The world’s largest online library

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Almost any book you can think of – available online for free. Same as your local library.

 

If you have a library card for your local library, you probably already know you can borrow digital books. You just need to create an account using an app called Libby, and that allows you to access lots of digital books that are available right there at your local library. And of course, all of this costs you nothing since it it part of the services at the library. It’s really pretty amazing, since you can borrow and read even recent, popular books. Books that if purchased, you might pay $10 or $20 for. But since it’s through the library, you don’t pay anything.

But there’s an online library that’s available to just about anyone – and this takes borrowing digital books to a whole new level.

It’s called Z-Library. You can view it at https://b-ok.cc/ (not sure what that domain name stands for though).

If you thought your local library had a lot of digital books available for download, you’re in for a big fat surprise when you check out Z-Library. As I write this, there are currently over 5.9 MILLION books available there for download.

If you’re looking for a specific book, you can most likely search for it and download it without even registering for an account.  You’re allowed up to 5 downloads per day without registering.

If you create a free account with your email address and a password, that increases your download limit to 10 e-books per day, and a faster download speed. But this only allows you to download and read books on your computer. Still, for some people that’s fine. I mean, how many people read more than 10 books a day?

But if you really want all the features, you can get a Premium Plan. To get a Premium Plan, you can donate as little as $1. That allows you to have digital books sent to your Kindle, and the downloads are free of any ads (the free accounts have advertisements).

Beyond that, there are additional benefits if you pay more. But you can always choose how much you want to pay.

If you pay $1 to $4.99, you get all the extra features but you are still limited to 10 downloads per day.

If you need more than 10 downloads a day, you can choose to pay more (but it’s still really cheap).

You’ll see the pricing structure listed after you create your free account with your email address.

Libraries have always been an incredible local resource. To give you an idea on how this compares to purchase, I looked up the complete set of Harry Potter books on Amazon. The Kindle version is $62.99:

Harry Potter Set

 

But at Z-Library, you can just click to download the whole thing to your computer. Or pay a little bit of money, and have them sent to your Kindle e-reader:

Harry Potter set

 

If you’re wondering if they have a particular book you want, just go to the website and do a search on the title. With almost 6 million books to choose from, there’s a very good chance you’ll find it available.

So if you’re planning to make a New Year’s resolution to read more books, the Z-Library could play a big role in making that happen!

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Rich
January 7th, 2021

This from our local librarian
To me this is in very murky territory as far as whether it’s legal. It’s a “shadow library” site that bypasses/ignores copyright and paywall requirements for published research and literary works. (Other similar sites have been taken down due to court decisions in the past but copyright is a civil violation so it’s a site-by-site issue).

At a quick look, there are PDF copies of new fiction and nonfiction books on the site, which are certainly copyright violations if indeed the whole book is in those files. I did not register for the site to see.

Sites like these can legitimately argue that they are “archiving” or “digitally preserving” copies of works, which you are allowed to do provided that a) you did indeed legitimately purchase your copy, and b) that copy is never distributed; it is only used to restore the original copy in the chance that all original copies/versions are destroyed or rendered unusable.

And technically letting the site be accessed/viewed isn’t “distributing,” just like putting goods on the sidewalk isn’t removing the obligation of passers-by to go in the store and pay for items they take. There’s an expectation that those passers-by understand they need to pay.

The actual copyright infringement occurs when someone downloads something from the site (ie: makes a copy of the file for their own use). There doesn’t seem to be a copy limit, loan time limit, or any special designation that allows fair use, either, which is what protects libraries and archives if they need to make a copy of something for whatever reason.

So: you could suggest the site to users (see this exchange on the ALA’s Copyright Forum), but it would be on the person accessing the site to understand that if they undertake to download a book from the site, they could be committing copyright infringement. Granted, I don’t think Little, Brown or whoever is going to hunt down random people to sue them, but does anyone remember what happened with Napster once the law caught up with the site??

And I wouldn’t want to seem to be encouraging, even obliquely, copyright violation.

Scott Johnson
January 8th, 2021

Thanks Rich. While the site does have the appearance of legitimacy, you raise some good points.

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