From online book stores to author newsletters, there are dozens of great places to find free books. So many that it can be difficult to find reliable sources of free lesbian and wlw books for you to download (without jamming up your computer with viruses).
I’ve put together this handy resource of legitimate sites where you can find free downloads of lesbian fiction and LGBTQ+ books you can read with the author and publishers permission. Because everyone loves a list, I’ve divided these sites into eight different categories based on the type of freebie you can get or what you need to do to get it.
If you feel bad about downloading free books online then just remember: the author often wants more reviews and an increase in their readership.
The next time you stumble across a free ebook download and absolutely fall in love with the writing; why not repay the author by leaving a review? Or shout about the book on social media (if you can). Check out my post on Six Great Ways to Support a Lesbian Author Whose Work You LOVE, to give you a few more ideas of how you can give back!
Right, grab your favourite beverage and take a seat. This post is PACKED is with tips on finding free lesbian books!
1. PermaFree Books
Permafree books are simply books that are permanently free. As an author myself, I know how important PermaFree books are to many authors marketing efforts. Authors often use this as a way of getting their books out into the world so that readers, like you, will find them and take a chance on them.
These five are sites and apps on which you are able to easily find free lesbian novels and wlw through sorting, categorisation, or a simple search, without having to scroll through endless junk for hours on end.
Amazon Bestseller Lists
Amazon seems to have become a little secretive about this. Either that or they don’t know how to make the most of a fantastic asset.
Either way, alongside the usual bestseller lists, there is a hidden bestseller list of all the free ebooks you can download. This list includes all the books which are free on that day only, as well as all the books which are set to be permanently free by their authors.
The biggest problem with this is that the hidden free bestsellers list is not easy to find. In fact, if you are navigating Amazon on the app or on a phone or tablet, then it is simply impossible to discover.
Head over to the desktop version of Amazon, navigate to the bestseller list of your chosen genre, be it lesbian romance, or simply LGBT fiction. Right at the top of the page, it will say ‘Top 100 Paid’ next to this it will say: Top 100 Free.
Smashwords have been a small-time rival to Amazon for a few years now. Some people have fallen in and out of favour with them, but overall I have found them a useful site to use to publish my books when I want them to permanently free.
Their navigation is far easier than Amazon and it is a really simple process to narrow down your search to LGBT fiction that is also free.
However, I will say that the quality of the fiction on this site is not always of the highest standard and it is rare to get books published here from a publishing house.
The website is tricky to navigate, and if you are looking specifically for free lesbian fiction (and if you are here, then I assume you are!) then your best bet is to download the app.
The search function on the Kobo app is far more streamlined and it is a really straightforward process to narrow down what you are looking for. But out of all my recommendations on this blog, I would say this is the weakest site for free lesbian books.
Google Play Books
This option is really only available as an app from the Google Play store. So as far as I know, unless you have an android phone, you really can’t access this option easily.
But for those of you who can, Google Play Books does have a nice and straightforward search function. You can’t really narrow down the genre to identify Lesbian + Free, however, you can do a simple google search for free lesbian fiction or free LGBT fiction and it will give a list of books that fall into that category (it seems like such a simple task and yet so many sites just don’t offer this capability!).
Prolific Works is a unique platform for readers to access exclusive sneak peeks, advance previews, and special giveaways.
This gives you the chance to discover authors you’ll love, who bring you the stories you want to read. You can filter by category and genre, meaning you can hook up with LGBTQIA+ authors and download exclusive freebies before anyone else!
If the terrible fate that fell upon Clexa is still haunting you, or if you are desperately waiting for Kara Danvers and Lena Luthor to admit their undying love, then you need this list of the six places that all your fantasy lesbian pairings can come true!
With everything from Carmilla to Avatar: Legend of Korra, these websites have you canon and non-canon femslash wishes granted!
2. FanFiction Sites
Passion and Perfection
This has a huge compendium of f/f fan fiction pairings, and it is super easy to navigate through the thousands of words collected here.
So, if you want to finally read about Rizzoli and Isles becoming the official couple that everyone knows they are, or if you are one of the massively passionate followers of Dr Who and her time travelling girlfriend… it is all here!
Long before SwanQueen and when the pure joy of WayHaught was a distant and unbelievable fantasy, we had a Warrior Princes whose courage would change the world!
The Athenaeum (and RAOB) were the only places anyone could see the subtext of the show become ‘canon’. Now the site is a little dated and hasn’t been updated since 2016 but there are still hundreds of thousands of words of Xena fanfiction, not to mention every other fandom from Rachel and Quinn in Glee to Myka and Helena in that beloved nonsense of a show; Warehouse 13.
The Royal Academy of Bards
As with the Athenaeum, this site was a staple for lovers of Xena and Gabrielle fanfiction.
