Top 20 Best Public Domain Books of All Time Review 2022

Top 20 Best Public Domain Books of All Time Review 2020

You will have to wait 95 years to read the bestsellers of 2020 if you want to read that books. But thousands of books, including many that we consider being the best books of all time, have already entered the public domain. So if you’re looking for super-accessible book club books, the public domain is a great place to start!

What’s the Public Domain?

The general public domain comprises each of the creative work (like pictures, movies, books, or audio) for which there aren’t any real intellectual property rights. The rights could have been sacrificed, died, waived, or inapplicable.

In the USA, each work that has been published before 1923 was in the public domain books since 1998. Books printed in the calendar year 1923 entered the public domain on January 1, 2019, and on January 1, 2022, all functions published in 1924 also entered the public domain books.

Meaning that any creative work published before or in 1924 can be obtained online entirely, utilized, and built upon without needing permissions or penalties as of the calendar year.

However, this is not only great news for anybody determined by Google Books previews. Additionally, it usually means that individual directors can accommodate those novels into movies without paying countless rights. Youth orchestras can manage to execute those tunes openly, and neighborhood theaters can display those movies.

Top Rated Best Public Domain Books To Read

Top Rated Best Public Domain Books List To Read

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You like to see, but books are costly. What is a bookworm to perform? Read the public domain books. That is what! These are not your stereotypical fusty dusty old literary has beens. (Come on, they create comic books from them!) There is a treasure trove of all pre 1924 literature, and I am not only speaking about the classics.

If you have read Jane Austen, step right this way. Penn Book has got some links for you, such as you to Project Gutenberg. Continue reading for the best books in the public domain that time should never have forgotten.

Behind A Mask by Louisa A. Alcott

Initially, Alcott printed this wicked little novel under a pseudonym. No wonder: it is a superbly twisted story starring a governess that weaponizes sexism so efficiently that no one guesses her real goal: to secure the family manor for herself! A darling of academics, you won’t believe this book grips you.

The Book Of Dragons by E.Nesbitt

Nesbitt also composed the classic children’s book Five Children, And It still sometimes appears in college libraries. This book, a collection of short stories about what is?

Dragons are guaranteed to appeal to dragon loving younger children. You are going to enjoy it as well. It is as adorable as Daenerys Targaryen with three infant dragons back until she turned into a homicidal maniac. (Remember those days? Sigh.) Perfect for read aloud!

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is the next one we want to share with you in the public domain books list. You have read The Yellow Wallpaper, and in case you haven’t been a shame. (Shame! Shame!) Read it!

Then read Herland, since it is worth your time. Are you not convinced? Imagine if I told you it’s feminist science fiction? Envision, if you will, a Utopian society of girls who reproduce via parthenogenesis. Add three clueless male explorers and see the play unfold. There is a sequel, also known as Together With Her in Ourland.

The Home And The World by Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore won the Nobel Prize for it, the first Indian to do so. Inside, he projects the real life anxieties within India that finally led to the partition, so if you are a lover of imaginative literature, then this one’s your winner.

Tagore’s proxy for this particular story is Bimala, a girl torn between her calm, politically moderate husband, along with also a jerky, corrupt revolutionary who makes her slip for him. Hold onto your hats, because I believe I discover a metaphor!

Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

Why read this Victorian comedic face? Well, due to Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing Of The Dog! Additionally, it’s funnier than you may expect from fusty old public domain books, and a bit upsetting, and at times even thoughtful.

Here is what you get: three quite apprehensive Victorian middle class liberal guys opt to have a boat excursion down the Thames with their exceptionally ill-behaved fox terrier and nothing absolutely nothing moves right. Give it the opportunity. You will be happy you did.

A Negro Explorer At The North Pole by Matthew A. Henson

Best adventure books in public domain

But wait, you say. I didn’t understand that among the first folks to find the north pole was a black man! You do not say. Henson has been a professional navigator, craftsman, survivor, adventurer, discoverer, and standard badass. He was Robert Peary’s right hand guy and read this. It has been a TV series and a comedian, but Henson’s become unjustly vague.

