Where to Get The Books
Updated April 18, 2020
Free Online Etexts
Most of the books are available free online. On the booklists for each year, if a book is linked, clicking on the title will bring you to the free online etext. You can print it out or read it from the computer monitor screen or eReader device. Some moms print out a chapter at a time to prevent their fast readers from reading ahead.
Here are additional e-book websites, all free:
Bartleby.com has an extensive collection of "literature, reference and verse."
Bibilomania has more than 2000 Classic Texts
The Free Library by Farlex search by author or title
Page by Page Books search by author or title
The Literature Network features over 3500 books
A Celebration of Women Writers, includes texts from H.E. Marshall and Mrs. Gatty
Project Gutenberg Browse by author or title
G. A. Henty books at Project Gutenberg
An Old-Fashioned Education lists free etexts by subject
Henri Fabre's books (Life of the Spider, Mason Bees, Caterpillars, etc) with photos of the bugs! Some browsers have trouble with this link. Try going to http://www.efabre.net/ and clicking the tab at the top that says "Electronic texts" and scroll down for the title of the book you want to view.
Please note that it is not our intention for parents to feel pressured to pay inflated prices for an out-of-print book. No book is so instrumental to providing a CM education that you need pay a lot of money for it. If a book is so hard to find that copies are going for a king's ransom, there is always a book that can be substituted rather than stressing about cowing to price-gouging to get your hands on a book because you saw it on our booklist. :-)
To transfer text to your Kindle: Install Push to Kindle.
Find the address that amazon has assigned for your Kindle (amazon has some helps for finding your address: "To find your Send-to-Kindle e-mail address, visit the Manage your Devices page at Manage Your Kindle.")
Copy the URL link for the text you want and send it to your Kindle account via "Push to Kindle" app. Click on the device you wish to send the Kindle document to.
If you are overseas this will usually cost something, so it would be better to copy and paste the entire version to a document and then save it to your kindle docs using a usb cable from your computer to your Kindle. (View 2-min tutorial for using Push to Kindle on YouTube)
For more tips on loading etexts and ebooks to your electronic device (Kindle, Nook, etc.), see this page. More tips here.
Free Audio Books
Audiobooks can be helpful in the early years, or for free reads. We don't suggest depending on audiobooks at the exclusion of your student's own reading, as seeing the words is what builds language (even writing) skills.
LibriVox search by author or title
New on Librivox: Recordings of Books on the AmblesideOnline List: Years 1-4 and Years 5-8
Project Gutenberg Audio Library
One of AO's favorite readers, Kara Shallenberg, a.k.a Kayray: kayray.org
Audio Books with Annie
Lit2Go provides professionally-read audiobooks for free download through Florida's educational system
Where to Find Hard Copies ("real books")
Most books can be found in public libraries.
Most of the books can also be purchased. The book to purchase is always the unabridged complete edition (beware of Landoll classics that say "complete and unabridged" on the front cover, but are not unabridged or complete). Books still in print can be ordered from any large bookseller such as:
You can help support the cost of AO's website and domains when you visit amazon.com from our link and by clicking on the "purchase" links ($) or "Kindle" links (K) from our booklists. We have tried to link to unabridged editions published by reputable book sellers for each book.
** Caveat Emptor: Buyers should be aware of the unresolved accusations against Kessinger for unethical publishing practices, including false claim to copyright ownership of texts which are legally in the public domain. See online discussion here.
** Books published by VDM Publishing (General Books LLC, Alphascript, Betascript, Fastbooks, MoreBooks!, Books LLC, LLC Books) may not be proofread for typos and errors, and may not not have Table of Contents. As well, type-set may be tiny. Wikipedia: "Proofreading is not performed to keep costs low. . . VDM's business practices have been criticized for profiting from the sale of unacclaimed works and for insufficiently disclosing that content is available for free elsewhere." (Actually, this is true of most small publishers who reprint text directly from free public domain text sources on the internet.)
** Books published by Landoll Classics may not be complete and unabridged, even if the cover states that the book is "Complete and Unabridged."
If a book is not widely available at the common bookstores (such as Hillyer's Child's History of the World, Parables of Nature), and is only available from specific booksellers, a link is provided from the booklist for ordering information.
Out of print books can sometimes be found at the various online used book websites:
Go to book sales. Call schools and libraries and ask when they have them, or get notified of sales by going here and joining.
If a book is out of print and is listed as part of the curriculum, you can usually find the etext free online. The link for finding the etext is provided with the booklist. Purchasing out of print books is optional.
Buying New Books
Living Books Press, run by a homeschooling Dad, sells quality books and has republished some out of print titles that AO users requested. They are based in Australia but ship all over, and have many titles listed at Amazon.com.
Yesterday's Classics offers affordable, high quality paperback reprints of some public domain books that are scheduled with AmblesideOnline.