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Download free books for Kindle – sources and tips

Download free Kindle books sources and tips
Download free Kindle books – sources and tips / Image: Ebook Friendly

Looking for free Kindle books that you can download to your computer, Kindle e-reader or Kindle app? Here are the legal online sources, plus key usage tips.

You can find Kindle compatible books not only on Amazon. Thousands of these books are free of charge, and you can download them to your Kindle completely legally from other online websites.

In the post below, we will list not only the sites with public domain books that you can use to collect free Kindle books, but also tips that will let you better manage and enjoy these sideloaded docs on your Kindle e-reader or in a Kindle application.

In general, there are up to 100,000 free classic books that are available completely for free for your Kindle, and the best place to get them is actually not the Kindle Store (although you can find here some of the classics, as well).

There are a couple of things to keep in mind to make adding own books to Kindle easier and quicker, so let’s start with the tips.

Download free Kindle books – tips

Pick up the right format – epub

For a long time, to add your own book to the Kindle from another online source, you had to pick up a mobi format, while all other ebook stores use epub.

It changed in August 2022. Since that time, the compatible Kindle format is epub. The mobi format is not supported any longer.

In other words, if you want to download any book from the sites listed in the second part of this overview, please make sure to pick up epub, not mobi.

You won’t add epub files with DRM

If you were using another ebook store, such as Kobo, Barnes & Noble Nook, or Google Play Books, may assume that – as these sites use epub format by default – you will be able to quickly transfer these books to the Kindle.

No, you won’t be able to add epub files from other stores to Kindle. These files, even if you have downloaded the free books from these stores, are in a vast majority protected with some kind of DRM (Digital Rights Management).

An epub file with DRM won’t be added to your Kindle library, because Amazon won’t be able to open it.

Enjoy free Kindle books in the Kindle app

You can start collecting the library of Kindle books even before buying a Kindle e-reader.

There are many free Kindle apps available for computers and smartphones/tablets, including Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry operating systems.

The key to Kindle ecosystem is your Amazon account. All ebooks you add to your Kindle virtual library will be synced across devices and apps registered with that account.

Not only the latest read location, but also bookmarks and notes will be synced, and this is one of the most important benefits ebooks can give.

How to add own books to Kindle

There are a couple of ways you can add own books to the Kindle e-reader or tablet/smartphone app:

1. The most popular way is to send a file to the email address associated with your device. If you buy a Kindle or download a Kindle app, first thing to do is to sign in with your Amazon account. Since that time this device/app is given a special email address to which you can send the files. You can find it in the Settings section.

2. You can also use a Send to Kindle application. It’s available for Mac and Windows, but you can also get it for Chrome and Firefox browsers. While the desktop version lets you add files stored on a computer disc, the browser extension helps add web content.

3. If you use a cloud storage service like Dropbox, you can upload the file to it from your computer, and use a Dropbox application on your tablet or phone to download the file to Kindle app.

4. If you have a Kindle e-reader, connect Kindle to your computer and drag the files into Documents folder inside the Kindle disc image.

5. If you have a Kindle app installed on your smartphone or tablet, you should be also able to add the file if you tap on it. A list of applications capable of opening it should be displayed, and if the file is in mobi format, you should see a Kindle app.

How to manage own ebooks in the Kindle library

The books you have added yourself to your Kindle library are separated from the ones you have purchased and downloaded from the Kindle Store.

  • Books from the Kindle Store are called “Books” – these are all the titles that you purchased or downloaded for free from the Kindle store, including free samples.
  • Books from other sources are called “Docs” – these are the files that you have added to Kindle by sending them via email, using Send to Kindle extension, or sideloading from your computer.

The two sections can be seen in filter options in both Kindle e-readers and Kindle apps for iPad/iOS and Android. Your own books are displayed with a blank page until you open them and the original cover image (if it exists) is properly rendered.

The Books vs. Docs split is even deeper on Amazon Fire tablet. Native Kindle books can be managed using “Books” app. However, if you add your own books, you should look for them in the “Docs” app, not “Books.”

Please note that you won’t be able to read your sideloaded books in the online Kindle reader at read.amazon.com. Also, any highlights and notes you have made to sideloaded books will not show up here.

Download free Kindle books – online sources

1. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the longest-established ebook site in the world and the top place to download free classics. It’s the primary repository of free public domain ebooks.

When the title enters public domain, it means the rights to this work have expired and the book is publicly available. On Project Gutenberg the public domain books are free to download.

It’s quite possible that elsewhere you will find the same classic titles in ebook format, for which you’ll have to pay. This is what may happen in the Kindle Store, for instance. You can get Jane Austen’s book for free from Project Gutenberg, and find out that the same title costs one or two dollars in Amazon’s Kindle Store.

