collection of classic Hindu scriptures; selection of Adi Shankara's writings on Vedanta; and dozens of hymns and prayers. Some texts are bilingual. Entries: ~Hundreds (HTML).
It seems that most freely available Taoist works in English are scattered entries in mixed libraries. Got leads to share?
This section lists large libraries covering multiple genres of literature relevant to the Scripto·Q collection of texts.
- Digital Library of India
Digital collection of freely accessible rare books collected from various libraries in India. Note that the books are scanned and as such the files may be large. Books: ~550,000 (PDF).
- Forgotten Books
London-based book publisher specializing in the restoration of old books, both fiction and non-fiction. Over 300,000 books available to read online, download as ebooks, or purchase in print. Books: ~300,000 (PDF).
- Holy Books (H. H. Lichtenberg)
Large collection of sacred texts from diverse traditions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Sufism and more. Includes both classic translations and original works. Books: ~4000 (PDF).
- Internet Sacred Text Archive
Extensive library of sacred texts in the public domain covering 80 major traditions of philosophy and mysticism. See e.g. sections on Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Greco-Roman Classics. Books: ~1700 (HTML).
- Open Library
Open Library is an open, editable library catalog, building towards a web page for every book ever published. See e.g. subject search on Buddhism (10,000+), Hinduism (5000+) and Taoism (1300+). Books: 1,000,000+ (PDF etc.).
- Project Gutenberg
Large provider of free e-books, dedicated to digitizing and publishing diverse public domain texts. See e.g. sections on Classical Antiquity, Religion and Philosophy. Books: ~46,000 (PDF, HTML, ePub, Kindle).
- The Internet Archive
A massive digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in various media. Hosts millions of books in dozens of languages. See e.g. The Free Indological Collection Books: 6,000,000+ (PDF, DjVU, HTML, ePub, Kindle, TXT).
Here are a few picks from a list of useful software we've been using to advance the Scripto·Q project.
- Calibre E-book Management
Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application. Advanced metadata management, e-book viewing and format conversion, and much more. (We use it for an intermediate e-book sorting database.)
- Nitro PDF Reader
An excellent all-around free PDF viewer with all the basic functions you need. Nitro Reader has a particularly well-working PDF-to-text extraction feature that preserves paragraphs intact.
- PDF Split and Merge
A free and open-source PDF utility that supports splitting, merging, reordering, rotating and comparing pages in documents. Priceless when you're faced with a book split in a hundred parts; or ten books fused into one volume.
- PDF-XChange Editor
A lightning-fast PDF viewer. While the free version ships with a number of feature limitations, it has a useful OCR module for scanned books, a text editing and deleting option, and other handy features.
The source-code text editor that edits text editors upside down. To not mention Notepad++ here would be like failing to mention water and fire when talking about cooking requisities. Yes we use it a lot. For everything.