We tried not to use any books for this curriculum that are unavailable. With a very few exceptions, the books are either still in print or are online. When an out-of-print is recommended, an alternative is always posted.
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
Classic Reader has over 3500 e-books
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
World-Wide School listed 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!
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. Valerie's Living Books has an article that addresses this. We suggest you read it before you stress 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.
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 well-read audiobooks for free download through Florida's educational system
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:
Paperback Book Swap is a database for trading books (not just paperbacks). You post which books you want to get rid of, and which books you want. You send off the books that people tell you they want, and you receive the books on your list in the mail. All you pay is shipping to mail the books out. This is quickly becoming the most popular option for AO users. It's only for those in the USA, but BookMooch is a similar program that's available worldwide.
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 and 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:
These buy/sell groups don't usually list hard-to-find books, but they may still be helpful for those just starting their book collections.
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.
You can view the Yesterday's Classics book catalog by subject, author, or title. In the catalog entries you will see a description of each book, its color cover, and a link called "Look inside . . ." that takes you to a pdf preview of the first 1/5 of the book, including the complete table of contents, the front matter, and the first few chapters. From this you can see the size of type and the quality of the illustrations that are included. Depending upon your screen resolution, the printed pictures may appear better than they do on your screen. There is no shipping charge to US addresses for orders of 3 or more books. Lisa Ripperton, the owner, says, "I am glad to take requests for other titles too. Just send me an email at Lisa@MainLesson.com with "Book Suggestion" as the subject."
Updated March 16, 2017
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