Q. Can I legally read books on Century Past for free, even when they are modern and still in copyright?
Books on the site still in copyright (most books published since 1924) are nearly all hosted at the Internet Archive. That site acts as a lending library for in-copyright books, and you can borrow them for an hour at a time or for 14 days. See how.
Q. Entries for “Collections” of books on a subject often say there are hundreds or even thousands of books in the collection. However, when I click the link (at Internet Archive) and scroll down through the collection, I only see about 25 or 30 books.
Unfortunately phones and tablets limit the number of books you can see in an Internet Archive search result. You will need to use a PC to see an entire collection. You may want to use a PC to identify books that interest you and ‘favorite’ them in Internet Archive. Then you can access them with your phone or tablet.
Q. Since all the links on Century Past are for books hosted at other websites, why don’t I just use those websites? What’s the point of using Century Past?
If you’re looking for a particular title, it is indeed easier to go directly to the main free books sites & use their search boxes. But when you want to browse for books in a fiction genre or a non-fiction subject, I think Century Past works better.
Here’s my guide for finding free books online. It covers the major sites, discusses their pros and cons, and suggests some search tips.
Q. When I open a book in the Internet Archive and zoom-in far enough to read it comfortably, I have to keep moving the book around the screen. Suggestions?
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 button also enables scroll-down.
You can read Internet Archive books in Adobe Digital Editions if you prefer. There is guidance here.
Please feel free to comment on Century Past or make suggestions, on our Contact page.