Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

1 Nov 2013

Finding Resources for Kindle without Breaking the Bank

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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.

10 Responses

  1. Jill

    Also many libraries let you check out ebooks. Even on vacation I can download books to my Kobo from the Dearborn library & it’s my favorite price – free!

  2. Van

    I have 3800 Kindle books in my library and have actually purchased less than 20. I know I will never read all of them, but if I need to find something for reference someday, I may be able to pull something out of my personal library. I find free books by opening up Kindle books and clicking on the subject I am interested in. For me personally it is history. Once I open that page, I then click on the best sellers in history link. When that opens up, you will find the top 100 paid and a tab for the top 100 free. There I found most of my library. I check once a week or so for new interesting free books on there.

  3. Jeremy

    Thanks for the information about where to get free books. I already have more than I can read now, but I can’t refuse more free books.

    I just wanted to make a quick comment about the ability of Amazon to remove books from our Kindles. I do not use the wireless feature of my Kindle, but I manually download the books to my computer. If I want a book on my Kindle I just simply copy and paste it from my computer to my Kindle. This way I always have a copy of that book on my computer. I think that if I ever sync my Kindle with Amazon and any of my books get removed, I should be able to go back and put them back on manually.

  4. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I have more than 2,500 books in my Kindle account, and I think I’ve paid money for only five or six. I find free books (mostly Christian books, literature, and history) at a variety of places, but here are a few. Keep in mind that the first source lists all sorts of free books, not necessarily Christian ones, so this should not be interpreted as an endorsement of all content.

    Happy hunting. It took me a little while to get used to reading on my Kindle instead of holding a book, but now I’d rather read just about any book on my Kindle, especially big, heavy commentaries.

  5. Art Cunningham

    One great feature of the Kindle is the sample button. Let’s say you go to the DBTS for info on commentaries on the gospel of John & you see Andreas Köstenberger’s volume. To find out about it, go to Kindle, find the book, and push the send sample now button. Immediately a significant portion is sent to my Kindle where I can try it before I buy it.