I am not talking about the various books that the new e-authors put out for free. There is no doubt talent among them, and some gems among their works available on the Internet. But wading through the less-worthy in that mass of new content is too much to take on.
No, instead, look at the great works of literature you can download and read for free. They include classical classics of the ancient sages like Aristotle and Virgil, and the greats of the enlightenment, like Hobbes and Kant, great American and British authors, poets, and humorists, and so on. The only big limitation: the works available free, are free because they are public domain if they were first published before 1923 or so.
Project Gutenberg has been digitizing books since about 1970, somehow anticipating that we’d want to read them on as-yet-un-invented devices. Their collection reaches to at least 36,000 titles. I find it easier to browse, search, and download that content via the easy-to-use site Manybooks.net which has much of the Project Gutenberg content in its collection.
Will you miss Stephen King and Suzanne Collins and other great current writers? Maybe so, but the tens of thousands of books you can get for free include remarkable stuff, some of which you always meant to read, or should have read, or were assigned to read in school but never really read.
Image: Jinx! via Flickr, Creative Commons attribution license