Free eBooks on Amazon
Let us start with my favorite method of finding new books as soon as they are free. With the advent of Amazon’s KDP Select program, many small publishers are making their new books available for free to help promote. The trick is to catch them when they are free. Below I am going to show you an easy way to find several hundred free kindle books every day.
I enjoy browsing through everything to see what’s new. Usually, there will be 1 main Kinlib link with anywhere from 200-400 books on a daily basis. You will sometimes find additional links with a few books that were added later.
UK users – If you look for a thread that looks like this below instead of one above, you will frequently find links to a UK version also. For some reason, UK links aren’t usually included in the with chat thread.
I usually prefer the Kinlib setup, but you might also check out Ereaderiq. You will see a lot of overlap in the books listed, but Ereaderiq has a bigger selection. Ereaderiq does give you the ability to sort by category and has more information on their page. Mousing over the book cover will bring up a book description. Ereaderiq also claims to be updated hourly! Ereaderiq is definitely checking out too, and you may find more appealing than Kinlib. The more I explore this site the more I like the way it is laid out. Below is a screenshot of a few listings on Ereaderiq.
If the page you come to is all text with no cover picture, look up in the top right corner for a button that says Covers. Hitting this will toggle back and forth between covers and descriptions. I personally like seeing the covers. Feels more like browsing through a bookstore – something I love to do!
There is a short tutorial there if you need it. Navigating is very easy though. I usually just scroll through until I see something that looks interesting. When you click on a book cover it will switch to a description of that book. Clicking on the book title will take you to Amazon to get that book.
Note: I prefer to right-click on the link and select “Open in New Tab”. This keeps my place in KinLib while I go to Amazon to get the book.
I’m just going to pick one that looks interesting to show you an example:
Every once in awhile a book slips in that is only free to Amazon Prime members. If you want the book just hit the Buy Now with 1-Click button and it is yours! Now you can go back to the KinLib list and look for more great books.
Some things to keep in mind:
More Ways Of Finding Free Kindle Books On Amazon:
One very simple way of finding free books on Amazon is to do a search. For simplicity here is a link taking you to a complete list of free Kindle ebooks as shown below. Notice that there are more than 52,000 books on this list!
Kindle Publishers: This list is sorted by popularity. Did you notice that the top book is a cookbook? Cookbooks can be great money makers on if you know what you are doing. I also find it interesting that the third item is a Kindle game. I’ve read that tablets are used more to play games on than anything else! Is this also going to be true of the Kindle Fire?
Kindle Publishers: Looking at the different results you get from different sorts can give you some valuable information about what customers think are great books, price points, and more. You would do well to study some of the top books to see what they are doing right.
You can also use the menu on the sidebar to drill down through the various categories that interest you. I noticed that as you dig this way you start seeing books in the list that are not free or are only free to Amazon Prime Members. So this might have only limited value for digging too far into the categories. That’s all right because I’m going to show you another method of digging that will get better results.
Most of us are probably already familiar with the Kindle Best Sellers list. But if you are not here is how to find. You need to be in the Kindle store first. Look down the menu on the left side. You should see Best Sellers near the top. Click on that.
This will take you to a page with two columns. The left one is titled Top 100 Paid. But if you look to the right you will find what we are looking for – Top 100 Free. These 2 columns represent the top books in the Kindle store!
Kindle Publishers: This is an excellent way to see what’s hot in categories you are thinking about publishing for. See what’s popular, what’s selling and for how much, what kind of Kindle rank the books have and more.
Are you into the classics? Here are almost 16,000 popular classics offered on Amazon – all free! Just imagine the small fortune you would spend buying all these! This is also a great resource for college students to save on books for their English classes. Free Classics
We are just about ready to leave the Amazon site to go explore other sources of free ebooks for your Kindle. But first, here are a few more Amazon locations that might be of interest to you:
Pre-Orders: Would you like to see what’s coming up in the not yet released section? It’s amazing how many books are in this section. I would suspect most of these are from mainstream publishing houses. Note that these are not free books but this list might contain valuable information for a Kindle publisher or a book lover waiting on new books.
Free Games – Kindle Fire (Apps for Android): I’m not into games and don’t have a Kindle Fire yet. If I did I would probably be playing games too! Here is a good selection of free games to keep you busy.