A good thing about books from Project Gutenberg is that if the original print edition had illustrations, you will be also able to get them in the ebook version. If you want the illustrations, make sure to download Kindle (with images) file. Please, keep in mind that ebook files with images take much more space.

Project Gutenberg - download books in Kindle format
Project Gutenberg offers over 60,000 classic books that are free to download to your Kindle / Screenshot: Project Gutenberg

Currently, there are well over 60,000 ebooks in the Project Gutenberg catalog. You can start browsing from Frequently Downloaded Ebooks section or go directly to the Latest Releases.

The site offers a very useful Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive integration. If you connect your cloud service, you will be able to download ebooks with just one click.

It’s worth noting that you can access and download Project Gutenberg ebooks on your tablet or smartphone, in a browser, as the site is mobile friendly.

⇢ Project Gutenberg

2. Smashwords

Smashwords is a top online site with ebooks from independent authors and publishers. There are currently over 500,000 from over 100,000 self-published authors. You’ll be able not only to download books in mobi or pdf format, but also read them online in your browser.

Smashwords is a leading source of newly released independent ebooks. What’s more, if you are looking for free Kindle books in languages other than English, visit Smashwords, and you should find here books in your mother tongue.

To see which books are free to read in your internet browser, go to Smashwords’ catalog of free ebooks. Then, change the way entries are being displayed – from stacks to list. Do it by clicking the bullet list icon in the top right.

Download free ebooks for Kindle - Smashwords
Smashwords offers between 50,000 and 100,000 ebooks that are temporarily free to download / Screenshot: Smashwords

This way, next to each title you will see a list of available formats. Keep in mind that the format that’s compatible with Kindle is called “mobi.”

Currently, there are between 50,000 and 100,000 free ebooks on Smashwords. That number depends on how authors promote their books. Sometimes they make a book free for a limited time. It usually happens with first volumes of book series.

⇢ Smashwords

3. Kindle Store

Did you know that there are many free ebooks in the Kindle Store? The thing is how to find them.

The best way to get free books is to go to “Bestsellers in Kindle Store” and pick up “Top 100 Free”. You will be able to see the most popular free titles in the Kindle Store.

The list is being updated a couple of times a day, so it collects the hottest free titles that are currently available.

Download free Kindle books from Amazon
You can find free ebooks in the Kindle Store as well / Screenshot: Amazon

The other way to find free Kindle books is to search Amazon. While being in the Kindle Store, in the search box type “free kindle books.” This method gives an idea how many books are free in Amazon’s own ebook platform.

Please, keep in mind that to access free books in the Kindle Store, you have to be signed in with your Amazon account and have a Kindle or Kindle app registered with the same credentials.

Otherwise, you would not be able to get free ebooks from the Kindle Store to your device. The process of delivering an ebook is different from downloading a file to your computer’s disc. It’s performed via your personal Kindle library in the cloud.

⇢ Kindle Store

4. Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with a mission of “universal access to all knowledge.” The website is a huge digital library of text, audio and video files.

The catalog includes over 25,000,000 fully accessible books and other text files. From here, you can also start browsing a collection of 1.3 million contemporary ebooks that you will be able to borrow for free once you register an account.

The ebook section is available at archive.org/details/texts. Sub-collections include American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, books from Project Gutenberg, titles from the Million Books Project, and books for children.

Download free Kindle books from Internet Archive
Internet Archive offers millions of text files that are free to download and read on your Kindle / Screenshot: Internet Archive

When you find an interesting book, click on its cover and a read-online panel will open right away. To find downloadable files, scroll down the page a bit. On the right side, you will see all available formats

In most cases, mobi format will be included – here it is called Kindle.

⇢ Internet Archive

5. Open Library

Open Library is Internet Archive’s separate project, focused on collecting library records. Its goal is to create one web page for every book ever published. On a page of a single book, you’ll find all its documented editions.

Compared to the Internet Archive, with its vast catalog and advanced search features, the Open Library website is simpler and more user-friendly, and you can find the books you need much quicker.

When you go to Classic Books section, you will find over 3 million books that are “accessible,” which means they are free to read online or download.

Download free Kindle books from Open Library
Open Library is an online catalog of books, and you can download some of them for free / Screenshot: Open Library

To find a Kindle format of a book you like to read, open the page with its details. Then, in the left-side column, right under the book cover, you will see “Download Options.” Click on “mobi” and the file will start downloading immediately.

Open Library is more than just a catalog of free classic books. It also shows contemporary books that are free to read if you decide to borrow them.

