Have you read free Kindle books?

Kindle Books for Free: The Best Free Sources - And What's Still Legal?

We are again dedicating an article to Amazon's Kindle, because Kindle owners apparently have a great need for inexpensive reading material. Our web statistics show that many people come to literaturcafe.de via Google, and among the most popular articles at the moment there are suddenly even older articles on the subject of pirated copies and Kindle.

We'll show you where to get free reading material for Kindle and what is legal and illegal. The first point of contact for free e-books is Amazon itself.

By the way: All tips are also interesting for iPad, iPhone or smartphone owners with Android, because they too can enjoy the free e-books.

Whoever wants to read Kindle e-books does not need to own a Kindle device, he or she can do this on almost all devices. Amazon offers free reading apps for Kindle books. An Amazon account is required. If you should buy a Kindle later, the e-books will then be immediately transferred to the Amazon reader. It is worthwhile to keep a free library "in reserve".

Amazon is giving away an e-book every day until January 6, 2013

Amazon also knows that a reader is only as good as the books that are available for it. In order to quickly supply the new customers with reading material, Amazon gave away an e-book every day from Christmas until January 6, 2013, which is usually in the price range between 5 and 10 euros. These are often not bestsellers, but rather titles from the B-League, but last year there were quite useful items from the entertainment sector. So from December 25th, 2012 to January 6th, 2013 you should visit the "Kindle Free Days" website every day. In addition, »Kindle Post - The Redaktions-Blog« provides information about the daily free books. The best thing to do is to subscribe to the blog's RSS feed, because otherwise it is also worth reading here in order to be informed about similar promotions and offers that Amazon regularly carries out. But be careful: The free titles are only available until 11:59 p.m. of the respective day, after which they cost their normal price again.

To get the free books, order them normally for a price of 0 euros and you can access the Kindle via WiFi.

Note and addendum: The year has been updated to 2013 because Amazon is carrying out the 2012/13 campaign again.

The best source for free Kindle e-books is Amazon itself

In general, Amazon should be your first port of call when looking for free books. Because nowhere else do you get the free books on your Kindle device faster and easier. On Amazon there are thousands of German and English-language books for free. There are classics like Kafka, Goethe or Arthur Conan Doyle. Currently there are B. “The Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Verne or “Dracula” by Bram Stoker top the list of the most popular free books.

But many self-publishers also offer some of their books free of charge for a limited period of time. There are also many pearls among them.

In order to bring the e-books to the device, you have to order them normally at a price of 0 euros. This also works directly on the Kindle if it is connected to a WLAN. Go to the "Kindle Shop" in the menu. Under "Kindle bestsellers" you will find the link "Top 100 free" at the top. The "purchased" free titles are loaded directly onto the device via WLAN, and via the cellular network with the Kindle Keyboard 3G.

Where can I get free bestsellers?

You have to know that there are only two ways to legally get free books: Either there are so-called public domain works for which the copyright has expired. This is the case 70 years after the death of the author or translator. Hence, most of the free books are such classics. For example, Kafka died in 1924.

The second way to get free e-books is through advertising and free gifts. Occasionally online retailers, publishers or authors give away e-books or make them available free of charge under a special CC license.

But take a close look at who is giving away what. Often, supposed gifts are only used to collect data and addresses. If necessary, read the fine print carefully so that you B. take out a paid subscription and the supposed free book is just a bait.

It is clear that there are hardly any bestsellers among these free titles, because why should you give them away? There are of course always exceptions. For example, the e-book provider Kobo is giving away books by Umberto Eco around Christmas 2011, including »The Cemetery in Prague«. But Kobo books have their own format and cannot be read on Kindle.

Now, if you google and get into the darker corners of the web, you will definitely find free bestsellers. However, these are often pirated copies, ie "cracked" files or often also works scanned and digitized by users themselves. In the relevant jargon one speaks of »bookz«. Here, however, it is not only legally questionable, and alleged Harry Potter volumes are often not what they promise, but self-written sequels or other foreign texts that have nothing to do with the announced title.

Other sources for free Kindle books

The file format of the Kindle books is crucial. The Kindle itself (in addition to TXT and PDF) only displays the e-book file formats AZW and MOBI. Other formats such as EPUB must first be converted in order to be able to read them on the Kindle. However, the EPUB files of the large online shops such as libri.de or thalia.de are usually encrypted, so that conversion is not legally possible because the copy protection would have to be cracked. Programs for this will also be found, but circumventing copy protection and even owning such software is legally questionable.

Anyone who searches for free MOBI files via Google or even searches for “Free Kindle E-Books” will not find anything productive and will more likely come across advertising junk and dubious websites.

The English »Project Gutenberg«, which also lists German-language books, provides the texts, among other things. in Kindle format (MOBI) for download. But these texts are mostly in the public domain and largely identical to the free titles on Amazon. Nevertheless, you can of course also browse there.