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

Inside this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann utilizes a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps a neighborhood dedicated exclusively to illness as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was exhibiting the first signs of its terminal irrationality.

The Magic Mountain is a massive job of erudition and irony, sensual stress, and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the middle of death.

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

One of the Best Books of the 20th century and the Foundation for director David Lean’s Academy Award winning film, ” A Passage to India tells of the conflict of cultures in British India after the turn of this century.

In beautiful prose, Forster shows the menace that lurks just under the surface of everyday life, as a frequent misunderstanding erupts into a catastrophic affair.

Desire Under The Elms by Eugene O’Neill

Eben Cabot’s future seemed assured when his mom, on her deathbed, ensured her husband Ephraim’s sword would abandon his fortune to her son.

Ephraim gave his sentence, but the promise came at a cost. Two sons from a prior union were cut, making life at the Cabot household unhappy while his dispossessed progeny expected to get a change of heart.

However, when Ephraim brings home a new wife, Abbie, some programs Eben and his stepbrothers could have had to get a carefree future increase dim. The brothers opt to leave for greener pastures; Eben s option is to remain and fight for what’s his.

Nevertheless, Abbie just entered into the union seeking to procure a livelihood for her, and there’s absolutely no space for Eben within her fiscal planning.

Never enjoying Ephraim, she cynically starts an affair with Eben to undercut his resistance, and that the two enemies find themselves in love.

Shortly after, she occupies Eben skid. To prove she’d never love anyone over Eben, she hatches a plan resulting in a tragic conclusion, worthy only of those early Greeks.

When We Were Very Young Paperback by A. A. Milne

A timeless party of youth, A. A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young, is a set of poems that have touched readers’ hearts for over 90 decades. His writings sing with a playful innocence, weaving together the worlds of fact and enchanting make believe.

Released two decades earlier, Winnie the Pooh, careful readers, will also detect the exact first look of the Best Bear in all of the World. These cherished poems are matched by Ernest Shepard’s whimsical illustrations, which have thrilled countless readers.

These poems are read and reread to countless kids, and now, they could nevertheless find a special place on every bookshelf.

The Caspak Trilogy by Edgar Rice Burroughs

While he was best known for its Tarzan of the Apes and Barsoom series, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s true genius pops on in the Caspak Trilogy. In this trilogy, which includes The Land that Time Forgot, The People that Time Forgot, and Out of Time’s Abyss, we’ve Burroughs in his best.

This experience stripes like a bullet into its jaw dropping end. The Caspak trilogy, set during World War I, begins with the discovery of Bowen J. Tyler’s worn manuscript floating in a jar off the shore of Greenland.

The document shows that Bowen and his partners have been taken captive by a German submarine. The harrowing submarine ride contributes to the discovery of an underground passageway into a most incredible property.

This property, called Caspak by its inhabitants, is a microcosm of countless years of evolutionary progress with winged, humanlike animals, dinosaurs, and ferocious beasts of prey, Neanderthals, rampant ape-men, and monstrous reptiles.

Ray Bradbury was a massive fan of Burroughs, as could be observed from the following quotation: “We might have enjoyed Verne and Wells and Kipling. However, we loved, we loved, we tried. However, quite loved with Mr. Burroughs.”

Bradbury was not alone in his respect for Burroughs as, over the years, innumerable directors, producers, actors, and authors have drawn inspiration from his writings.

Burroughs’ influence can nevertheless be seen almost 60 years after his passing. Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, Peter Jackson’s King Kong, and Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Burroughs.

The Old Maid by Edith Wharton

This Edith Wharton work is the next one of the public domain books we want to introduce to you. An unwed mother gives her daughter up so the youngster can combine New York City’s fashionable society of the mid 1800s. Years after, on the eve of this woman’s wedding, Aunt Charlotte’s long suppressed torment surfaces.

She has been a master of the novella form, whose story of a mother’s tragic sacrifice is just one of her most significant gifts to the genre. It provides an excellent illustration of her keen eye for observing and articulating the telling aspects of society and class.

