As a follow-up to my prior guide on how to use Sci-hub to download academic papers for free, here’s a simple guide to use Library Gensis aka. Libgen.
Library Genesis is another guerilla open access project, also run by people from the Russia-sphere. It’s relatively easy to use.
1. Go to the Libgen website
There’s a few URLs, but I generally use this version:
2. Search for some book you want
Enter the title (and maybe author name) of some book you want. Here we pretend we want to read Lee Jussim’s great book on social psychology:
- Jussim, L. (2012). Social perception and social reality: Why accuracy dominates bias and self-fulfilling prophecy. OUP USA.
So, we search for it:
Click “Search”, then we get:
The two rows means that there are two different versions uploaded to the site. Usually, they will differ in some obvious and relevant way, but not always (the site operators don’t upload the content, it’s user driven). In this case, we see that one is an EPUB and another is a PDF. PDF is a paper look-a-like format, which has its upsides and downsides. Generally, for electronic use (computer, tablet, phone), you will want EPUB or similar (MOBI etc.).
The site search is a kind of meta-search engine that searches a few sites that actually hosts the books. Hence, we see a number of (download) mirrors, which may not be complete (mirror 5 is missing for the 2nd row). If we click the EPUB version (click the title), we see:
So, there’s a cover photo and a description. The (direct) download links are the ones in the red circle (drawn by me). Generally speaking, the first one (gen.lib.rus.ec) is the most robust (i.e. usually works), but it is slow so you may not want to use it if the ebook is large. The other ones are faster but don’t always have the book you want (some of them comply with DMCA requests).
If we click the first (gen.lib.rus.ec), we see an intermediate page:
Just click GET in the top and the download pop-up appears.
If we use the second, the intermediate page is different, but we do the same i.e. click the big “GET” link:
If we click the third, we click “OPEN DOWNLOAD” and then “GET” on the next page (not shown, similar to above).
If we click the fourth, we click “See details & download (EPUB)”:
And then “download” on the next page: