Much can be said for printed books—the feel and aroma of the paper, the ease of flipping back and forth in them. Much can also be said for digital books—portability, no dusting required, less expensive and sometimes even free, but do you know all the freebie sources? The following list has been whittled down so you don’t waste time with badly constructed web sites or those without variety. My four favorites are listed below, and there are even more. Is there anything better than free stuff?
If you have a subscription to Amazon Prime, have you looked at their Prime Reading section? It’s a large collection of books you can “borrow” at no cost. When running a general search, you can also check the Prime box at the left to see what’s free for you.
Amazon also has a bonanza of other free books. If it says “Free with Kindle Unlimited Membership” beneath a book in the list, but below that is a price, it’s free only if you’re a member ($119.98 per year), which isn’t a bad thing if you’re a voracious reader. If the price to buy is $0.00, you can click “Buy Now” and you’ll be charged nothing.
When searching for a specific subject, you might see “Today’s Deals” on the left. Click it to reduce your search to excellent sale prices and even free books. (Remember that Kindle Unlimited means you’ll pay for the book unless you’re a member.)
Then there’s Amazon’s public domain section.
And don’t forget their free promotions.
Founded in 1971, Project Gutenberg is the oldest public domain digital library. Over time and with the help of volunteers, it’s now exploding with books, all of which you can download for free. It’s not a fancy site, but it’s fascinating to wander through, a place for finding gems impossible to find anywhere other than in your grandparents’ attic. There’s everything from classics to peculiar surprises. For instance, I found a 19th century book written by a cat, which I neglected to bookmark and will have to search for again. Whatever reading format you need or want is available.
ManyBooks.net pulls books from Project Gutenberg, but it also has a lovely little newsletter that sends you deals of the day, some marked-down books and some totally free books. You can choose the genres that interest you so you won’t be bothered with those that don’t.
BookBub is a wonderful site for finding bargain prices and freebies. Sign up to receive a weekly digest of book deals, choosing the categories that interest you. The books will either be marked way down or they’ll be free, most of the deals timing out after a week. The combination of this newsletter and the one from ManyBooks keeps my Kindle library pleasantly full.
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REMINDER! If you aren’t an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscriber, don’t be too quick to click the Buy Now button. It isn’t free unless it shows a cost of $0.00 with the Buy button.
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Still More Free Books
Free Kindle Books & Tips You can browse to your heart’s content and/or sign up for a newsletter, whichever makes you happier.
eBook Daily For Kindle only. There’s not a huge amount here, but it’s worth keeping bookmarked.
Weber Books Kindle Buffet A daily list of temporarily free and bargain-priced Kindle books. You can subscribe to receive the bargain list as a newsletter.
DigiLibraries A decent collection of older and newer books to download.
Centsless Books [https://centslessbooks.com/] For Kindle only. Sign up for 3 newsletters a week that announce freebies.
FreeBooksy [https://www.freebooksy.com/] You can browse through various genres. Newsletter available.
Nook Freebies For everyone who has the Barnes & Noble e-book reader.
Kobo Freebies For anyone with a Kobo e-reader.
Internet Archive A wonderful place to get lost amongst antique books and papers, which you’ll find are often best viewed right there online.
Don’t Forget Your Library! Most libraries offer downloads from their digital collections using a service called Overdrive. Many libraries can’t afford to buy all of everything, but you should still be able to find plenty of books to download. I make constant use of it.
Copying Freebies to Your e-Reader
Often when downloading books, it’s to your computer, not your e-reader, but when you connect your e-reader via USB, the computer recognizes it as if it were another drive that you can copy to.
Kindle: MOBI, AZW, AZW3
All other e-readers: ePUB
Reading Apps for Computer, Tablet, & Phone
Here are a few random samples of animal books found while doing research for this article:
Have a Happy New Year filled with books!