I love to read, but I have become keenly aware of the rising cost of books. Even moderate sized paperback books are going for $25 and up in some cases. A few years ago I bought a Kindle eReader and have loved both the convenience of reading on this device and also the savings. Many times the Kindle version of a book is discounted 30 to50% from the printed version (sometimes even more). One of the additional bonuses of transitioning from reading printed books to eBooks is the opportunity to also get books for free.
What if I don't have a Kindle?
The good news is that you don't need a Kindle to read eBooks. I recently published a new book, 'Exposing The Ponzi Masters' and offered it for free on Amazon for five days. Many authors do this as a way to get free promotion and new readers. I received a lot of e mails from my subscribers curious and frustrated about getting a free copy of my new book when they did not have a Kindle device. Amazon offers a free downloadable app which turns any tablet, smartphone, deskptop, or laptop, into an instant eReader.
Even easier than downloading the app is the Amazon 'Cloud Reader,' which does not even require a download to be able to access ebooks on a computer. After ordering an ebook, just go to http://read.amazon.com and you will see your entire library of books. Just click on any of your books and start reading right on your computer screen. I can not begin to tell you how few people know about these alternative ebook reading options. In fact, while sharing this information with some friends recently, at least half of them seemed to be in complete disbelief about what I was telling them. Yes, it is completely true - you don't need a Kindle to read eBooks. Don't get me wrong, I love my Kindle and with prices coming down below $100, I think they are a real bargain. If, in the end, you don't want to buy an eReader you can still read ebooks nonetheless.
How to Find Free eBooks
1. Amazon.com Free e Book List - Amazon has an amazing resource page set up for this. By visiting this one single link, you will gain access to more than 3 million free eBooks!
2. Browser For Free Bestsellers -Find free bestsellers by browsing categories and then click on the 'free tab.' For example, here is a link for the current list of free bestselling Christian titles.
3. Amazon Search -Inside Amazon do a search of Kindle books based on topic, and then select 'sort by price - low to high.' I personally don't like this search method as you end up having to go through quite a lot of titles to find the better quality ones.
4. Amazon Prime - This is a very popular program on Amazon and few people know about it. I have been a member for about 4 years now. The signature benefit is free 2 day shipping on most items. For the $79 annual fee you also get unlimited access to Amazon's lending library, but you must have a Kindle to borrow ebooks this way. Authors are paid about 1/3 of their normal royalty for a 'borrow' from the library, so ebook authors (like myself) love the program. Readers can only borrow one book at a time and must return it before being eligible to borrow another one.
5. Freebook Search Engines - Freebook Sifter is an amazing site and makes finding free eBooks at Amazon very easy. I just love this idea and am grateful someone decided to make available this service.
6. Free Audio Books - One thing I love about having a Kindle is the text to speech feature. I can turn this on and the Kindle device will read my books to me. This feature is not available on every book, but is enabled most of the time. This turns a Kindle book into an audio book with the click of a button. In addition to this method, the audio version of many books are also available for free. Podiobooks features thousands of free audio fiction books. LibriVox offers the audio version of thousands of public domain books which are recorded by volunteers. Free online audio book lending is also available through many public libraries that use a system called Overdrive.
7. Your Local Library - Many local libraries are making available access to tens of thousands (in some cases more than a million) ebook titles. This is really the future for local libraries as it brings down their costs, and digital lending technology allows for them to 'loan' out ebooks and stay compliant with the law. These new lending systems provide many of the same features as traditional book lending. For example, only a certain number of copies can be loaned out and then they must be returned within a standard time frame. This protects authors and allows electronic books to be made available through the huge network of libraries nationwide. This is a fascinating article outlining how the Chicago Public Library System has integrated ebooks into its selection.
I know the economy is tough right now for a lot of people. Getting your books for free is a great way to save money and provides a free alternative to to going out on the town this weekend.
If you have your own free ebook strategy, please use the comments section below and we can start a conversation.
Helping you make the most of God's money!