Free Collections: I didn’t know about this until I recently stumbled upon while browsing. Not only do they link to their classics collection but they also provide several links and instructions to external sites providing free ebooks. Some of these sites I will be covering in more detail. This page is worth checking out though for their instructions on getting the books to your Kindle.
Leaving Amazon Behind
Besides Amazon, there are quite a few good sites out there offering free ebooks you can download to your kindle. Most are public domain works, classics, out of print books, and small authors. But there may be better than 3 million free books out there! We are going to start with one of the oldest and perhaps best-known site.
These guys have been digitizing books for more than 40 years! They currently have a library of over 38,000 books in ebook format. These are all high-quality books professionally done. They offer several formats including epub, kindle, and pdf.
Free Kindle Ebooks: Start here in your search for free books. If you are accessing directly from you Kindle browser you might want to use this link instead: http://m.gutenberg.org/ Project Gutenberg also has some good advice on recognizing scam sites – those that charge a membership fee to send you to the same books found free elsewhere. Seems there are quite a few of these sites out there too!
From your Kindle, you can also download a catalog directly to your device using this link: http://freekindlebooks.org/MagicCatalog/MagicCatalog.mobi where you can easily browse their entire catalog and download book directly to your Kindle.
Project Gutenberg is pretty basic and easy to navigate around in. Pick your options from the left sidebar.
Book Search will take you to a page with some search options. They also have a couple of quick picks here which might be interesting – Popular, Latest.
The catalog will take you to a more detailed page where you can pick by alphabet, language and more.
Bookshelves are the most interesting to me because this is where they break things down by category. You will have to explore this site on your own to find what most suits you.
Just to quickly show you how easy this is I went to the popular picks and selected A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Look at all the different formats available! I’m going to select the Kindle (with images). Many of their books don’t have images but they do include them whenever possible.
If you have your Kindle plugged into your computer with a USB cable you should be able to just drag and drop the file to your Kindle. I usually prefer to download to my computer and deal with when I’m all done finding books. These kindle files are in .mobi format.
Something you need to be aware of is copyright info, especially if you live outside the United States. Project Gutenberg says this on their site:
“Our ebooks are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. They may not be free of copyright in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks. We also have a number of copyrighted titles, for which the copyright holder has given permission for unlimited non-commercial worldwide use.”
Open Library is an excellent place to find free ebooks, especially if you love the classics! They claim to have over 1 million books available. Their user interface seems to be pretty user-friendly and it is not too hard to get around the site.
They give you several options to download. If you pick the Send to Kindle option they will send you to Amazon to send the book through them. Amazon will charge you for this service. I would recommend instead that you grab the .mobi format instead and upload directly to your Kindle from your computer.
You can access this site from the web but it’s probably easier to use your Kindle browser to download their guide to your Kindle: http://www.mobileread.com/mobiguide
Once downloaded open the guide up in your Kindle. You will find a clickable list of authors and be able to browse through thousands of public domain titles.
This site has thousands of public domain books available! Plus they also have a pretty good selection of original books and new authors which are also free. They also have a paid section but this guide is about finding the free stuff.
You can also access this site from your Kindle browser using: http://m.feedbooks.com/
Do not click on the download button. This downloads a .epub document by default which is not supported by Kindle. We will show you how to get around that later. You will want to click on the book image instead. This will access more information about the book and give you available download options.
Notice the original source of this book: http://gutenberg.org
Kindle Publishers: If you are looking for other places to publish your work besides Kindle, this place will also allow you to publish your books here.
This site boasts having 29,000 books available and they are all free!
This is a well laid out site that is easy to navigate. They provide excellent books with lots of download options. They even offer the Kindle native format of .azw! I plugged in my Kindle and downloaded Arabian Nights directly in this format. I was bit disappointed in the book though. Everything was underlined! Didn’t make for easy reading. I will have to try more books from here to see how they turn out.
Google Books Is Its Own World!
Google Books has a huge repository of digital books, including well over a million books in the public domain! There’s just one slight problem though for us Kindle users – they’re all in .epub format!