However that is not to say there is nothing else on here, and many a lesbian author has cut her teeth on a Devil Wears Prada lesbian retelling. Head over to browse what’s on offer.
Unlike the Athenaeum, this site is constantly updated with new fiction. Plus, you can sign up to get updates of the latest lesbian short stories, or chapters as they come online.
Archive of Our Own
I believe this is one of the largest sites out there for shipping of all dimensions. From the classics of Kirk and Spock in the old, old days of fanfiction, to the more up to date spins on Homestuck, Teenwolf, Pitch-Perfect, and Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.
If you want to read about Captain Marvel finally getting the girlfriend she deserves, head over here and read away the hours…
I have to say, although I started out reading f/f stories on the Xena website (as did every lesbian with internet access in the early ’00s) these days, the site du jour is Wattpad.
Not only does it have one of the most attractive and easy on the eye interfaces, making it feel as though you are reading a finished eBook from the shelves at Amazon, but its search function is simple. Plus the requirement for each book to have a cover, and for each story to have tags and a description, makes it super easy to find what you are looking for.
3. Promo Emails
None of us can get enough of lesbian romance and some of the best lesbian fiction ever is being produced at the moment. More and more books are moving to the mainstream shelves and big names like Barnes & Noble are stocking LGBT fiction alongside publishers such as Bloomsbury who are actively looking for YA fiction with LGBT main characters.
These fab email lists are either dedicated LGBTQ+/wlw fiction or have an option to let you narrow your options down to an LGBT category.
Started by Harper Bliss more than a couple of years ago now and now managed by the wonderful Anne Hagan, MyLesFic.com was the first newsletter focused solely on discounts for lesbian fiction.
Every book is vetted to ensure high quality and the validity of the discounts, plus the organisers go to particular effort to ensure that the discounts offered are not just available to those in the UK and the US.
So this site is especially useful if you happen to be outside of those countries!
A great complimentary site to MyLesFic, LesFicNow has a simple sign up and will send you a weekly digest of all the books either free or discounted that week.
However, there may be books on this list which are only on discount in the UK and/or the US. So watch out for that!
Also, the organisers are back from a hiatus and working to make the newsletter better than ever!
Bookbub is a huge behemoth, and advertising on the platform has already overtaken Amazon in the esteem of some authors. With just about every genre out there, it is a shame that lesbian fiction is bundled under LGBT.
However, it doesn’t cost a penny to sign up so as long as you can stand wading through all the lovely bare chests of all the models on the front covers of the m/m books (like little Greek statues, so they are) then you can find some free lesbian stories in amongst the others.
Again this is a huge site dedicated to highlighting books of all genres.
However, like Bookbub when you sign up to their newsletter, you are given the option of specifying the genre that you are most interested in.
This means you get the chance to choose LGBT.
Again, there is a high disparity between MLM fiction and WLW, with MLM dominating the market. However, it really is worth checking those emails as they come in to make sure you aren’t missing out on the next lesbian bestseller!
If you are into your genre fiction then there really is no place better for your space pirate lesbian hit!
Again there are all the other letters of the wonderful LGBTQIA+ spectrum supported in this mailing list, which can be fantastic news. But it might also mean you get your hopes up only to find there are no lesbians this week.
But again, it is well worth signing up if you like anything that could fall vaguely into the speculative or fantastical.
I Heart LesFic
This site is quickly becoming a go-to for many authors and readers alike.
Their mailing list is focused on lesbian books, specifically on new releases rather than discounts.
However, they now have a monthly sale AND a monthly giveaway, so make sure you don’t miss out on your chance to grab discounts and even win yourself some new books!
Started in 2017, LGBT-Romance.com sends out two newsletters a week focused on new releases, discounts, and giveaways. As well as ebooks this is one of the only lists to include audio-books.
However, the site is a little light on the ‘L’ in the LGBT and features mostly m/m romance. But it is still only a small newsletter and with time it should grow to showcase a greater number of diverse authors across the whole spectrum – especially if we all help to give the site the subscribers it needs!
4. Author Newsletters
Authors love to find new readers, and voracious readers like you are just what they are looking for! Many authors give away free novels or short stories when you sign up to their mailing list, which is a great way to get to know their work while filling up your TBR pile on your eReader!
I’m not going to list every wlw author with a newsletter here, but that’s only because I’ve already done it on another page.
I’ve put together a kind of directory of all the wlw authors I could find who are all giving their readers free lesbian novels or short stories when they join their mailing lists. The list is constantly being updated with new authors so make sure you bookmark that page and check back regularly.
5. Publisher Websites
Going direct to the source is a great way to find new books and freebies. Publishers want you to find and fall in love with their books and many have a page dedicated to their current free books, others do giveaways and contests.
