Building a Catholic eBook Library on the Cheap
I recently listed the best Catholic books of all-time as named in Fr. John McCloskey's 'Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.' All the links I provided were to paperback and hardcover books, which tend to be somewhat expensive.
But one of the things I've discovered since getting an Amazon Kindle is that you can find so many Catholic classics in eBook format either for free or for fairly cheap.
Before I received a Kindle for my birthday, I had been saving up to purchase the five-volume, hardcover set of St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica (current Amazon price: $245!) But after I received a Kindle I was thrilled to discover that you can get the entire Summa--in digital, searchable format--for only $0.99 in the Kindle Store. The savings from that purchase alone covered the cost of my Kindle.
So I decided to see how cheaply you could build a solid, Catholic eBook library. I quickly found that more than 60 books from the 'Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan' are available in Kindle format, and many were cheap or free! From there I browsed through the millions of books in Amazon's Kindle store and found many other low-priced Catholic classics. I thought it would be a big help to other eBook fans to list out the best buys in one location, so here you go.
Before you read the lists, though, three things should be noted. First, I've only included the Kindle versions of each eBook. Many titles are available in other eBook formats like ".epub" at similar or lower prices. But since the Kindle format is the most popular, I decided to link to that.
Second, you don't necessarily need a Kindle to read these eBooks (though it does make the e-reading experience more enjoyable). Amazon provides free programs which let you view Kindle eBooks on your PC, Mac, smartphone, iPhone, iPad, or other device all for free.
Finally, the cheaper an eBook costs, the more likely it is to have formatting issues, textual errors, or a missing table of contents. A good rule of thumb is that the cheaper an eBook costs, the more problems you'll find.
Most eBooks are available in different versions at different prices (e.g. free, $0.99, $1.99, etc.) and for many titles the free versions are excellent. But for others, it's worth paying a couple extra dollars for better quality. The best way to determine which version to get is to download a free sample of each and determine which is best.
With all that said, on with the lists!
Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan eBooks
FREE - Benson, Robert Hugh - Lord of the World
FREE - Chesterton, G.K. - Orthodoxy
FREE - de Caussade, Jean - Abandonment to Divine Providence
FREE - de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
FREE - Newman, John Henry - Apologia Pro Vita Sua
FREE - Newman, John Henry - Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
FREE - Newman, John Henry - The Idea of a University
FREE - Sienkiewicz, Henryk - Quo Vadis
FREE - Thérèse of Lisieux, St. - Story of a Soul
$0.95 - Augustine, St. - The City of God
$0.99 - THE HOLY BIBLE (Douay-Rheims Version)
$0.99 - A'Kempis, Thomas - The Imitation of Christ
$0.99 - Alighieri, Dante - The Divine Comedy
$0.99 - Aquinas, St. Thomas - Summa Theologica
$0.99 - Augustine, St. - Confessions
$0.99 - Catherine of Genoa, St. - A Treatise on Purgatory
$0.99 - Catherine of Siena, St. - Little Talks with God
$0.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox
$0.99 - John of the Cross, St. - Dark Night of the Soul
$0.99 - Liguori, Alphonso - Uniformity with God's Will
$0.99 - Manzoni, Alessandro - The Betrothed
$0.99 - Teresa of Avila, St. - Interior Castle
$1.99 - de Sales, St. Francis - Treatise on the Love of God
$1.99 - Teresa of Avila, St. - The Way of Perfection
$2.25 - de Montfort, Louis-Marie - True Devotion to Mary
$2.95 - Martinez, Luis - True Devotion to the Holy Spirit
$2.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - St. Francis of Assisi
$2.99 - de Sales, St. Francis - Introduction to the Devout Life
$5.99 - Scupoli, Lorenzo - Spiritual Combat
$6.36 - Escriva, Jose Maria - Christ is Passing By
$6.36 - Escriva, Jose Maria - Friends of God
$6.36 - Escriva, Jose Maria - The Way
$6.36 - Escriva, Jose Maria - The Furrow
$6.36 - Escriva, Jose Maria - The Forge
$6.98 - Chesterton, G.K. - The Everlasting Man
$7.16 - Escriva, Jose Maria - The Way of the Cross