The epub format is not a formatted supported by Kindle. I told you earlier though that there was a simple workaround to that problem. I’m going to show you how to read all those Google books on your Kindle in a few short steps. Using these simple steps below you will soon have access to the millions of books Google Books has available online.
First, let us go to Google Books and find some interesting books. We won’t worry about what format they are at the moment. You have a couple of modes of finding books on Google Books. The first is the Advanced Book Search.
It looks a bit intimidating, doesn’t it? It is really not bad though. First, you want to put at least one search term in the blue bar labeled Find results. Then you want to select Full View and Books. These search criteria will turn up all public domain books plus others that are freely available. Most commercial and copyrighted books will show up as previews only so we want to eliminate
from our search. Your search results will look pretty much like a normal Google search. But all the results will have a book image and a few details.
If you aren’t looking for anything in particular, you might also wish to try Google Books Browse Mode. This will be a much more familiar interface for you. It is also what I prefer to use unless looking for something specific. Notice that they also have a search box at the top.
Notice that just mousing over the book covers will give you some information, including whether the ebook is free, preview available only, or available for purchase.
Once you click through on a book you will find a lot more information about the book. The main thing we are interested in right now is how to download our chosen book.
You should see a big red button on the upper left that says Ebook-Free. Hover your mouse over this and a box will pop up that includes download instructions. For purposes of converting to a Kindle-friendly format, EPUB is your better choice. PDF doesn’t convert as well. But you may wish to have a PDF copy for other purposes. The only thing I don’t like about downloading books from here is I get hit with an annoying captcha before each download.
Now that we have a copy of our book on our computer it is time to convert it from EPUB format to MOBI format which Kindle happily reads. First, we need to download Calibre, an ebook conversion program. Install the program. During setup, it will ask you what your reading device is and will set the output format to that default. I skipped the email setup part as Amazon charges you to deliver your books that way. You may also want to plug in your Kindle via USB cable at this time so Calibre recognizes it. This makes getting your converted books onto your Kindle very easy.
Now its time to use Calibre to convert our book. Once you open Calibre you should see something that looks like this:
I have already added The Time Machine ebook that I just downloaded in EPUB format. This is as simple as clicking on the Add Books button in the top left corner and browsing to find. Now that we have the book in Calibre we are ready to convert it. Make sure the book you wish to convert is highlighted in your list. Now we want to find the Convert Ebooks button along the top and click on that. Doing so will bring up something looking like the following.
If you wish, you have the option to change the metadata and the look and feel of the output. Double-check that it is outputting to your desired format. In this case, we want MOBI. If you look
down the left side you will see an icon that says MOBI Output. This is what we want. Looking at the top right you should also see a drop-down menu that says MOBI. This is where you can change your output format if need be. There are several formats available. Once satisfied just hit the OK button in the bottom right corner. It only takes a few seconds to convert.
Now, all we have to do is get the book to our Kindle so we can read it. If you have your Kindle plugged into your computer via USB cable, you should see something like below. If not, plug your Kindle in now.
Look for the Send to device button. Simply click this button and your book will be on your Kindle. That’s all there is to it! When you are ready to disconnect your Kindle from your computer look for the down arrow beside the Send to device button. Clicking this will drop down a menu where you want to select Eject device. This way you can safely unplug from your computer.
I haven’t played around with Calibre much yet, but it appears to be a pretty powerful program with lots of features. You may wish to explore this program further. You can access an online users manual here: http://manual.calibre-ebook.com/
Kindle Publishers: I don’t normally enable DRM when publishing my books, but after playing around with Calibre a bit, I will be in the future. Just as a test I grabbed a few books out of my Kindle library in their native .azw format and used Calibre to convert them to PDF, RTF, and TXT formats. In all cases, they successfully did so! While this may have legitimate uses where a book owner wishes to print something out, it could also leave you vulnerable to plagiarism by unscrupulous users. Be warned!
