Truth be told, I love to read actual, touchable books. I love the crisp, new pages, I love the smell of ink and paper as I open them up, and I take pains to not crease the binds while devouring the content (something that drives my husband—a page folder, cover-ripper, and bind creaser if I ever did meet one—crazy). When I was little I dreamt of the day my home library would become so large that it took an entire room with floor to ceiling, inlaid bookcases and harry-potter-looking ladders to organize and navigate. In my attempts to reach this dream, I decided to keep every book I ever read and number them from 1 to infinity. I figured I could glean some really good insight from the choices I had made over the years, with my library becoming some sort of tangible compilation of my personal knowledge.
I gave up at around number 73.
I’ve held onto my affinity for physical books and have no desire to purchase an electronic reading device. Still, I do know that the market has changed, and there are certain pros to eBooks that regular books don’t have. So when I found out that you don’t need to purchase a nook, a cranny, a kindle (or whatever other names they are using for reading devices) and that you can just download a free Kindle app to use on your computer or Smartphone, I thought I would give it a shot. After all, information is highly valuable no matter what form it comes in.Information is highly valuable no matter what form it comes in. Click To Tweet
Downloading the Free Kindle App
If you have a computer, then you can download the free Kindle App and use it to gain access to all kinds of eBooks. You can also use this free app on a Smartphone (and if you have a computer and a Smartphone, the app will sync with your Amazon.com account so that you have access to the same material on any device).
- To download this app onto any device, you need to first sign-up or sign into your Amazon.com account. Navigate to this page where you can choose which device you are going to download the free kindle app onto. Click the link for your device, and then follow the directions from there.
- To sync your Amazon.com purchases (including free “purchases”), click “Tools” and then click “Sync and Check for New Items” within your Kindle App.
- All eBooks and digital reading content downloaded directly from the Amazon.com online bookstore is in the .awz format, which is proprietary to Amazon. Other file formats that the kindle app supports include Mobipocket, plain text, HTML, Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF. So what happens if you want to download Nook content, or other content in a file format not supported by kindle? You can convert other file formats using this free service.
- Let’s say you download a free eBook below from a source other than Amazon. How would you add that book onto your kindle reader app? You would place the downloaded file in the “My Kindle Content” folder. This is usually under your “My Documents” folder. To locate the folder where you need to move your downloaded content to, click “Tools,” “Options” and then “Content” in your Kindle App. The content folder where Kindle sources your downloads will be listed.
Finding Free eBooks for Your New Free Reader App
There are many public domain publications available in MOBI or PDF format that you can read on your Kindle for free. There are also many people who give away their eBooks at no cost to you.
- On Amazon.com, choose “Kindle Store” in the drop down box of search categories. Then once you choose a category or genre, sort it by pricing (low to high). This will pull the free books available in that category to the top of your search results. You can also just search within the kindle store for “0.00”, and a list of free eBooks will appear.
- There are thousands of free classics that are part of the Public Domain such as Les Misérables, A Tale of Two Cities, and Crime and Punishment.
- In the Access Project Gutenberg, I was able to locate memoirs of Benjamin Franklin Volumes I and II for free.
- Use OpenLibrary.org to navigate the book section of the internet archive, which has over 1,000,000 free eBook classics. The tutorial videos are very helpful in explaining how to do this; one particularly useful piece of information for the Kindle reader app is to open the book online, then in the upper right hand corner is a large, italic “i” to click on where you can send the copy to your app.
- Booksshouldbefree.com is another great website to search for free eBooks.
Using Your App to Borrow eBooks from Your Local or Global Library
A neat development as libraries attempt to acclimate to the age of digital books has been the availability of eBook lending. If your library is linked to Overdrive then you can check out titles virtually using your library card number and PIN.
- Search your library’s eBook/Digital Media catalogue.
- Select the book that you want to borrow, then input your library card information and pin.
- There should be an option for “Get for Kindle” to have it sent to your Kindle app. This will redirect you to Amazon’s Public Library Loan page.
- Choose your app (or device if you have one) from the “Deliver to” Menu, and then choose Get Library Book to send the book to your app/device.
If your library does not offer eBook lending, then check out OpenLibrary.org to borrow over 1,000,000 modern eBook titles. You will need to sign up for a free account with them. Once you have an account, you can borrow up to five books at a time for 14 days.
There are companies that have bottled the “new book smell” so that you can synthesize some of the traditional book experience when using an eBook reader. No thank you! I think I will always choose traditional books over eBooks when I can. But having access to thousands of free eBooks is a real asset, so I am glad that I set up my own account and learned how to do so.