$7.79 - Eliot, T.S. - Christianity and Culture
$7.95 - Sheen, Fulton - Three to Get Married
$9.68 - Waugh, Evelyn - Brideshead Revisited
$9.89 - Percy, Walker - Lost in the Cosmos
$9.89 - Percy, Walker - Love in the Ruins
$9.99 - Bernanos, George - The Diary of a Country Priest
$9.99 - Boylan, Eugene - This Tremendous Lover
$9.99 - Hahn, Scott - Rome Sweet Home
$9.99 - Lewis, C.S. - Mere Christianity
$9.99 - Lewis, C.S. - The Problem of Pain
$9.99 - Lewis, C.S. - The Screwtape Letters
$9.99 - Rice, Charles - 50 Questions on the Natural Law
$9.99 - Sheed, Frank - Theology and Sanity
$9.99 - Teresa, Bl. Mother - Meditations from a Simple Path
$9.99 - von Hildebrand, Dietrich - Transformation in Christ
$12.99 - Undset, Sigrid - Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath
$12.99 - Undset, Sigrid - Kristin Lavransdatter II : The Wife
$12.99 - Undset, Sigrid - Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross
$13.99 - Sheen, Fulton - Life of Christ
$14.99 - Crocker III, H.W. - Triumph
$14.99 - Weigel, George - Witness to Hope
$18.98 - Newman, John Henry - Parochial and Plain Sermons
$18.99 - Tolkien, J.R.R. - The Lord of the Rings
More Free or Cheap Catholic eBooks
FREE - Chesterton, G.K. - What's Wrong With the World
FREE - Chesterton, G.K. - Eugenics and Other Evils
FREE - More, St. Thomas - Utopia
$0.99 - Anselm, St. - Book of Meditations and Prayers
$0.99 - Anselm, St. - Proslogium and Monologium
$0.99 - Athanasius, St. - On the Incarnation
$0.99 - Aquinas, St. Thomas - Summa Contra Gentiles
$0.99 - Augustine, St. - Handbook on Faith, Hope, and Love
$0.99 - Augustine, St. - On Grace and Free Will
$0.99 - Bernard of Clairvaux, St. - On Loving God
$0.99 - Benedict, St. - The Holy Rule of St. Benedict
$0.99 - Bonaventure, St. - The Journey of the Mind Into God
$0.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - Heretics
$0.99 - Early Christians - The Didache
$0.99 - Francis de Sales, St - Treatise on the Love of God
$0.99 - Gregory the Great, Pope St. - Saint Benedict
$0.99 - Ignatius of Loyola, St. - Spiritual Exercises
$0.99 - Julian of Norwich, St. - Revelations of Divine Love
$0.99 - Lawrence, Brother - Practice of the Presence of God
$0.99 - Leo XIII, Pope - Rerum Novarum
$1.00 - Pascal, Blaise - Pensées
$1.99 - Anselm, St. - The Devotions of St. Anselm
$1.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - The Catholic Church and Conversion
$1.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - The Innocence of Fr. Brown
$1.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - The Wisdom of Fr. Brown
$1.99 - Ugolino, Brother - The Little Flowers of St. Francis
$2.25 - Butler, Alban - Lives of the Saints
$2.99 - Anonymous - The Cloud of Unknowing
$2.99 - Aquinas, St. Thomas - Catena Aurea-Gospel of Mark
$2.99 - Aquinas, St. Thomas - Catena Aurea-Gospel of Matthew
$2.99 - Aquinas, St. Thomas - Catena Aurea-Gospel of Luke
$2.99 - Augustine, St. - On Christian Doctrine
$2.99 - Chesterton, G.K. - The Man Who Was Thursday
$2.99 - John of the Cross, St. - Ascent of Mount Carmel
$2.99 - Rose, Devin - If Protestantism Is True
$2.99 - Teresa of Avila, St. - The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus
$2.99 - Thérèse of Lisieux, St. - Poems of St. Teresa
$3.99 - Aquinas, St. Thomas - Catena Aurea-Gospel of John
Catholic Publishers Offering Cheap Catholic eBooks
- Catholic Answers - Good collection of apologetical eBooks.
- Ignatius Press - Includes some great annotated, classic works of literature for very cheap.
- Scepter Publications - A number of books by St. Josemaria Escriva.
- Our Sunday Visitor - Many of their "Pocket Guide" books are around $5 each.
- Pauline Catholic Books and Media - Some good eBooks exploring the "theology of the body."
- USCCB - Just a few titles, but some good ones.
Update #1: Another great source for free Catholic eBooks--though you won't be able to download them to a Kindle--is the fantastic Why I Am Catholic Bookshelf. Frank Weathers over at the Why I Am Catholic blog has culled over 850 eBooks into this great collection. Check it out!
Update #2: In addition to my original list of the best Catholic books, I have another follow-up post where I list more of the best Catholic books and eBooks.
(Credit for the title goes to Tim Challies, who wrote a similar post aimed at Reformed Protestant readers.)
Do you have a Kindle or other e-reader?
What tips do you have?
What are you some of your favorite eBooks?