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How to Download Google Books in PDF File?

written by: Anurag Ghosh•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/27/2010

Most users read Google Books in full view online, but they don’t know how to download PDF files from Google Books. Here is a step-by-step guide to download copyright-free, public domain books from Google in PDF format.

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    Google Books: An Amazing Resource for Rare Scanned Books

    Google Books is a very useful tool that lets users find books scanned and converted by Google using optical character recognition technology. Users can find books according to keyword search from a massive library of 10 million scanned books. Google Books was previously known as Google Print and was first introduced in 2004. It has a good resource of public domain books that gathered dust on old library shelves. This tutorial will show you how to download PDF files from Google Books in the public domain.

    Ever since Google Books was unveiled, it has proven to be an amazing resource for books. Google has different measures for determining the number of viewable pages for books covered by copyright. Books in the public domain are available in “full view", whereas copyrighted books are available for limited “preview". Now, public domain books can be downloaded in PDF and Epub format directly from Google Books in order to read them on your computer or smartphone having an eBook reading facility.

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    How to Download PDF from Google Books?

    Although Google provided full view of scanned books in the public domain, most people wanted to download full PDF versions of books. Google went ahead and made all books in the public domain available for download in two formats: Epub and PDF. But, most users are still confused on how to search public domain books and download them in PDF format. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to download PDF files from Google Books in the public domain:

    1. On your browser, type You will see a wide variety of books classified into Magazines, Classics, Highly Cited, Self Help, Gardening, Social Science and many more categories of books:

    Google Books - A Wide Variety of Categories Available for the Avid Reader 

    2. To access public domain books and download them in PDF format, you will have to use the Browse Subjects section located on the left hand side of the window:

    Google Books - Browse by Subject 

    Click on your favorite subject, for example Literary Collections, to unveil a digital library full of classics from Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson and many more. There will be thousands of books related to literary giants and collections of prose and poetry.

    3. On the left hand side, you will see some options to filter these digital books. They are: Limited Preview and Full View, Full View Only and Public Domain Only. Full View will enable you to read the entire book online whereas Limited Preview books are copyrighted. Books in the Public Domain Only link can be viewed online in their entirety or can be downloaded in PDF format. Click on the Public domain only link to access only those books available for download:

    Options to Filter Books - Limited Preview, Full View and Public Domain Only 

    4. You will then notice thousands of scanned books in the public domain. If you are facing any difficulty in searching for your favorite books, type in your favorite author’s name (for example: Charles Dickens) or the book’s name (Example: A Tale of Two Cities) on the Google Books Search box:

    You can Use the Search Option to Filter Results 

    You will then find books filtered according to the name of the author or book entered in the search box.

    5. Click on the cover page of the book you want to download. You will be taken to a live full preview of the scanned book:

    Google Books - Live Online Preview 

    6. To download the digitalized Google book in PDF format, click on the Download link in the extreme top-right corner of the window. You will notice two formats: Epub and PDF. Click on PDF to download the scanned book on your computer:

    How to Download PDF from Google Books 

    Choose the location, for example My Documents, in your computer to save the PDF file. Click Save. You have your favorite Google Book saved in PDF format on your computer:

    Choose the Location and Save the Book in PDF Format