6 sources of foreign language books for Kindle

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Browsing for non-English books at Kindle Store is not easy. You can follow these tips to get most of it. However if you don’t find books in the categories of your interest, you can try to get them from other legal sources.

Remember, for your Kindle ereader or application, third-party books have to be:
– in prc/mobi format (also described as mobipocket or kindle),
– without DRM (unprotected).

Before you’ll buy a Kindle, check whether in your country there are any legal sources of DRM-free prc/mobi books. Some local ebook distributors may be selling books in this format, knowing that Kindle is the most popular ereader in the world – it ships to over 170 countries and is probably cheaper than ereaders officially sold by local ebookstores.

There are a couple of great services which can be a valuable source of foreign language books for Kindle.

Smashwords

The catalog contains over 60,000 books from contemporary authors. It’s one of the most popular self-publishing services in the world. Not only English-speaking authors use it to publish their books.

Description of every book includes also a language. But don’t get disappointed – if you click on a language it returns no results. Apparently, there is apparently a bug which prevents language search at Smashwords.

A good way is to type in a search box your language pronounced in English (f.e. Finnish or Portuguese). You can also browse Smashwords via Google. Go to Google web search page and paste into the search box (replacing Spanish with your language):

site:smashwords.com "Language: Spanish"

You can also go directly to Smashwords satellite sites for language-specific ebook collections:
Spanish – approx. 750 titles
French – approx. 550 titles

Feedbooks

Feedbooks is a great source of free ebooks from self-published authors (apart from public domain classics). Search by language is available for 5 languages: English, German, French, Russian, Spanish. To reveal it, find in the left panel a section called Language and click on More options (see picture below).

Direct links to supported languages:
German
French
Spanish
Russian

If your language is not supported, you can replace two last letters in the address bar – they are the language tag:

http://www.feedbooks.com/userbooks?lang=es

Tag es stand for Spanish. If you want to find, for instance, Polish books, replace es with pl. A full list of two-letter language tags is available here.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a mother of all public domain books in digital format. Books from PG can be found at Feedbooks, Manybooks or Internet Archive. The great thing about this service is that you can search by language easily and comfortably – just go to this page.

You can search for language, sort languages by popularity or alphabetically. What’s important, next to each language there is a number of books available.

Most popular languages are French, German, Finnish, Dutch, Portuguese and Chinese.

Internet Archive

The site lists public domain books, but it’s also open for the contribution of free Creative Commons texts.

Currently, Internet Archive contains almost 3,000,000 titles. You can search for books in your language using advanced search. From a Custom field drop-down menu select language, then in a field next to contains type a two-letter tag of your language (see picture below).

Open Library

Open Library is a community-driven ebook resource. Over 1,000,000 titles are available. Search doesn’t provide an option to select language. You have to paste into the address bar the text below:

http://openlibrary.org/search?language=spa

The site is using three-letter language codes (different from Feedbooks and Internet Archive). You can find them here.

Scribd

Scribd is a YouTube for texts. 10 million files are shared here, vast majority for free. Available file formats are “only” pdf and plain text (txt), but if you’re really looking for a wider choice of books, you should try browsing this site.

Language search is easy. You can first select a category you’re interested in. On a list of result look for a bar with options (see picture) and choose your language from a drop-down menu.

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