Veterans stuck inside can turn to reading a catalog of more than 61,000 classic, free e-books and audio books at Project Gutenberg.

People can read books online or download them for reading offline, including popular e-readers.

In addition to reading, there’s a selection of audio books available on the site. The site also offers books in dozens of languages, including hundreds in Spanish.

The books are mainly older literary works whose copyright expired. Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, Jack London and Jane Austen are some of the celebrated authors. People can read about characters such as Moby Dick, Frankenstein, Peter Pan, Tiny Tim and Alice in Wonderland.

Searching for books

Users can search for books a variety of ways. Project Gutenberg offers a list of the most popular books, latest books, a search feature, or a random book selection. Users can also browse the digital bookshelves by categories, genre, age group or topic.

The bookshelves are broken into categories. These range from animals to history to science.

One of these categories is a section called the “Wars Bookshelf.” This section has books about the Revolutionary War, Boer War, English Civil War, Spanish-American War, U.S. Civil War, and both world wars. Selections from this bookshelf range from Marine landings in the Pacific during World War II to stories of Bull Run to audio versions of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. The U.S. Civil War and World War I are the biggest sections, with hundreds of titles.

There’s also a “Children’s Bookshelf” that offers fairy tales, fiction books, school stories and more.

Project Gutenberg also needs help digitizing, proofreading and formatting, recording audio books, and reporting errors. People interested in helping can find more information on the website. They can help produce e-books by proof-reading just one page a day.

The website receives hundreds of thousands of downloads each day and several million each month.

By Air Force Veteran Adam Stump is a member of VA's Digital Media Engagement team.

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Published on Apr. 21, 2020

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 801


  1. Steve Lamon April 29, 2020 at 11:47 am

    A 122mm rocket found me in Nam leaving me with problems. This comment is simply feedback for the audio book program. I found the application very easy to complete. My VA PA certified my disabilities which satisfied requirements. The app was mailed in. Thereafter I received a call to verify my mailing address and audio book choices. It is a simple positive process. Just allow time for your app to process. The lady who called told me that due to the COVID-19, she is the only person in their office.

  2. Leroy F Slater April 25, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    where is the like to get to the list of books?

  3. Tim Lindell April 24, 2020 at 7:48 am

    For those above who expressed interest in helping with proofreading new books for Project Gutenberg, but couldn’t find the link, please go to Distributed Proofreaders at:

    You’ll find plenty of information to get you started!

  4. Myler Herring April 23, 2020 at 10:44 pm

    Looking forward to it. Thanks

  5. Ron Thomas April 23, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Veteran Career Counselor, Youth Mentor, Education Advocate: Ready to offer services and expertise as a Proofreader and Voice-Over Volunteer. Please respond at convenience with more details for services consideration. Meanwhile, Peace & Blessings.

  6. L Clark April 23, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Blocked on first click just trying to Browse Catalog. Someone needs to either fix the site or delete it

  7. HENRIETTA April 23, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I would like to volunteer for vocals/proofing, and anything else that will help this project. I am a Viet Nam Veteran. Please give more information about volunteering. Great idea.

  8. James Gardner April 23, 2020 at 10:30 am is great. If you want audio books in the public domain is good too. You can download an audio book or volunteer to read one. There are many languages to choose from. I really like Mark Twain read in German, the reader is wonderful.

  9. Rolla Breed April 23, 2020 at 9:30 am

    In the first sentence of this article, the words “Project Gutenberg” are a link to the site. Do NOT use the browse button on the home page or you will be blocked!

  10. Juan Rivera April 23, 2020 at 9:21 am

    I want to help when you referenced reading and proofreading books, but I can’t find the site. Must be Gutenbergs’ site.

    Thank you for the information, the VA does all it can for us, you have been on the frontline when vets come home.

  11. Terry Price April 23, 2020 at 7:21 am

    There are at least two other good digital book sources if you have a library card and your library participates: search Axis 360 and Overdrive. You will find “current” books that you might otherwise have to pay for to download.

    • Special Things April 24, 2020 at 4:51 am

      also with your public library card try out lLYND.COM from the NYS library NYPD.ORG

  12. John ALBRIGHT April 23, 2020 at 6:20 am

    I would love to read some books. How do I do that. I would like some help on this because I read many books but right now I hsve no access.

