Best Places to find Free Kindle Books

There are many options on where to find free Kindle books.  Amazon has dedicated a page to list all of the options.  The only catch is that you really have to be diligent about tracking the special promotions.  They disappear quickly.

First off, the Kindle Store has limited time promotions on different books.  I’ve found some good ones through the Top 100 Free Kindle books list.  This list is updated hourly, so if you see one you like, grab it immediately.  the list includes popular free games such as Pixel Perfect Holiday Puzzles.

The free books offered by the Kindle Store are mostly romantic or religious themed.  But, if you take some time to look through the list, you can find some books with a good storyline.  It is a great opportunity to explore new authors who don’t get the recognition from the big name publishers.

Pre 1923 classics can be found in a variety of places.  Project Gutenberg is one of the original sources for free e-books.  It currently has a collection that includes roughly 30,000 titles.  You can download the books to your Kindle via USB.

Amazon’s free book page provides links to Project Gutenberg, as well as other internet based e-books.  Open Library,, and Internet Archive offer up to millions of titles.  For web based e-books and limited previews, check out Google books.

Some great programs were launched this Fall: Kindle Library Lending and Kindle Owner’s Library Lending.  Kindle Library Lending is available in 11,000 and counting libraries across the US.  Most libraries have a widget somewhere on their website that directs you to their Kindle books available through OverDrive.  My local public library just added Kindle Library Lending, and it offers a mix up new and old books.  There is already a waiting list on many of them.

Amazon Prime members can access the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library.  It is a Netflix for books type deal.  You can only check out one book a month, but it doesn’t have a due date.  The library includes over 5000 books.  Lots of bestsellers in the collection.  One thing to note is that you have to download the book directly from your Kindle direction instead of on Amazon’s website.

So, to sum it up, there are tons of free e-book options available for all of the Kindles.  The great thing about the free classics is that you can use them for school.  The physical books are not that expensive, but with a lot of them it can add up.  Free is always good!

I’m hoping that if I wait long enough, the Steve Jobs biography and other major bestsellers will be available for lending.  But, that will probably be awhile.


Kindle Library Lending

I work in a library, so I often get questions about how the Kindle Library Lending program works.  It is a new program so it hasn’t really gotten too popular yet, but it shows promise of being a great success.

The program is currently available in roughly 11,000 libraries. For North Carolina, there is a North Carolina Digital Library that is a local subset of OverDrive that includes the Kindle e-books.  I’m sure there are equivalents in other states. The Kindle Library Lending program is a partnership with OverDrive, the website that handles most digital library books, including ones for the Nook and iPad.

On a participating library’s main page, there is usually a widget or ad saying that they have books available for the Kindle. Once you click on the link, you’ll be taken to the library’s Overdrive account. For most libraries, you will need to enter your library card number. Different libraries have different ID’s needed to get in.

Click “Get for Kindle.” Then, you’ll go to the your Amazon account where you can download the book to any Kindle supported device. That includes the Kindle itself, as well as all of its apps for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Android.

One thing to note: Public Library books on Kindle can only be downloaded via Wi-Fi. They cannot be downloaded via the Kindle’s 3G connection.  Wi-Fi is easy to find these days, but if you can’t get to a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can hook up your Kindle to the computer via a USB cord.

Loan periods depend on the library.  Loan periods are usually for about three weeks for regular books, so I’m sure it will be similar with a Kindle book.  When the expiration date is up, the book will disappear from your Kindle.  So, no worries about having to remember to return it on time.

Kindle Library Lending is available in a lot of libraries in the US, but not in all of them yet. I am hoping that it will be available at my local public library in the near future so I can take advantage of the program first hand.

The role of e-books is increasing rapidly in libraries.  This goes a long way in breaking the stereotypical image of a library being a large, quiet building full of dusty books.  In reality they are constantly working to stay on the cutting edge of technology, and on new ways to reach out to their patrons.  The Kindle lending program is just one small example. Learn how to open NUMBERS file.

The Kindle lending program brings the library to you, and this allows people who can’t get to a library to have access to their favorite books.  For more information on the program, check out the Amazon Kindle Lending program FAQ on Amazon’s website.

OverDrive Prepares for Upcoming Kindle Library Lending

As you have probably heard, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is launching a new Library Lending program later this year for the Kindle.  Other e-readers including the Nook have have allowed library lending for awhile because they don’t have the digital rights restrictions that Amazon has.

Amazon is working with OverDrive, the company responsible for providing e-book content in libraries.  OverDrive recently released an update that will allow the transition to Kindle Library Lending to run much smoother.

According to a June 15 press release, OverDrive’s latest update, called OverDrive WIN will include the following features:

  • Eliminate the need for librarians and readers to deal with various eBook file formats
  • Reduce library staff time for collection development and help-desk support
  • Offer support for Kindle Library Lending coming later this year, in addition to every major operating system, reading device, and mobile platform
  • Add hundreds of thousands of in-copyright eBook and digital audiobook records with free “eBook Samples” for immediate access on reading devices and platforms
  • Enable patron driven acquisition, an opt-in program that will allow readers to immediately borrow a title, recommend to a library, or ‘Want It Now’ from online booksellers
  • Provide new ‘always available’ eBook collections for simultaneous access of romance, self-help, young adult, children’s, and other materials
  • Launch ‘Open eBook’ titles, free of DRM

For the whole press release and more information about the latest OverDrive update, click here.

From a librarian’s standpoint, I think that OverDrive has done a good job in striving to be more user friendly.  Since the Kindle is the most popular e-reader, the Kindle Library Lending program will open up opportunities for so many more people.  It also brings the library to the user, not the other way around.  I think this is awesome because there are plenty of people out there who can’t get to a library for one reason or another.

The biggest barrier will be trying to figure out how to monitor the amount of e-books being checked out.  When you have a physical book, you purchase one book, sometimes several if the book is particularly popular, and the patrons can only check them out if they are available.

With e-books, many patrons can potentially check out one book simultaneously.  There needs to be a balance, and libraries, OverDrive, and Amazon are all working on this.

Kindle Library Lending will be such a great relief for Kindle users who are frustrated with rising e-book prices.  One thing to note is that if you do decide to purchase a book that you’ve checked out, you retain your highlights and annotations.

I am excited to see where e-book lending leads us, and how it will fulfill its role in bringing libraries into the digital book world.