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Downloading “FREE” books to a Kindle
November 5, 2009 at 1:15 pm #84858
From ETAN on Tech Blog
How to download free Kindle books
posted by Etan Horowitz
Amazon’s Kindle is a breakthrough device, but at $359, it may be a little too expensive for some people in this economy. And if you do buy it, you may be tempted to spend lots of money on new books to fill up your new toy.
Although you can’t load books you already own onto it, there are thousands of free books out there that you can read on your Kindle. But finding them and figuring out how to get them on the device isn’t so easy.
Lots of Web sites offer guides to downloading free books, but most of these sites are just lists of links and not step by step instructions.
The best advice I found was actually in a book I downloaded to the Kindle called “Free Books for Your Kindle,” which costs $2.28. It’s a very straightforward guide with easy to understand steps.
Much of the following advice I picked up from reading that book.
Getting free books on the Kindle
There are basically two ways to get free books onto your Kindle:
1. By downloading a file from the Internet to your computer and then transferring that file to your Kindle via USB cable or SD card (Kindle 1 only)
2. Downloading a book directly to your Kindle from the Kindle store or from the Internet browser on the device
Where to find free books
There are lots of places to find free books. Here are three of the most popular ways, along with instructions on how to download books from each of them. Except where noted, the instructions should be roughly the same for the Kindle and Kindle 2.
Project Gutenberg (More than 20,000 free e-books)
Described as the “gold standard for e-texts,” this site has public domain books as well as books in lots of languages. You will download books from the Internet on your computer and then transfer them to your Kindle. I used this method to download The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Here’s how:
* Go to http://www.gutenberg.net.
* You can search for books by title or author or browse through the Top 100 downloads.
* Once you’ve identified a book, scroll down to the bottom and look for the link to a “plain text version” with no compression.
* Click on “main site” and the text should open in a new browser window. Choose save page as, name the file something you will remember (i.e. the book’s title), and save it your computer.
* Connect your Kindle to your computer with the USB cable and drag the text file you just downloaded onto the “documents” folder on your Kindle.
* If you are transferring the book onto an SD card that you will put into your Kindle (Kindle 1 only), you may have to create a new folder on the card and call it “documents.” Drag the file into that folder.
* Once you disconnect the cable, the new book should show up in your home screen
This service is great because it lets you download free books directly to your Kindle, so there’s no need for a computer.I downloaded The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald using this method.
* Open up the Internet browser on your Kindle, by going to the Home screen, pressing Menu, choosing Experimental and then choosing Basic Web.
* Enter this URL on your Kindle browser: feedbooks.com/kindleguide
* You should now be prompted to download a file onto your Kindle. Click OK.
* Once the file has downloaded, go to your Home screen to access it.
* It should appear as a new book called “Kindle Download Guide.”
* Open up the book, and use the Menu button to access the table of contents.
* From here you can browse recently added books, the most downloaded books or books in alphabetical order.
* Once you’ve opened up a book you like, go to the end of the description, and click on the link to download the book.
* If you had trouble downloading the “Kindle Download Guide” from feedbooks.com/kindleguide, there is another method you can use. Open up the web browser and go to feedbooks.com/mobile
* .You can browse through books here and once you find one you like, click on “Mobipocket/Kindle to download it to your device.
* After you accept the download, the book should appear in your Home screen.
Amazon Kindle Store
Besides the free sample chapters you can get from Amazon’s Kindle store, there are also free books available, but they are not easy to find.
The easiest way to find free books, is to visit the Kindle Store for books on your computer and sort the books by price: low to high. This will bring up a list of all the free books (price $0).
Once you’ve found a book you like, click to “Buy” the book, which will wirelessly deliver it to your Kindle. Then the next you use your Kindle with wireless turned on, it will download the item and place it in your home screen.
Unfortunately, when you are using the Kindle store on your device, there does not seem to be a way to sort books by price:low to high. However, if you know the name of a book that is available for free in the Kindle store, you can type in the name of it on your device and download it.
There are lots of other sites and sources for free books. Now that you understand the basic ways to access them, you can find more sources by googling “free Kindle books.” Some services, such as feedbooks, will also let you download free RSS feeds of blogs and newspapers.
Many of the sites will also let you download free books to your smartphone, which may not be the most comfortable way to read.
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