More Free eBook Sites
I tried to cover several ways to find free ebooks and several good places to find them. There are lots of good sites out there that I didn’t have time to explore in detail. If your quest for free ebooks is insatiable, I have listed a few more worthwhile sites for you to browse below. These are not in any particular order – I just added to the list as I came across more sites.
http://www.archive.org/index.php (over 3 million documents online!)
http://www.justfreebooks.info/ (search engine)
http://librivox.org/ (free public domain audiobooks)
http://www.podiobooks.com/ (free audiobooks)
http://girlebooks.com/ (female writers)
http://www.jungle-search.com/US/kindle.php#free (search engine)
There are lots of free ebooks sites out there. You can always find more by searching in Google for “free ebooks.” This is a good way to find some of the smaller sites that are in more specialized niches like computers, gardening, etc. Just watch out for scam sites. If a site asks for money or a credit card to show you free ebooks move on to another site.
Kindle Lending Libraries
The concept of lending Kindle ebooks is fairly new. But a few sites are popping up that allow you to do just that! Now you might be able to just borrow that bestseller you have been dying to read without shelling out your hard-earned cash for it. I haven’t had time to dig into these sites yet but here is a couple you might wish to check out.
Amazon also has its own Kindle owner’s lending library, but you have to be a member of their Amazon Prime program to take advantage of it. Membership allows you to borrow 1 book a month absolutely free! This program is worth checking out for all its great benefits.
Some Thoughts For Kindle Publishers
The Kindle publishing platform is the greatest thing to come along since sliced bread! Never before has there been such an opportunity for anyone to be published. For the average person looking to make some extra money online, it is also probably one of the easiest routes to go. You just have to produce quality work, Amazon takes care of all the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing and selling your work. I too jumped into the Kindle publishing game awhile back. I only have a handful of titles up but they are making me a few dollars, more so than anything else I have ever tried online.
In this section, I just wanted to share my thoughts, both from my observations and my personal experience, on Kindle publishing. I’m not a guru or anything but I have learned a lot over the past year or so. I have also learned a lot just by going through the new books on kinlib every morning. I highly recommend for any publisher who wants to see what’s going on. I have also bought almost every Kindle publishing product put out. It is appalling some of the total crap has been put forth by some of these guys. And I watched some of it actually end up on Amazon and get slammed by customers. Does anybody actually think you can put out a quality product in 30 minutes or plagiarize a handful of recipes off a website and make something worth spending money on? Amazon customers don’t think so!
I might be a Kindle publisher, but I am first and foremost a reader. I have been an avid reader all my life. I love books! And I think you have to approach your publishing this way too if you are going to put out quality products. Look at your product. Is it something you would be happy purchasing as a customer? Or would you be disappointed you spent money on? Or maybe you even feel ripped off because of its total crap? Put the customer experience first and you will have a quality product you can be proud to put your name on.
Like it or not people do judge a book by its cover. If that cover is boring or looks like crap they are on to the next book. This is one reason I like browsing through kinlib for new books so much – I get a good look at the covers. Some mornings I will just skim through the selections based on the covers.
Your book needs a cover. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it must contain the basic elements a book buyer is used to seeing on a book cover. Believe it or not, I still run across books being put up with no cover! Why waste your time publishing if you are too lazy to even put up a cover?
I’ve read more than one guide by so-called gurus who advocate large yellow text on a black background, slapping up a picture with no text, and other goofy ideas. People even put up the 3D covers that came with their resale rights book! Amazon is a flat cover world. Book buying customers have been conditioned to look for flat, professionally done book covers. Anything else just stands out as amateurish or a marketing gimmick and they pass them up.
Can anyone tell me what these books are about?
Neither can I!!!
How do these covers look to you?
We already mentioned the first two. The third stands out but they could have done a lot more to spruce it up – it looks like a term paper. You can’t see it but the fourth does have a title on it but it is unreadable. Book titles should tell you what book is about. What exactly is freakout first aid and what does it have to do with the cover picture? The last one is a travel book. The cover is drab. It could use some bold color and a travel picture.
Determining good or bad covers is sometimes a subjective thing. Here are a few that caught my eye.
The first one clearly tells you what the book is about in both the title and the subtitle. It is also clearly part of a series. The second one is a travel book that is patterned after some of the big publishers with its bright cover and travel pictures. The third book just jumps out and grabs you! And the fourth book? That one is making me hungry! The fifth one just grabbed my attention. If you want some to see some books that are attention grabbers you need to check out the Erotica section. No, I’m not going to show them here! There are quite a smattering of them in the free books. Seems all it takes to grab a guy’s attention is a hot babe wearing little or nothing on the front cover!
