Stories on a Budget: 10 Places to Read Online for Free

Olivia Handscom ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Today, the average college student is on a pretty strict budget. So with little money to buy actual books, fans of literature have turned to the next best thing—the internet. The internet truly is a fantastic place for people who love the written word and want to find communities to read, listen, and share plenty of different stories. There are options out there for everyone, no matter what their reading preferences may be. Here are a few places to read online!

Wattpad: Wattpad is Canada-based writing community that allows users to post original literature content. With over forty million users and over a hundred million stories to read, the entertainment opportunity is endless. Whether someone is in the mood for sci- fi, romance, poetry, or even nonfiction, Wattpad has a story for them. Bonus: Some popular authors, such as Colleen Hoover and Marissa Meyer, have become users of Wattpad, posting samples of their novels and full-length novellas!

Wattpad on the iPhone. Source:
Wattpad on the iPhone. Source:

Electric Literature: Electric Literature is a website that posts excerpts of books by indie authors. The site is run by a cool group of people who are trying to support authors and expand the literature community. They also feature an email subscription that sends one free short story per week to their subscribers.

Pulseit: Pulseit is a site created exclusively for Simon and Schuster’s young adult books. It has extended previews of many of their new releases, as well as one book per week that is posted in its entirety for anyone to read. Users can post reviews of books, “heart” books, and even enter contests and giveaways.

Pulseit. Source:

365tomorrows: 365tomorrows is a collaborative project that releases a new science fiction short story, as well as a piece of flash fiction, every day. 365tomorrows also has fun stuff like podcasts. The site has been active since 2005, so there are plenty of stories from which to choose.

American Literature: American Literature offers full-length classics and other public domain works, all free to read in one convenient spot. They also have plenty of short stories, essays, and poetry form which to pick.

DailyLit:  DailyLit is perfect for readers who do not have a lot of free time.  DailyLit will break up a novel into installments that they send via email at the subscriber’s convenience. The subscribers simply select a novel from the list of classics or new fiction that DailyLit has to offer, and then they choose when they want the installments to be in their inbox.

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Loyal Books: Loyal Books offers free classic and public domain audiobooks. Audiobooks can be plaed on the site itself, but are also available for free download.

Smashwords: Smashwords is the largest distributor of indie eBooks. The site contains over 350,000 titles. Not all of the books on Smashwords are free, but there are quite a few free options.

Smashwords logo. Source:

Harlequin Extras: For those in the mood for a little romance, Harlequin Extras offers tons of short stories with plenty of the mushy-gushy stuff. The site also contains videos, book trailers, and podcasts. Plus, the stories they offer are printable.

Booksie: Booksie offers a place where readers and writers can connect. Like Wattpad, people post original content. People can choose to read full length novels, short stories, poetry, or even articles. There are many genres to satisfy anyone’s preference.  

That is just to name a few different sites that offer free literature! So whether someone is on a budget, or maybe just looking for a short story to squeeze in between classes, there is something out there for everyone.

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