How to Never Pay for Another Book

by Brooke Kaelin on 11 November 2010 20 comments
Photo: Dawn Endico

If you have a computer, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, or Android device, you can download more books than you will ever be able to read for free. Here's how:

Book publishers are finally beginning to move with the times and offer larger and larger selections of current and classic books in digital formats. Retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes list those offerings and make many of them free for a limited time.

Amazon's Free Book List

You can find recently-written digital versions of books for free in the business, finance, self help, romance, science fiction, fantasy, classic, and children's categories. These books are usually only free for a day or two before Amazon rotates them out and features something else. You can keep an eye on the top 100 free list (on the right side of the linked page) to see what's current, or you can subscribe to our daily deals list and get the current offerings delivered to your email each day.

To read the books for free, you will need to download Amazon's free Kindle Whispernet software for your chosen device. You can find the software next to the "Add to cart" button for any book you want to download.

Free Books from Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble released the "Nook" to compete with Amazon's Kindle. And, just like Amazon, they offer their software for free, so you don't need the device to take advantage of the free books. Scroll down on their Nook page a bit, and find the link on the right to download the free Nook app for the iPhone, iPad, Android, or PC. Then check out their huge selection of free books.

Free Books from iTunes

The iTunes App Store has thousands of classic and current books available for free. Just browse through the books section and download anything you like to your iPhone or iPad. Do double check the price before you download though; every now and then they sneak in a paid book app.

That's it! Easy-peasy, and you have access to enough free books to spend several years doing nothing but reading. Enjoy!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Guest's picture

It's great that publishers are making larger selections of their books in digital formats!

But if you're still stubbornly old-school about reading tree-based books, remember that your local library can very often borrow a book from another (via inter-library loan) so even if the book you're after isn't stocked in your library, they can get it in for you - and usually with only a very brief delay.

Guest's picture
Guest

Also http://librivox.org/ volunteers read books in the public domain.

Guest's picture
Guest

How about the library? Or is that just too old-fashioned?

Just how free is this stuff? Or did I miss the memo where iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and the monthly data service contracts were handed out for free?

Brooke Kaelin's picture

The library is always a great option for paper books. As far as "how free" it is, anyone with a computer has access to the Barnes and Noble and Kindle free books. You download their free software, and then download the free books. You don't need a credit card, or any sort of payment information.

Guest's picture
Albert

On both Kindle and Nook you have to place your credit card information. However the books are really free. Also, if you own a computer you can download their software to read the books, or if you own and ipod touch you can also download the software and the books. After your books are downloaded you no longer need to stay online. The Kindle has a very interesting option, you can buy their device and have free 3G coverage world wide. It is really worth it.

Thanks :) Albert

Guest's picture
Guest

You can download free or almst free-e-books from Amazon to your PC. No Cost.

Guest's picture
Guest

I never pay for books. I visit the Library

Guest's picture
stannius

Me too... 3, 4, 5. I don't understand how this article could be written without at least mentioning the library.

Brooke Kaelin's picture

Hehe. Now If I said, "Never pay for books again - visit the Library!" It would be totally correct, and indispensable information. I wanted to give people some new options.

To be fair, I was not at all a fan of digital books. Until the day I downloaded over 30 books for free from Amazon, nearly instantly. Books I wanted, some that I would definitely have taken a trip to the library for, and possibly even purchased at full price. After that, I was hooked!

Just wanting to share the love on that on. I've gotten some great books free in digital format. If you've got a computer, or access to one, it's a really nice perk.

Thanks for the comments!

Guest's picture
Hannah

While I love having this kind of technology, at the end of the day there's nothing better than curling up in a blanket with a hot cup of coffee and flipping through the pages of a good book. :-)

Guest's picture
Information Missionary

Libraries have ebooks, audiobooks, and sometimes music to download too, and they have hot bestsellers not just books by authors looking to make it. Ask your librarian if they use Overdrive or another similar service.

Guest's picture
Wini Porter

Or, if you are going to buy a book (some of us don't yet want to go digital!), get the best guaranteed prices online with www.bargainbookmole.com - they actually guarantee the lowest price found, or they pay for the book!

Guest's picture
Brendan

Ignore these people who are saying "Duh Library", yes we all know that you can get books from the Library, what the lovely Brooke was trying to say was that there are quite a few other free options as well. Not everyone can get to a Library, having hundreds of Amazon and B&N Free titles available to you at home is very worthwhile.

Guest's picture
Guest

Increasing numbers of public libraries also offer free ebooks.

Guest's picture
Guest

"Free" means $0.00 in my opinion. Not $2.00 and up, as at Amazon's!

Guest's picture
Guest

You are forgetting http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page with over 30,000 free ebooks.

Guest's picture
Guest

2 words: public library!

Guest's picture

It's great to see the historically stuffy publishing industry relaxing a little, ensuring that people can enjoy great reads for free.

However, for all luddites out there charity shops and yard sales are brilliant destinations for some value book buys. Happy reading!

Guest's picture
Tammy

If you love reading, I don't think your goal should be to never pay for a book again. After all, there has to be some incentive for authors to write new books. I read tons of free books on my Kindle but I make a point to occasionally buy books from my favorite authors.

Guest's picture
Library lover

I appreciate the sentiment of this article but like other commenters wanted to point out that libraries offer e-books for free. Overdrive, Netlibrary, and ebrary are just three vendors libraries use. Also, you can often read magazines & newspapers for free since libraries subscribe to databases that include them (Consumer Reports, Wall Street Journal, New York Times).

Usually you just need to go to the library once to get the card. Some libraries offer online registration so you don't even need to go to the library to get a card!