I’ve compiled a list of publishers who are offering wlw and lesbian titles for free so you can check them out for yourself:
Affinity Rainbow Publications
Affinity are a New Zealand based publishing house owned and run completely by authors. They have produced hundreds of print and digital books largely focusing on contemporary lesbian romance and their aim is to “produce quality, affordable works of fictional literature.”
Affinity has a whole section of their shop dedicated to free titles so, do take the time to head over and browse through what is currently on offer.
Carnation Books is an independent ebook publisher that focus on publishing works across the whole LGBTQIA+ spectrum and they are passionate about fanfiction.
So if you have taken time to browse through my list of fanfiction sites, you may well recognise some names on the list of Carnation’s authors.
Although not completely free, Carnation Books publish ALL their titles on Kindle Unlimited. This means if you already have KU, you can read every one of their publications for no extra cost.
Cleis Press is a huge independent publishing house and can claim the title of the ‘largest independent sexuality publishing company in the United States’.
Cleis Press are very much a ‘speciality’ publisher with a focus on sub genres such as BDSM and they include LGBTQ titles on their back list although this is not the sole focus of the publisher.
Cleis are high priced publisher with no easy freebies, however the company DOES offer a reviewer program where ebook and occasional print books are offered for review.
Desert Palm Press
Desert Palm Press was founded just six years ago and is a publishing house that focus on women’s voices, specifically writers who focus on lesbian main characters only.
This means you won’t have to double check their romances to be sure that they are wlw rather than mlm.
Although not an extensive collection, Desert Palm Press nevertheless offers six free books to anyone who joins their mailing list.
Dirt Road Books
Dirt Road books take pride in publishing a massive variety of genres and styles, and from a range of voices.
The unifying factor of all their books is that they focus mainly on f/f or wlw stories.
Dirt Road Books has a page on their website dedicated to offering you a selection of free short stories to download and enjoy.
Riptide Publishing has a giant back catalogue of MLM titles but they do also publish lesbian and sapphic titles.
Riptide has an extensive collection of MLM books, but they are also a publisher of WLW novels as well.
Many of Riptide’s books are available on Kindle Unlimited but they also have free titles available to download on their website so it is well worth going direct to source.
Starting out focusing only on lesbian fiction, Supposed Crimes, LLC have expanded to encompass LGBTQ stories and ideas.
Their main focus is genre fiction including Westerns, Science Fiction, Horror, and Action rather than books focused solely on romance.
Supposed Crimes sells ebooks directly, and has a category dedicated to their free titles. For an extra freebie, you can sign up to their mailing list!
6. Digital Libraries
Libraries are having a huge resurgence, despite so many of them suffering cuts all around the world! They are a fantastic resource, but what about their digital equivalents?
Project Gutenberg offers over 59,000 free eBooks, with a focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired.
This does, of course, mean that there are very few books with LGBT content available on the website. However, don’t discount it completely! There are a few pioneering writers, or books with plenty of wlw angst, subtext, or just outright [previously banned] books that portray relationships between women.
You just have to know where to look.
So, just for you, I put together a little list to get you started: Classic Authors with Lesbian Fiction on Project Gutenberg
Free Library of Philadelphia
Completely Free to local residents, the Free Library of Philadelphia, is one of the few local libraries that will also let non-locals borrow books. There is a $50 fee for non-residents to obtain a library card, but once you do, you can access a huge resource of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer resources and support, emphasizing the diversity of sexual and gender identity-based cultures. Other resources include information on bullying, safety, and coming out; books and resources for parents and siblings; biographies of important LGBTQ figures in the community; and award-winning LGBTQ fiction.
There is no LGBT category but there is a section dedicated to Esotericism section. Normally I would avoid any website without a dedicated LGBT section, simply because A) is it a nightmare to find what I’m looking for and B) they are unlikely to be welcoming to me.
So why on earth am I including this place in my list?
Because the site also contains an active forum and there are a few Lesbian and LGBT groups on the site which are super helpful in seeking out the books I’m looking for. This is not my favourite site on the list, but it is still well worth checking out.
This is a site specifically for children’s books, and as well as having a great range for middle-grade readers and younger, they also have a young adult section.
If you are a reader that avoids young adult books because you assume they are only for children, then you are missing out on some of the most interesting and ground-breaking fiction LGBT authors have to offer. As well as Malinda Lo’s classic: ‘Ash’, they can also boast Meredith Russo’s ‘If I Was Your Girl’ and Lisa Williamson’s ‘The Art of Being Normal’.
It is well worth a look.
BONUS: Library Tools
If you have a bricks-and-mortar library that you can join, then you might benefit from these awesome tools that will help you transform your library card into downloadable ebooks you can read anytime, anywhere!
