Is it Legal to Read Books on Century Past?
Books on the Century Past that are still in copyright (most of the books published since 1925), and are actually hosted at the Internet Archive. That site acts as a lending library for in-copyright books, where you can legally borrow them.
How do I Borrow Books?
Most of our books published since 1925 are on Internet Archive servers and are protected by copyright. To read them, you must borrow them from Internet Archive. Set up a free account at Internet Archive here.
Books that are copyright-free, i.e. published before 1925, can usually be read online or downloaded without restriction, depending on the laws of the user’s country.
Can I Download Books Instead of Reading Online?
If you establish an Internet Archive account, most books give you the option to download for 14 days, instead of the default option of reading online and borrowing repeatedly for 1 hour. Internet Archive uses Digital Rights Management (DRM) software to prevent users from sharing or keeping downloaded books. You will need the right app for your device. See the Internet Archive’s instructions here.
How Do I Download Books to a Phone or Tablet?
First, see the answer for “Can I Download Books Instead of Reading Online?” just above. You will need an Android or iOS app for your device compatible with the Internet Archive’s DRM software. In addition to apps suggested by Internet Archive, consider the PocketBook Reader app, which seems more functional. One benefit is that you can turn your phone sideways and read wide books easier. PocketBook Reader users may want the PocketBook Cloud service.
How Can I Browse for Fiction Books by Subject?
Most Non-Fiction collections on Century Past also contain fiction books on that subject. So you can use our Non-Fiction Subject Index by clicking Non-Fiction in the top menu. Or see “How to Find Free Books Online“, here on Century Past for tips on doing a subject search on Internet Archive.
Books at Internet Archive Don’t Fit Well on My Screen
When you have the book open in Internet Archive, click the “one-page view” button at the bottom right corner of the screen, and then keep zooming in to make the type large and clear. That one-page view also enables scroll-down. Note the icon with three dots in a circle at the left edge of the book window. Use it to open a screen that allows you to adjust brightness and contrast. You can read Internet Archive books in Adobe Digital Editions if you prefer. There is guidance here.
How can I find Free Books on My Subject?
See “How to Find Free Books Online“, here on Century Past.
Updated: Jan 21, 2023