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When making citations, it's always good to include primary sources. That's why we have various forms of bibliographic citations. But there are times we can go one better -- many older books are widely available on the Web, free for download, and it would be remiss of us to cite a title when we can link to the actual text. Here, then, is a list of places where we can find such primary sources and other reference material:
- Project Gutenberg and affiliates -- The original Gutenberg is the Methuselah of ebook archives, created in 1971 long before the personal computer was anything like a reality. Many classics, including Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations and Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, are available here for no charge.
-  -- the original Project Gutenberg, based in the US.
-  -- Gutenberg Europe, which specializes in European cultures and languages.
-  -- Gutenberg Australia, home to much Australiana as well as numerous books such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind that are still under copyright in their home countries but are public domain in Australia.
-  -- Gutenberg-DE, specializing in German-language texts.
-  -- Gutenberg Consortia Center, a meta-site for the Gutenberg projects in general.
-  -- Project Runeberg, specializing in Nordic literature.
- The Talk.Origins Archive, a spinoff of the Usenet talk.origins newsgroup and one of the most definitive references on evolutionary biology and origins of the universe out there. If they don't have an article on it, they'll have an article telling you where to find it.
- The CIA World Factbook, one of the most definitive geography and national statistics databases out there, published by one of the most powerful and least trusted governmental intelligence agencies in the world.
- Bartleby.com, specializing in reference material (often more recent material licensed from the publishers) and public domain literature.
- Internet Sacred Text Archive Possibly the largest collection of religious documents on the web, with stuff as big as Christianity to as obscure as Raelism.
- Google Books
- If you wish to pay for your e-reading material, the following sites offer plenty of commercial output. Some also have their own brand of e-reader.
- Amazon; you'll need a Kindle or Kindle software for your choice of platform
- Apple's iTunes; you'll need an iOS device
- Barnes and Noble's site; you will need a Nook or Nook software
- Kobo's website (also handling what's left of Borders' subscriber base)
- http://lulu.com Better known for print-on-demand
- Sony's Reader store
- LifeHacker's top five ebookstores, July 2011
- Librivox Free public domain audiobooks
- Open Library is a project (offering library ebook lending) of the The Internet Archive