Books may be shared either as a physical thing or (the contents) copied in digital form.

distributed libraries

electronic books

There are free content digital books that may legally be copied and shared freely. A big pool of public domain literature that is free content now because of expired copyright (normally 70 years after death of the author) is available. Apart from that some authors make their works available under free content licenses (e.g. Creative Commons licenses) rightaway. But also many copyrighted books get shared around as files, often illegally - partially after retrodigitization or even after breaking digital copy preventing mechanisms of books that are for example sold already as an electronic book.

There is a number of projects with collections of free content books:

There are also electronic books being shared over file sharing networks - also non-free literature. There is a scene of people who digitize (scan, OCR, maybe proofreading) existing (often also copyrighted) books and make them available for download. (So called "pirates"...)

Book reviews

See also

nomad:Book vegan:Book