    • Thomas Kisner April 23, 2020 at 10:12 am

      I have a library card at the Deschutes County library in Oregon. All I have to do is go to their web site (day or night, 24/7), write the subject, book name, or author and hit search. All of the forms of the book (book, ebook, audio book, or books available by the spacific author etc.) will list. I just select the book or books I want and follow the directions to check them out, reserve them at the library, or download them. You’ll probably have to sign up with your library to open an email account using your library card number. They’ll have you chose a pass word (usually 4 digits). Also, in the of Deschutes County, the ebooks are automatically returned at the end of the check out period, so you don’t have to worry about overdue fines.

  13. Marcus N Fisher April 23, 2020 at 6:11 am

    Thanks for offer. It’s story time

  14. John Launer April 23, 2020 at 5:11 am

    I’d like to recommend the ebook “All Expenses Paid”. Vets have given it very high reviews, even a Colonel friend of mine.

  15. Guillermo Thorne, Dr. April 23, 2020 at 5:07 am

    I’m interested in assisting with your degitalization project; proof reading, voice recording – English and Spanish, and voiceover recording.

    Please provide me with additional information.

  16. Kenneth Birr April 23, 2020 at 4:56 am

    Tried to open Project Gutenurg but says blocked

    Why did this block occur?
    Project Gutenberg’s Terms of Use prohibit mass downloads or automated harvesting of the collection. The site relies on donated servers and bandwidth, so has automated mechanisms in place to detect when abuse might be occurring. This helps to keep the site as available as possible for visitors. Some reasons why automated blocks occur include:

    You entered a search query or parameter that triggered an automated block. If this happens, try again with a different search string or parameter. Our system sometimes thinks queries with parentheses, boolean phrases (“is not” or similar), etc. might be attacks against the site.
    Your program is trying to “harvest” the contents. Instead, see the Mirroring How-To, and the Robot ReadMe.
    You have a shared IP address, and someone else has triggered the block. This has happened with Amazon Kindle, where Amazon funnels Kindles through their cloud servers. Instead, download to your computer, and transfer to your reader device. See the Mobile reader devices how-to. It also happens sometimes with TOR, with classrooms/schools, and other situations where the same IP address is being shared.
    How can I get unblocked?
    Most blocks are applied only on a per-incident basis, so you should still be able to visit pages at Some blocks, especially of perceived mass downloads, might not expire for 24 hours, and repeated abusers may be permanently blacklisted.

    I have other questions or need to report an error
    Please email the diagnostic information to help2020 @ (removing the spaces around the @) and we will try to help. Adjustment of the blocking software in early 2018 has resulted in some “false positives” — that is, blocks that should not have occurred. If that happened to you, please let us know so we can keep adjusting the software. Apologies if this happened, because human users who are making use of the eBooks or other site features should almost never be blocked.
    Most recently updated: March 23, 2020.

  17. Benjamin Drake April 23, 2020 at 4:25 am

    I think this is a great offer and I’m all for it. Now, a suggestion to improve it. I have written many poems, all but two about Vietnam. Why don’t you make the digitizer available to those of us who have our unpublished books, poems, etc. to do that and make them available to anyone who wants them. That would make them available after we are gone.

    • Sylvia, Bud Green April 26, 2020 at 10:07 pm

      Benjamin Drake, What a great ideal! I hope it takes off.

  18. Jon Henderson April 23, 2020 at 3:11 am

    How can I help?
    Rerired Technical Writer, editor, Data Center manager, Documentation Specialist, etc,.
    I sometimes become obsessive about my work, but my stamana is limited because I am getting old; little patience for nonsense.

  19. Michael Pierce April 23, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Thanks you so much for the shared information. Tbis something I will
    Look forward to doing.

  20. Richard Peterson April 23, 2020 at 12:14 am

    Article did not tell you HOW to down load the books,what web site or log in???

  21. Robert E Ewing Jr April 22, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    I enjoy reading this is a great thing for all veterans. THANK YOU!!