Amazon Kindle & Your Local Library
Amazon obviously has the famous Kindle Unlimited, which many people consider to be a library.
However, did you also know that you can use the Amazon platform and free kindle tools in order to download ebooks from your own local library?
If you have ever thought ebooks were out of reach for you because you didn’t have an e-reader or the money to afford the books, then this combination would be an excellent workaround for you.
A similar tool to Amazon, OverDrive and the app Libby help you borrow and read ebooks from your local library. the Libby app will also help you acquire a library card if for any reason you don’t already have one.
Open Library is an open, editable library catalogue.
This means it is less of a library and more akin to a library of library books! This place is like a one-stop-shop for all your borrowing requests. All you have to do is head over, search for the book you want to borrow and the open library will tell you where you can borrow it from!
It will even let you know which libraries allow you to borrow the book as an ebook.
There is more detail about each digital library on this dedicated blog, which also includes some bonus library apps and tools you might be interested in.
7. Review Copies
If you are a professional book blogger, a newbie reviewer, or just an avid reader, finding the books you want can be an expensive pain. Authors don’t always come knocking on your door, and when they do, they might not have the kind of books you want to read.
Advanced Review Sites help you match your interests with authors looking for reviews! Here are a few of my favourites that have easy ways to narrow down your search to f/f or WLW books:
Remember, these are review copies and although there is never an obligation to review books, you receive it isn’t fair to authors to sign up to these websites if you have no intention of reviewing any books you receive and in some cases, you can get blacklisted from these sites if they suspect you of doing just that.
8. WIN THEM!
What better way to get hold of your next hot lesbian romance, or kick-ass lesbian sci-fi than to win it in a contest?
All over the internet, there are constant giveaways and contests. All you have to do is keep an eye on the hashtag #Giveaway on Twitter and you’ll soon see what I mean.
But how do you narrow down the field to prizes you are actually interested in winning? And how do you find places with regular contests so you know you aren’t missing out?
This is where my handy list of places to win Lesbian Novels and wlw Books comes in! I’ve listed the best places I know of that hold regular contests, offering audiobooks, paperbacks, and ebooks with sapphic characters.
Now all you have to do is join the fun and win some books!
What have I missed?
What did you think of my suggestions?
If you found this blog useful please share it. That way, other eager fans of books with lesbian main characters can find it too! Thank you 🙂
I would LOVE to hear about your discoveries! Give me a shout if you find something fantastic or have a tip for me that I have missed, and check out those comments for fab suggestions from others!
If you enjoyed this list, then you will LOVE my list of Ten Awesome #LesFic Authors Who Are Giving You Their Work For Free!
The Atheneum www.xenafiction.net but it covers other fandoms as well as lots of uber/original stories. And The Story Lounge but I don’t know the url off the top of my head. There’s a couple more but I will have to look them up. But thanks for posting this list. Hey Niamh…why don’t you use smashwords more because it is so much easier to download books from their site than anyone else’s. Especially if you want or need another format than kindle and don’t want to be burdened with another app just to be able to read them on android. I already have an excellent android reader. But Amazon locks you out of other formats unless you download their choice of reader. Smashwords you just pick the format you want and presto it’s yours. And I think you can have it free awhile then change it back to a price. At least I know of a couple of books that did that. If that’s the reason. Thanks again for this posting.
Fantastic suggestion! I shouldn’t forget the Atheneum, it has some fantastic fiction on there! Thanks for the link – I’m sure people will find some great reads 😀
As for Smashwords, I absolutely do use it! Here’s my profile page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NiamhMurphyAuthor
I use to have ALL my books on there, but right now I only have the anthology and you are absolutely correct about the price; it is incredibly flexible. I might change in the future but for now my novels are enrolled in KDP Select, which means they have to be exclusive to Amazon. I have chosen to do this as I will simply get more money through that scheme (right now) than I will if I spread the books out over all the other retailers – Amazon is a monster but it is giving me the oppportunity to reduce my work hours and write another book.
However, I do make sure that my books are DRM Free – this should mean that you can read them on any device and don’t need to use the kindle app.
Let me know if I am wrong about that because I would hate to think I have been misled 🙁
I still love ‘Passion and Perfection’, also known as RALST. Back in the heyday of fanfic, you could find several dozen fan spins on (mostly) American TV shows there. I loved ‘The Facts of Life’ F/F fanfic that paired bad girl Jo with debutante Blair. These days, people still submit their stories and there are a lot of newer shows covered but new stories don’t come out daily or weekly as they did several years ago. Here’s the link: http://www.ralst.com/
Oh my Gosh! The list of shows on ralst.com with fanfics is HUGE! I could LIVE in there! 😀 Awesome suggestion – Thank you!