Woman using amazon kindle at a coffee shop

8 Ways to Get Free Kindle Books

Reading digitally doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems.

Woman using amazon kindle at a coffee shop

Many e-books are free, but you have to look for them. 

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I was a longtime Kindle holdout. I liked the feel of turning an actual page and the smell of old books, as I told anyone who would ask why I had not yet invested in an e-reader. 

Eventually, though, I caved, largely for practical reasons. I spend a fair amount of time traveling, and I was always the person that would lug four or five books with me on our summer vacations. The real turning point happened in 2009, when my husband and I were attending a friend's wedding in Hawaii. I had picked up the first book in a series at the airport, read the entire book on the plane and then that same day we walked two miles to the local book store so I could pick up the rest of the books in the series. Needless to say, we returned home from Hawaii and I immediately bought my Kindle.

Aside from being a lightweight travel companion and the ease of use when you just have to get your hands on a new book, there was one other Kindle feature that I did not know about until I had my own: free Kindle books!

Free Kindle books are abundant, which means that my reading habit has also gotten much cheaper since I invested in a Kindle. Here are eight ways you can get free Kindle books:

1. Amazon

 If you search the Amazon website for "free Kindle books," you will find over 50,000 results. Amazon frequently offers new Kindle books for free, however if you see one that you like, you might want to act fast. Amazon frequently changes the pricing of e-books, so while it may be free one hour, the price could go up the next hour.

2. Amazon Prime Membership

This is similar to the Amazon option above, but Amazon Prime members have a couple of different options for obtaining free Kindle books. First, there's the Kindle First program where Prime members get one free pre-release book per month. There's also the Kindle Lending Library, where Prime members can borrow one free book per month.

3. Your Local Library

Many, if not most, libraries now provide the option of borrowing Kindle books. You normally have to head to the library's website to find this option. One word of caution: Libraries usually only have so many rights to each book and the wait times for some books can be lengthy, especially in bigger cities! 

4. A friend

Some Kindle books come with the option of loaning the book to one other person. Keep track of the books you have that provide this option and host book swaps with other friends.

5. BookLending

If you do not have anyone to swap books with, check out the BookLending website, which matches book loaners with book borrowers. The idea behind this site is similar to borrowing from a friend, but you will likely not know the person loaning you the book.

6. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is a website that lists over 45,000 free Kindle books. The founder of Project Gutenberg, Michael Hart, created the e-book in 1971. You can search this site for specific titles that you would like to read or search by category.

7. Planet Publish

Many books that are in the public domain – books where the intellectual property rights have expired – can be downloaded for free. Planet Publish has a great listing of classic literature novels that are available for free download.

8. Pixel of Ink

Pixel of Ink is a blog that is updated daily with all of the new free Kindle books. Browsing this blog can be helpful if you do not have time to keep doing searches for "free Kindle books" on the Amazon website.

The impetus for me switching from reading paper books to primarily reading books via the Kindle was ease of use, but I am now a huge fan of how many free books I am also able to read. I scour the free book listings on a near-daily basis, which has substantially cut down on the amount that I spend on books each year. I hope this list helps you do the same.