Transfer Kindle files, text files, and PDF to Kindle

Pure text and PDF files can be transferred to the Kindle without any problems, and of course the Kindle files in MOBI format as well. To do this, connect the device to a computer using the USB cable supplied. The Kindle then registers itself as a drive and the files are transferred to the documents Directory of the Kindle. After disconnecting the Kindle from the device and restarting it, the e-books are automatically displayed.

However, PDF files are often very tedious to read on the Kindle because they are often designed for a larger page format and the constant zooming and scrolling is not a pleasure. We therefore recommend the conversion as described below.

If you don't want to connect the Kindle to your computer, you can send text and PDF files to the Kindle by e-mail. As soon as he logs into a WLAN, the files are then loaded onto the device. For this purpose, every Kindle has its own e-mail address, which can be found in the Kindle menu under "Settings" and then on the second page under "Send to Kindle e-mail". However, the Kindle does not automatically receive e-mails from all senders, as the device would otherwise be open to all kinds of spam. Kindle owners must therefore enter the permitted sender addresses at www.amazon.de/myk. To do this, after logging in to the Amazon website, click on "Personal documents settings" on the left. Under »E-mail list for approved personal documents« you can, for example, B. Enter your office e-mail address so that you can send documents to your Kindle from there.

Incidentally, anyone who thinks that they can transfer AZW files purchased via a USB cable from one device to another will fail. The Amazons AZW files are encrypted and can only be read on the device that is registered on the buyer.

Read Word files on Kindle

The DOC or DOCX format of Word is not directly supported by the Kindle, so the files cannot be transferred to the device via a USB cable. However, Word files can be emailed to the device via Amazon as described above. In this case, Amazon does the conversion.

If you don't want to send your Word files to Kindle via Amazon, you can also open the file with Word and then save it as an HTML or RTF file. These two formats are supported by Caliber so they can be converted and transferred to the device using this free software as described below.

Convert websites to Kindle format

If you have free texts on the web such as For example, if you want to continue reading longer articles from online newspapers on your Kindle, you do not have to open the Kindle's experimental browser. If you use Firefox or Chrome, you can use practical browser plug-ins that extract the text from the website, convert it to Kindle format and send it to the device by email. "Kindle it" is available for Firefox, Chrome and Android. There is also "Send to Kindle" for Chrome. Klip.me offers online conversion with a bookmarklet for all browsers. Be aware, however, that your mail and files go through the servers of these providers.

Convert EPUB, PDF and other formats for Kindle

Unencrypted EPUB formats can be easily converted to the Kindle MOBI format as long as they are not protected by DRM. Unfortunately, all EPUB e-books purchased from shops such as thalia.de or libri.de are no longer available.

The best tool for converting is the free open source software Caliber. This can also be used to convert Word files saved as RTF or HTML. This is done in the same way as we describe it for self-written texts in our e-book "Amazon Kindle: Creating and Selling Your Own E-Books":

Via the menu item »Add books« you select the EPUB files to be converted, which are then listed in the middle area of ​​the window. Then select the title you want and click on "Convert books". In the conversion screen that now appears, you should see the corresponding input format at the top left, and at the top right you should select MOBI as the output format. If you want, you can enter additional data such as the author and title so that they are correctly displayed on the Kindle. A click on OK starts the conversion.

You can then connect your Kindle to your computer via USB and transfer the file to the reader using the corresponding menu item.

Alternatively, you can also send the MOBI file to your Kindle device via e-mail via Caliber. To do this, right-click on the title after the conversion and select the entry »Connect / Share« and then »E-Mail to ...« in the pop-up menu.

Even PDF files without DRM restrictions can be converted into Kindle books in this way. The advantage is that the font size, line spacing and other settings can then be changed. The text adapts perfectly to the Kindle display. The disadvantage are occasionally page numbers in the middle of the text, incorrect breaks or hyphens in the middle of the word. Just try it out and see the result. As a rule, reading comfort outweighs minor imperfections in formatting. Only elaborately designed PDF documents with lots of graphics often do not lead to good results.

With our tips and advice, you should be able to quickly fill your Kindle with free reading material.

Do you know any other sources for free Kindle books? We look forward to hints in the comments.

For more tips, see our e-book for Amazon's Kindle

You can find more tips on creating digital books in our e-book "Amazon Kindle: Creating and Selling Your Own E-Books".

Buy the e-book and be part of the experiment we are about in our Experience report constantly write updates. We also look forward to your Amazon reviews on these titles.

You do not need a Kindle device to read the e-book. Amazon also offers free reading software for Kindle books for mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android or desktop PC and Mac). Once purchased, Kindle books can be read on all devices.

Wolfgang Tischer: Amazon Kindle: Create and sell your own e-books - 6th, expanded and revised edition [Kindle Edition] for Amazon Kindle (all models) and the corresponding apps for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and PC, 2012. literaturcafe.de.
Buy the e-book for 2.99 euros from Amazon