Accessible in a stand alone variant, this enduringly popular story first appeared serialized in The Red Book Magazine in 1922 and afterward in an anthology. The foundation for a successful Broadway series of the 1930s was adapted into a popular movie starring Bette Davis and Miriam Hopkins.

The Gift of Black Folk: The Negroes in the Making of America Paperback by W.E.B. Du Bois

Even though the Civil War declared an end to slavery in the USA, it might require another half an hour to establish the nation’s civil rights movement. Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois was one of the earliest creations of African American scholars to spearhead this movement towards equality.

As co-founder of the NAACP, he sought to commence equality through social change and was a gifted author; he generated essays and books that provide a revealing glimpse into the dark experience of these times.

At The Gift of Black Folk, Du Bois recounts African Americans’ history and their numerous unsung contributions to American culture. He chronicles their function from the first exploration of America, their role in developing the nation’s agricultural sector, their guts on the battlefields, and their imaginative genius in almost every American civilization element.

Also, he highlights black girls’ contributions, proposing their liberty could result in freedom for many women. The Gift of Black Folk provides a full picture of the numerous conflicts that paved the way for liberty and equality in our country.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Composed in his uniquely spectacular fashion, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most famous work.

The narrative of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal as it first appeared in 1890; However, Wilde was attacked because of the book’s corrupting influence; he replied that there is, actually, a horrible ethic in Dorian Gray.

Only a couple of decades after, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which led to his imprisonment.

Of Dorian Gray’s connection to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, Basil Hallward is what I believe I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks of me: Dorian what I’d love to be in other ages, perhaps.

Frankenstein: The 1818 Text by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mary Shelley’s seminal book of this scientist whose invention becomes a monster

This variant is the original 1818 text, that averts the hard hitting and sexually charged facets of Shelley’s original writing, in addition to her unflinching humor and powerful female voice.

This edition also contains a new introduction and suggestions for additional reading by writer and Shelley specialist Charlotte Gordon, literary excerpts, testimonials chosen by Gordon, and a chronology and composition by author Shelley scholar Charles E. Robinson.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

A rich choice of source and background materials is provided in 3 regions: Contexts comprises probable inspirations for Dracula from the prior works of James Malcolm Rymer and Emily Gerard.

Also included is a discussion of Stoker’s working notes to the book and Dracula’s Guest, the first opening chapter to Dracula. Reviews and Reactions reprint five early reviews of this book.

Dramatic and Film Variations targets theatre and movie adaptations of Dracula, two signs of this book’s unwavering appeal. David J. Skal, Gregory A. Waller, and Nina Auerbach provide their diverse perspectives.

Criticism assembles seven academic requirements of Dracula from Phyllis A. Roth, Carol A. Senf, Franco Moretti, Christopher Craft, Bram Dijkstra, Stephen D. Arata, and Talia Schaffer.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Since its instantaneous success in 1813, this book has remained one of the most well known public domain books in the English language.

The author called this work her darling child, and its lovely heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print. The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy is a splendid operation of civilized sparring.

Jane Austen’s shining humor sparkles because her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, which makes this book the very outstanding comedy of manners of Regency England.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Generations of readers, old and young, female and male, have fallen in love with the March sisters of Louisa May Alcott’s most popular and enduring novel, Little Girls.

Listed below are gifted tomboy and author to be Jo, tragically frail Beth, beautiful Meg, and amorous, spoiled Amy, united in their dedication to one another and their struggles to live in New England during the Civil War.

It’s no secret that Alcott based Small Girls on her early life. While her dad, the freethinking reformer and abolitionist Bronson Alcott, hobnobbed with such distinguished male writers as Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Louisa encouraged herself and her sisters using woman’s job, such as stitching, doing laundry, and behaving as a domestic slave. However, she soon found she could do more money writing.

Little Women attracted her lasting fame and fortune, far from being the woman’s book, her book asked. It investigates such classic themes as love and death, peace and war, the conflict between personal vision and family obligations, and the conflict of civilizations between Europe and America.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This best selling Norton Critical Edition is based on the 1847 first edition of this book. For the Fourth Edition, the editor has collated the 1847 text with different modern variants and has adjusted several versions, such as accidentals. Entirely new self-explanatory annotations accompany the book.