Copy/Paste and PLR Books
Cookbooks can be moneymakers if you do them right. But there is a lot more to them than just slapping some recipes together and waiting for the money to roll in. Not too long ago a couple of gurus suggested copying recipes off the web and putting 20-30 together into a cookbook. The idea is a list of recipe ingredients is not copyrightable. The instructions might be but all you had to do was change them some and reword them. This idea took off like wildfire and now Amazon is inundated with crappy little recipe books that are getting slammed by reviewers! Do you think reviews like the following are gonna sell many books for you?
If you are getting reviews like these on your books, chances are good that you deserve them for publishing total crap!!! You will not make any money like this so stop wasting your time. If you are going to get serious about Kindle publishing and making some money then you will have to put out quality books. Yes, it will take longer but one quality book is likely to make you more money than all your junk put together.
Some reviewers are so mad they are even tracking the recipes down on the web and putting their locations in their reviews. There have also been some angry threads in the Kindle Forum about this problem. Obviously, this is not the way to publish cookbooks!
While we are talking about cutting and pasting stuff, I would like to touch on PLR. Amazon’s main beef is that they were getting flooded with duplicate content. In some cases, they had dozens of copies of the same thing up. Amazon made a wise decision to clean up its catalog to improve customer experience. That being said, PLR does still have a place – if used right. I do sometimes use PLR material as a basis for my books and add to. I also don’t see a problem using a few quality PLR articles to flesh out a book. A dozen PLR articles slapped together and called a book doesn’t cut it! One thing that burns me up is the people slamming PLR as crap when they’re still getting their stuff ghostwritten by the same people who used to churn out
PLR for them to sell. It is still the same crap – the only difference is now they only one using. There is a lot of very crappy PLR out there, but there is also some good stuff too if you are willing to look for and possibly pay a premium for. But even the good stuff needs some work so that it’s original. Whether you use PLR or not your book is only going to be as good as the materials you are working with. Garbage in – garbage out!
While we are on the topic of copying and pasting stuff – you should know that images are also copyrighted. It is NOT ok to copy images off a website or Google images and use them in your own work. This is a good way to get sued! There are free stock images available out there. One of the best places to start is http://www.sxc.hu/. If you are serious about your Kindle publishing, your best bet is to spend some money at a good stock photo site. Most images will only cost you a couple of bucks and you will get higher quality images to use in your books. You might also wish to check out a great report I got off the Warrior Forum awhile back called How To Find Totally FREE Graphics & Images Without Risking Your Business. It’s no longer available on WF but it is now available as a Kindle ebook. Besides all the great resources this book was a real eye-opener on how easy it is to track down illegal use of copyrighted images. So easy even you can do!
Public Domain Material
There has been some talk about using public domain material on Kindle and if its OK or not. Publishing public domain material on Kindle is fine if you follow Amazon’s rules. They don’t want a bunch of duplicate content listed so they require you to add to the material.
Notice the illustrated – you only have to include 10 or more unique illustrations and the book is considered differentiated! How easy is that? Public domain texts to get started with can be found in text format at many of the ebook download sites mentioned in this guide. Most works like this are low priced and Amazon only pays a 35% royalty, but if nicely done like these below can make you money.
I got lucky enough to find quite a few of these books on a free day. They are normally priced at only $0.99 so not really spendy anyway. Besides the nicely done covers that show they related or part of series, the insides were nicely done with nice illustrations (most likely also public domain) and the formatting was good.
Kindle books need to look good on the inside as well as the cover. I have seen books with everything run together, bad formatting/grammar, centered text, words randomly broken between lines, and more. If your book looks sloppy, amateurish, or just unreadable people will be quick to refund and/or write bad reviews. Either way, you end up not making any money.
Kindle formatting can be a real pain in the butt at times! I know from personal experience. But there are lots of guides and templates out there to make the process much easier. A professional-looking book reflects highly on you the publisher. Don’t worry too much if you don’t get it perfect right away. I’ve noticed that even some of the big boys have formatting and grammatical errors in their books. Of course part of that could be not proofreading the stuff they get back from their $20 outsourcers? Taking some time to browse through books that interest you may also give you ideas for formatting your future books.
