Before I move on with a list, there are a couple of things to know or keep in mind to make adding own books to Kindle easier and quicker.
First of all, remember to pick up the right file format.
While the rest of ebookstores is using the epub format, Kindle devices and apps support a different one – mobi (also called prc). If you will be choosing a file from any of the sites below, please make sure to download that format and not the other.
In the Kindle Store, there is a new format introduced called kd8. It allows to put a multimedia content into the ebook. Mobi is and will be supported, don’t be afraid Amazon will discontinue it or make it incompatible with Kindles or Kindle apps.
Obviously, you can also add pdf files, but it makes sense only if the book is not available in mobi. The latter format lets increase font size, making it easy to read on smaller screens, what gets really difficult when using pdf, especially of large-format books.
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. You can also read the Kindle books via your internet browser, using Kindle Cloud Reader.
The key to Kindle ecosystem is your Amazon account. All ebooks you add to your Kindle virtual library will be synced across all 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 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 ereader – 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.
Download free Kindle books from these 12 sites
1. Kindle Store
There are a lot of free ebooks in the Kindle Store itself. The thing is how to find them. There also are several sites which list free ebooks from Kindle Store. I’ll put them together into a separate post, so stay tuned.
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 picks the hottest free titles that are currently available.
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 ebookstore.
2. Project Gutenberg
We made such lists for other ebookstores, and Project Gutenberg is always there. It’s 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. It’s 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 as well. 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 ebookstore.
A good thing with books from Project Gutenberg is that if the original book 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 such file takes much more disc space.
Currently there are almost 43,000 public domain books in the catalog. The site offers a very useful Dropbox and Google Drive integration.
Smashwords is a top destination with ebooks from independent authors and publishers. There are 200,000 titles in the catalog. At the time of writing this post there were exactly 7,971,158,022 words published. 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 very important source of newly released independent ebooks. What’s more, if you are looking for free Kindle books in languages other than English, head for Smashwords and you should find here books in your mother tongue.
To quickly get to the list of free ebooks, simply use the combination of three top filter bars. For instance, here is the link to: bestsellers – that are free – that are 50k words or longer.
Currently there are almost over 32,000 free ebooks on Smashwords. You can pick a category first and then select Free tab to get a list of free titles in your favorite genre. For instance, there are over 2,000 science-fiction books that are free on Smashwords.
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. It offers over 3.8 mln ebooks and texts. Sub-collections include American Libraries, Canadian Libraries, books from Project Gutenberg, titles from the Million Books Project, and books for children.
When you find an interesting book, you’ll see in the left panel the list of available formats. In most cases mobi format will be included – here called Kindle.
5. Open Library
Open Library is another site founded by the Internet Archive. The site positions itself as “the world’s classic literature at your fingertips”. There are over 1,000,000 free ebook titles available.
The biggest benefit of Open Library is that it’s driven by a strong community. It’s like Wikipedia for ebooks. If the book had more than one edition, you’ll see them listed on Open Library. For instance, Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, first published in 1876, have 306 editions altogether and most of them have separate download directories.
Unlike other sites in the list, Open Library offers not only a mobi file, but also the option to send the book to Kindle – what saves a couple of clicks and makes a process of adding books much quicker.
The site is different from the others, as it offers over 30,000 rare titles that you can’t find anywhere else. If you are a pulp-fiction freak, you should go no further. Munseys has probably the largest catalog of pulp-fiction titles from the 30s and 40s of the last century – over 1,600 titles are included in the Pulp Fiction category.
There are other very specific categories here, such as Elizabethans, Folklore, Orient Express, or Esoteric. Out of 13 file formats, two are for Kindle. “Mobipocket/Kindle” is in fact a .prc file. If you want a .mobi, download the file called “Kindle Fire”.
On Feedbooks you can find both public domain (Public Domain section) and free contemporary books (Original Books section), both fiction and non-fiction. As the site is based in France, there are a lot of titles in French, as well as in other languages, not only in English.
The site offers RSS feeds of specific categories, so you can subscribe to them and get new books the moment they are added to catalog.
The download button links by default to epub file, but you can download from a text link next to it, saying “also available for Kindle“.
While it’s not easy to find free Kindle books on Amazon, Mobipocket is exclusively about them. The site is owned by Amazon and lists over 11,500 free books. It’s the only website, except Amazon, from where you can download books only for Kindle.
The site is pretty simple and does nothing except listing books. All of them are public domain, and the last books was added to catalog in 2006.
9. Baen Free Library
Baen is an ebook online store, selling ebooks from a dozen of publishers, that also operates Baen Free Library. The library was established, because the cost giving away an ebook version of the book was cheaper than buying an advertising. That’s why in the Free Library you can find newly released title, not literature classics.
Although Baen is an ebookstore, you can download free books without the need to register or leave an email address. Some of the books may be included in the Free Library, but their status may have changed to paid, so double-check it before downloading.
The largest book discovery site, Goodreads, offers also books in mobi/Kindle format. The catalog 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.
The site offers almost 30,000 free ebooks. It’s very well-organized and easy to browse for books or follow recommendations. The book detail page displays not only usual fields like the author or publish date, but also word count and the reading ease.
The number of available formats is impressive. There are three formats your Kindle will read: azw, Mobipocket (.mobi), and Mobipocket (.prc).
The site is an online ebook catalog, where you can find almost 30,000 titles – all of them are free. There are several categories to choose from. The most popular are Poetry, Juvenile Fiction, and Literary Collections.
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