After using Kindle for PC for several years, this past week I finally bit the bullet and purchased a Kindle Paperwhite. My initial impression of the device is very positive. I think I’m really going to like this thing. Perhaps I’ll write a post reviewing the device itself at some point down the road, but that isn’t the purpose of this post.
Prior to owning a Kindle, I downloaded nearly 100 Kindle books without paying a penny. The volumes are mostly classics and worthwhile books that have been offered “free for a limited time” at some point. In the past week or so, I’ve been looking to add more titles to my Kindle “library” without spending much money. So far the most helpful third party site I’ve found for locating free Kindle titles is Freebook Sifter. Freebook Sifter provides links to the more than 40,000 Kindle titles that can currently be “purchased” for free through Amazon’s website. These titles are organized into various categories and subcategories (e.g., History → U.S. History → 19th Century). The database is fully searchable as well. Theoretically, one could find all of these books through Amazon’s website, but Amazon’s goal is to sell you books while Freebook Sifter only lists books that are free.
Alternatively, the Kindle owners’ lending library allows Amazon Prime members to borrow any of the 442,000 books currently in the lending library one volume at a time. Admittedly, this isn’t the same as owning the book. But one could argue that the question of ownership is somewhat of a slippery point when we’re talking about electronic data that can be removed from your device by Amazon if they so desire. Many public libraries also now allow their patrons to checkout electronic versions of some books.
In addition to Kindle edition books, Kindle devices also support pdfs, docs, docxs, etc. Amazon recommends several websites as sources of free books in a variety of formats that can be viewed on a Kindle. I’ve just begun to scratch the surface. If you’ve found a particularly helpful website or technique for locating free or inexpensive books that can be read on Kindles (or even on a Nook), please share your find in the comments below.