Some of the things I see that bug me and I frequently see reviewers complaining about:
No clickable table of contents is one of the biggest complaints I see in bad reviews! If working in MS Word they are so easy to do. When formatting your book simply put your titles/subtitles in Heading 1, 2, or 3. Then go to References and pick Table of Contents and select your layout. That’s it! Also, there is no need for page numbers in a Kindle book – so leave them out.
Make your text readable. Paragraphs and some white space lot easier to read than text all run together. Unjustified or justified ok but don’t center your text or right-align because it is hard to read. Don’t use oversized text, double-spaced. Not natural and
makes you look like you turned a little bit of nothing into a whole lot of fluff! If a reader needs larger text they can do enlarge with their Kindle.
I personally like to see cover images inside the front of my Kindle books. It gives me a visual reference when I don’t otherwise have one available. This not a real big issue. What is a big issue is no cover at all! I won’t download a book, even if it is free, it doesn’t have any cover image.
Reviewers frequently complain about everything being all run together – especially recipes. There is an easy solution for this in MS Word. Go to Insert and put in a page break before each section or recipe. This little tip alone will really clean up your book and make it look professionally laid out.
Just how long should a book be? If you are gonna charge me book price then I expect a book. Don’t pass off a glorified article as a book and charge me for a book. I’m likely to just feel ripped off! I don’t mind articles or short books at all – as long as I know what I’m getting and they’re priced accordingly.
Don’t forget about the Look Inside feature. This is typically about 10% of your book. Make it look good because many customers, including myself, will check this out to see if we want. If it looks like crap customers will quickly move on.
A few thoughts on pen names. They’re great! Use them for separate niches. I have seen a few names writing all over the board. This does make customers wonder. Also, the biggest customer base is American. If you have a name like Sri Vishwanath or Chinedum Azuh you might want to consider a pen name. Names like this make people wonder if your book is written in poor English and they’re less apt to buy.
Mistakes and formatting errors bound to happen sometimes. One of the best things you can do to make sure your book looks the way you want it to is to actually buy yourself a copy. Do so when you got priced low at $0.99 or on a free promotional day. Actually, open up the book in your Kindle and see if everything formatted right. If not make some changes and upload again. As long as the same book you should be able to download again and check your revisions.
While browsing through books, I will pay attention to what other versions are offered. I will frequently look with suspicion upon books that are Kindle only. Reading through the Kindle Forum recently it seems other customers are doing the same. So much of the junk that is being churned out is Kindle only.
When I first started publishing, I simultaneously published to CreateSpace too. For those of you not familiar with, this is a print-on-demand publishing company also owned by Amazon. It’s
free to publish, other than ordering a proof copy will cost a few bucks. And formatting a book for CreateSpace is even easier than for Kindle! Their only downfall is that color photos inside your book prohibitively expensive.
My CreateSpace books have had some interesting results. On a couple of books, I am actually selling as many print books as I am Kindle books! And my royalties are higher on the print books! I think that having a print edition available adds credibility to your Kindle book and helps sales of both formats. There isn’t much more work involved either. I simply format one way for CreateSpace and then move to a Kindle template and do whatever tweaking I need to. CreateSpace also has a pretty good cover creator that I frequently use. To me, this is basically getting 2 income streams for the price of one.
I’m getting tired of everyone teaching to just go to Fiverr.com and buy reviews! So much so that I even recently requested a refund from someone saying to do this. Buying reviews directly against Amazon’s TOS! The ONLY way you are allowed to compensate someone for a review is with a copy of your book. I suspect they are wise to this already. The worst thing about all those Kindle courses out there is that nobody is talking about legitimate ways to get reviews.
I hope you enjoyed this guide and that it has been informative and useful for you.
I also hope that if you are a Kindle publisher that you will use this guide as an aide to study what works and what doesn’t on Amazon. Ultimately, the customer will be voting with their pocketbook. Make sure you are providing the quality books that keep them happy and it will be a win-win situation for everyone.
Now go find some good books! If you are like me your Kindle will be overflowing in no time!