New to the fourth Edition are twelve of Emily Bronte’s letters concerning the book of the 1847 edition of Wuthering Heights in addition to the growth of the 1850 edition, prose and poetry collections from the writer, four reviews of this book, and poetry collections by the writer, four reviews of this book, and Edward Chitham’s enlightening and educational chronology of this creative process behind the work.

Five necessary essential requirements of Wuthering Heights are contained, three of them new to the Fourth Edition. A Stuart Daley considers the significance of chronology from the book.

J. Hillis Miller examines Wuthering Heights’s problems of celebrity and critical standing. Sandra M. Gilbert assesses the function Victorian Christianity plays in the magazine, while Martha Nussbaum traces the book’s romanticism.

Ultimately, Lin Haire Sargeant scrutinizes the role of Heathcliff in movie adaptations of Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights (Wordsworth...
2,962 Reviews

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Don Quixote has become so entranced by reading chivalric romances he decides to be a knight errant himself. In the faithful squire business, Sancho Panza, his pops blossom in all types of unique ways.

Even though Quixote’s fancy often leads him astray he tilts at windmills, imagining them to be giants Sancho acquires adorable and a specific sagacity.

Sane madman and prudent idiot, they roam the world together, and collectively they’ve chased readers’ imaginations for almost four hundred decades.

Using its experimental form and literary playfulness, Don Quixote was broadly recognized as the first modern book. The book was hugely influential on a host of authors, from Fielding and Sterne into Flaubert, Dickens, Melville, and Faulkner, who reread it after a year, as some People Today read the Bible.

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

Arrowsmith is a story about a doctor’s rise through the science community. It was written by Sinclair Lewis, Nobel Laureate, with Paul de Kruif, a science writer whose real life experience adds a serious reality to this sharp witted and satirical commentary about the state of American medicine.

It is widely considered Lewis’s best novel and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in the year following its publication. He refused to accept the Pulitzer Prize, claiming the committee was too narrow in deeming any novel as the “best of the Year”. He accepted the Nobel Prize in 1930, which he accepted.

The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie

The last book we want to share with you in the public domain books is The Secret of Chimneys. Agathis Christie has written over 70 novels, plays, and short stories. Her world famous mysteries have been steadily falling from copyright and into the public domain for many years.

The Secret of Chimneys is a first ever story to feature Scotland Yard’s, Superintendent Battle. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot will soon replace this man of good sense and stolidity. So enjoy him while you still can.

The Secret of Chimneys, on the other hand, is classic Christie. It features a murder at a wealthy estate, misdirections and red herrings, as well as unexpected twists. It’s impossible to go wrong.


Where To Find Public Domain Books?

Where To Find Public Domain Books

Do you need some new books to read? Public domain books are a terrific way to discover anything from classic novels to technical manuals since they are free to download and are no longer protected by copyright. Here are 13 places where you may download or read online free public domain books or e-books.


Writers like Mary Shelley and Hans Christian Anderson are among the many authors whose works are available at Authorama. This is a fantastic place to start if you’re seeking the classics.


Audiobooks are a terrific way to read more, mainly if you spend a lot of time in your vehicle. LibriVox aims to meet this demand by offering thousands of audiobooks that are entirely free. Public domain book chapters are read by volunteers, who then sign up to have their chapters posted online for free download by readers.

To listen to all of your favorite shows on the move, search for the LibriVox app to download to your smartphone.

Google Books

Most of the public domain eBooks available on Google Books are in the classical literature category. Try Google Books or the main Google search engine to locate all kinds of public domain books. Just be sure to choose the Free Google eBooks filter.

To locate works in the public domain, you may also utilize Google Scholar. Choose Advanced Search from the hamburger menu located in the top left corner. Enter 1923 in the second date box of the Date/Return articles published between fields to get works in the public domain. Verify again that each piece of material really belongs in the public domain.

Project Gutenberg

One of the first online resources for books in the public domain is Project Gutenberg. Several formats and more than 60,000 books are accessible (PC, Kindle, Sony reader, etc.). It features one of the most comprehensive collections of publicly accessible literature you’ll discover online.