  22. John Marcus Moes April 22, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    I was a proof reader for several years and still do a lot of reading. I am a WWII vet but still drive my car and live by myself. Still looking for work. Let me know if I can help.

  23. Miss Simone R. Patton April 22, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    I don’t have an E-Reader. I would like a Free one. I am 100% Service-Connected & I am Vulnerable to catching Covid-19 at age 60 with COPD & CHF!! Are you giving out Free E-Readers to Veterans?? Please let me know if this is part of the Program.

  24. Gail Schneider April 22, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    Are these books available to any Vet?

    And, I’m interested in hearing more abut how I might be of assistance with proof reading or reading audio books.

  25. Tracey Hill April 22, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks so much for this!

  26. Nora E Hendry April 22, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    Ready to try it! Love to read!!

  27. Sheri Garrigus April 22, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    Thank you so much.

  28. Tom Barto April 22, 2020 at 10:24 pm

    Thanks for the invite. This is really a great opportunity .

  29. Kelvin V Neilson April 22, 2020 at 10:21 pm

    All who are a part of bringing this project to vets——Thank You!!

  30. Robert Nau jr April 22, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    How does a person get involved? Who furnishes the books?

  31. Gena Price April 22, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    I am just learning about this sight. It’s wonderful! Thanks You!

  32. robert a freedman April 22, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    How do you get e-books? I cant figure it out. Can someone please help me, I am sincerely,

  33. Norman Chavez April 22, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    I look forward to using this program.

  34. Gene R Wilson April 22, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    What is this for? This is my first time here. Is this really required?

  35. louis bobrowsky April 22, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    how do I take advantage of the offer?

  36. Ronald Scott April 22, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    As a Vietnam veteran, I would like to offer my novel, Face of the Enemy, to your inventory. It is a novel based on actual events.

  37. Christine M Beach April 22, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I would love to help digitize and proofread ebooks for veterans. I am not only a veteran myself but an also a published author. However information on how to do so wasn’t clearly stated. If the website could be passed along so I might participate I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you and what a great idea!

  38. WILLIAM BODILY April 22, 2020 at 8:40 pm


  39. David Cornelius April 22, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I can help with reading

  40. George Dahl April 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    This is great news reguarding e-books being made available by the VA for veterans I’m visually impaired and currently use the US government NLS (National Library Service) program. The NLS provides an audio tape player along with the tape cartridges of selected books and topics. This organization also mails a bimonthly catalog called Talkriing Books Topics for lessening selection, with prepaid postage for the tapes and the player equipment.

    Does your Gutenberg program match the same as I just described above? In other words are the tape player and cartridges the same as the NLS equipment.

    Thank you. George Dahl

    • Jeroen Hellingman April 24, 2020 at 7:41 am

      You could also head over to LibriVox, which has numerous works read by humans for free, however, you will need a computer or smartphone to listen to those works.

  41. bomani simelani April 22, 2020 at 8:23 pm


  42. Bill Tragakis April 22, 2020 at 7:22 pm

    I am a Vietnam era Marine Corps vet. While not a professional writer, I have just completed a short 46-page novel, entitled, “GREAT AMERICAN HERO”.
    Would it be possible for you to add my new book to those you are offering in your E-Book library?
    I think many veterans would not only enjoy the book, but most would be able to identify with the protagonist.

  43. Daniel Fox April 22, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    I’m a Viet Nam vet and would gladly like to help out. I live in Western Connecticut. Please feel free to contact me.

  44. Judith L (Johnson) Pennenga April 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    I’m interested in editing and proofreading. I’ve been an avid reader, an ESL Literacy tutor and a foreign language host mother from 4 countries. If need arises, I can help. I’m an Army veteran, 1976, An army medic.

    • Jeroen Hellingman April 24, 2020 at 7:43 am

      You can head to Distributed Proofreaders (, which prepares a large part of Project Gutenberg books. This is basically transcribing the text from page images.

  45. Georgette Powell April 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I would be willing to narrate and or edit books.

  46. Hal Bernhardt April 21, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Thanks for the offer!

  47. HeatUpJamz April 21, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Wow this is nice. I love it

Comments are closed.

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