To do that, you may need to register at Open Library or find the book in your local library using WorldCat or Library Link. Each library book is marked with a “Borrow” button instead of “Read.”

⇢ Open Library

6. ManyBooks

ManyBooks offers free books in a clean and friendly interface. The site is ad supported but these ads are displayed usually at the bottom of the browser window and are not too disturbing.

Most books are sourced from Project Gutenberg and other sites that offer books with a Creative Commons license.

In total, over 50 thousand books are available, all with nicely designed covers. Plus, each book is available in several file formats, a lot more than what you can find elsewhere.

The major disadvantage on ManyBooks is that if you want to download the file, you will have to register an account. It’s up to you whether you want to do this or use other sites such as Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive.

Free books for Kindle - download from ManyBooks
ManyBooks is an ad supported platform with free classic books / Screenshot: ManyBooks

To see download options, select the book you want, open the book’s product page, and click on a big button saying “Free Download.” Then, choose “mobi” from a list of available formats.

If you don’t want to sign up for ManyBooks, you can read any book for free in your internet browser. After you find the book you want to read, go to this book’s details page and click on a large “Read Online” button.

⇢ ManyBooks

7. Goodreads

The largest book discovery site, Goodreads, offers also books in mobi/Kindle format – they are uploaded by Goodreads users and displayed in a special catalog.

Books with Free Download catalog on Goodreads is not huge – there are only 2,500 titles listed here, but they are very interesting ones.

For instance, you can download Harry Potter: The Prequel by J.K. Rowling, a short story set about three years before the birth of Harry Potter. It recounts an adventure experienced by Sirius Black and James Potter.

Download free ebooks for Kindle directly from Goodreads
Some free books are available to download directly from Goodreads / Screenshot: Goodreads

Books that you can download in full length from Goodreads are labeled with “Download eBook” button on the list of results.

When you open a book page, you will see a row of buttons. Click on ‘Download eBook” to see a list of available formats. Please note that not all books are offered in a format that’s compatible with Kindle.

⇢ Goodreads

8. BookRix

BookRix is a platform that offers books from self-published authors combined with free books from the public domain.

A catalog of free ebooks is an essential part of the website. On the top of a list, you will find the most popular categories, including literary fiction, fantasy, romance, thrillers, and young adult fiction.

When you enter any category, you will see books sorted by the popularity. On the top, you will see free books offered by contemporary authors.

Many classic titles from the public domain are also included in the BookRix directory of free ebooks. You will find them in the Fiction category.

Find free Kindle books on BookRix
BookRix offers free books from self-published authors / Screenshot: BookRix

When you find the book you want to read, click on its cover or title to enter the book details page. Find the “Download” button placed next to the book cover and click on it.

Please note that not all titles are available in mobi format., and there is no way to filter books by format, so you will have to check out Kindle compatibility once you find the book you would like to read.

⇢ BookRix

9. DigiLibraries

The site is an online ebook catalog, where you can find almost 30,000 titles – all of them are free. The site is very clean and easy to explore, and this is what makes it worth exploring.

Most probably, you won’t need a search box at all. Most popular categories are featured on the left sidebar, and you can just pick up the one you are interested in to see books listed by popularity.

Plus, if a category is large enough, you can further narrow down the list of displayed books by selecting one of sub categories. There are several categories to choose from.

The most popular are Poetry, Juvenile Fiction, and Literary Collections.

Free Kindle books - download from Digi Libraries
DigiLibraries platform offers over 30,000 free ebooks that you can download to your Kindle / Screenshot: DigiLibraries

It’s easy to download a Kindle compatible file. Simply, find “Download options” panel located on the right side of the book’s cover, and click on “Mobi Kindle” icon to start downloading the file.

⇢ DigiLibraries

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Recommendation box

Gifts for modern bookworms in 2023

Based on recommendations from top tech sites and customer reviews.

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Coffee and candle warmer with USB charger

Coffee and candle warmer with USB charger

This innovative little accessory that guarantees your coffee or tea will be always warm. You can also use it to release the scent from your candle without lighting it. Thanks to USB port, you will be able to charge your phone while reading.

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Innovative reading light

Compact and innovative reading light

From a German brand Nachteule comes a clever book light that you attach not to a book but your reading glasses. It’s so light that you can also clip it to your earphones or hair accessories! The built-in battery will let you read 200 pages.

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• • •

Hands-free pillow stand

Hands-free pillow stand – great for e-readers and print books

An improved version of a popular Lamicall tablet pillow comes now with a side pocket for a pen or small accessories. The grooves are deep enough to hold a print book. It’s made of durable materials and is available in five fashionable colors.

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