Feedbooks is a terrific resource for finding new, upcoming writers since it provides free public domain books and original works from authors who submit their literature to the website. In addition, Feedbooks is a valuable tool for spreading the word if you’ve been aching to publish a book.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive, which has sub-collections such as American Libraries, Children’s Library, and the Biodiversity Heritage Library, is a fantastic source for public domain publications. Be sure to come back often for fresh reading material since more collections are constantly being uploaded, and there are over 28 million results for eBooks and texts.


More than 50,000 public domain books are available for free download on ManyBooks. The website is set up to make finding books as straightforward as possible. Authors, titles, genres, and recent additions may all be filtered. This one is one of the most accessible websites to locate and download free books.


Like LibriVox, LoudLit offers high-quality audio recordings of outstanding works of public domain literature that may be downloaded directly to your PC or e-reader.

Online Library of Liberty

Individual liberty, limited constitutional government, free markets, and peace are all available to users of the Online Library of Liberty for free download and are all in the public domain. Among the categories are history, economics, the arts, law, religion, and more.

Read Print

At Read Print, you may discover novels, essays, poetry, and tales. An extensive search function allows you to locate books, quotations, authors, and organizations. According to Time Magazine, one of the top 50 websites is this one.

To identify the most popular books, you may sort the results by popularity after selecting a genre, such as fiction. Additionally, you can see a list of all the public domain works written by the top five writers on the website.

Classic Literature Library

This website for public domain books is very neatly set up into categories, including Classic American Literature, Classic Italian Literature, Sherlock Holmes, Shakespeare’s entire works, Fairy Tales, and Children’s Literature, among many more.

Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL)

Read the tremendous Christian works from over the centuries of church history. You may discover everything here, including Bible studies and research resources. Some books are also available in MP3 format, along with releases in the PDF, ePub, and PNG file types.

O’Reilly Open Books Project

The O’Reilly Open Books Project offers technical audiobooks, which concentrate on computer operating systems and programming languages. These publications are made accessible by O’Reilly for several reasons, including their historical significance and general educational value. Additionally pleased to be a member of the Creative Commons community as the publisher.

great public domain books

FAQs About Public Domain Books

What Else Is in the Public Domain?

The principles outlined previously, around 80 percent of the books published between 1923 and 1964, will also be in the public domain.

That is because, before 1964, the copyright duration for novels was 28 decades. Extending that phrase required a great deal of paperwork, and, fortunately, for subscribers, a lot of writers and publishers never registered.

To discover a few of those hidden jewels, you can take a look at the Hathi Trust, an electronic library like Project Gutenberg, which has uploaded many books that have been freed.

*Project Gutenberg perhaps is the best known destination for public domain books

Are Public Domain books Free?

Yes! Public domain books are liberated (and above all, legal!) To obtain, they can also be reproduced, utilized, and built upon without any specific permits or permissions.

They may be downloaded for free to your reading pleasure, quoted extensively in your blog, or utilized freely for instructional purposes all things that typically are not lawfully possible with novels that are out of their public domain.

How Can I Find Out When a Novel Is in the Public Domain Books List?

The simplest way to tell whether a book is in the public domain is whether its book date is earlier than 1923. Following that, the principles can be a little more complicated.

Luckily, however, the New York Public Library lately paid to encode the info in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, and also, the previous copyrights are now searchable. Therefore we can observe when and when they have been revived.

The majority of the time, you may get an answer by only performing an internet search on Google for your job’s name and the word public domain.

But should you have to use a job for a massive project and its status is uncertain, you may wish to consider calling the Copyright Office and request them to perform the search for you. It comes at a hefty cost, but you know their response will be right, and you can rest easy knowing that no suits are in your future.


The public domain is a great resource for finding books that are no longer under copyright protection. This means that you can freely read and distribute these books without having to worry about copyright infringement. There are many great public domain books available, so be sure to check them out.

Hope that you will find out the best books in the public domain worth the time you want to read. Happy reading!

Last update on 2022-09-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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