Free Kindle Books: Science Fiction

One of the most amazing things that defined the promise of the eBook revolution and the availability of toys like the Kindle was the lower prices.  When you cut out all of the expenses of physically printing and shipping and storing books, the information those pages contain will have to be cheaper, right?  Well, as we all know at this point there has been a bit of delay in realizing this wonderful future as a general rule, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t places where we can get some great free stuff if we look!

Some of you might already be aware of the Baen Free Library. but I figured it was worth bringing up for the many of you that haven’t.  Baen frequently releases portions of a lot of their more popular series, either in the form of free sample chapters or an assortment of free first volumes in lengthy series, on the theory that if you like what you read, you’ll want to read more.  As a result, you can get yourself some really fun reads without ever touching your wallet.

Now, the library’s selection varies fairly regularly.  Authors are given complete control over the supply of their work, including what is given away, when it is available, and when it’s pulled from the shelves.  It’s an organized venue for authors to spread word of mouth.  Which makes sense if you understand their philosophy that it’s easier to rely on the responsible nature of readers and ignore piracy as a serious concern than it is to spend all your time building up a complicated system to prevent the acquisition of good books by people who will find a way to manage it anyway if they’re interested enough.

What does this mean for Kindle owners?  Well, obviously you won’t see these books being distributed for free on the Amazon website.  You will find a lot of these books already in a convenient Mobipocket format though!  I would personally recommend the BaenCD collections such as those found at Fifth Imperium.  All you have to do is find the book you’re looking for, click on it, and download the .mobi file from the links on the left of the screen (incidentally, there’s another link for epubs for you Nook owners out there).  Then you can use whatever method is most convenient for you to pop it from your computer over to your Kindle.

If you’re not familiar with these authors yet, and if you’re looking for a good long fun series to get into, I recommend starting with the Cryoburn CD.  At a glance it looks like it has the ever-popular Vorkosigan series by Lois McMaster Bujold in its entirety.  As always, if you do find that you enjoy these books, give some thought to paying for them.  These guys are giving away the sort of thing that most publishing companies are trying to make you pay increasingly inflated prices for and that’s something worth supporting, in my opinion.

Amazon Drops Free Books From Kindle Bestseller List

Apparently at some point recently, somebody over at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) gave it some thought and found themselves wondering why so many of their Bestsellers(63/100 as of March 12th) were never actually “sold”, as such.  The plan is to eliminate the free book presence from the Kindle Bestseller list.  The date on this is still up in the air as far as we know, but the apparent aim is to have two lists: one for sold books and one for free ones.

To publishers, this seems like a no-brainer.  It highlights what books people are spending their money on and gives readers a chance to vote with their wallet on whether or not a book does well.  Others, on the other hand, may be hit a bit hard by this move.  It has become somewhat common for new or self-publishing authors to give away a free book or portion of a book in order to direct attention to their further works.

We’ll have to wait and see how this is handled, but I for one am hoping to be able to access both lists on my Kindle device rather than having to shop the website.  I find it interesting to know what new finds people have made lately when I’m looking for something new to pass the time with.

Take your nook Shopping!

One of the things that B&N has been advertising since the nook first debuted is an enhanced in-store experience.  With the recently released 1.3 patch, they’ve really delivered.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Take your nook to any B&N store and get access to the store’s hotspot.
  2. Open up the nook’s store browser and find a book you’re interested in.
  3. Select your book and choose the “Read in Store” option from the menu.
  4. Enjoy!

It’s ridiculously simple and works for every last book in their ebook catalog.  You get an hour per book per 24-hour period, so you’re not likely to see your way through to the end of a book in a single sitting, but there seems to be no daily limit on number of books per day or number of days per book.

I don’t claim to understand the business model, but it’s certainly fun.  I anticipate many a lunch break around the country being spent in the local Barnes & Noble cafe.  Whether you’re reading a bit at a time or previewing that new release you were on the fence about, you can’t really go wrong.  It ties the nook device into the physical store better than anything else I could think of.  I would really love to see something like this coming from the Kindle, honestly.  It’s a neat feature that’ll give the nook a huge advantage should it catch on.