How to get LEGALLY free e-books. (Meaning you’re NOT screwing authors.)

There's no excuse for not getting LEGAL freebies.

There’s no excuse for not getting LEGAL freebies.

(And YES, you may share the link to this blog post anywhere, and thank you!) Folks, sharing files is BAD. It’s stealing from authors. There is NO excuse for it when there are literally COUNTLESS FREE e-books out there LEGALLY available through sites like Kindle, Nook, etc. You just have to know how to FIND them. Not to mention, many of those free and “discount” sites are actually installing malware and viruses on your computers to steal your financial information. What, you don’t think THIEVES won’t steal from you? Do you think they’re spending money operating a high-dollar server out of the goodness of their hearts? Fuck, no, they’re trying to get botnets set up and steal your CC and other personal information.

If you whine back at me, “But…but…but legal sites don’t have the books I WANT for FREE!” then shut up and please quit reading my books, because you’re not looking for “free” books, you’re looking to steal books from hardworking authors. These instructions will get you LEGALLY free books. LEGALLY. FREE.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to get LEGALLY free e-books.

Legally Free E-books

BookBub: This is a FREE subscription service. They send out e-mails daily listing  discounts and freebies. You can tell them your preferred site (Amazon, B&N, etc.) and then pick your genres. There is NO CATCH. (Authors and publishers pay to advertise their deals to the subscribers, so it’s a win-win for readers.)

https://www.bookbub.com/home/

Shameless Book Club: Also a newsletter. They list freebies and discount specials. (My guess is they make their money via affiliate fees, so good on them. It’s how a lot of bloggers are listing books, so it’s perfectly legit.)

http://shamelessbookclub.com/

Project Gutenberg: This is an archive of mostly older and all out-of-copyright books, including some classic literature.

http://www.gutenberg.org/

Smashwords: They don’t have the slickest site out there, granted, but they are becoming a player in the e-book distribution market. Look at the top of the screen, under the blue banner, they have the dorky three rows of boxes that set my OCD TOTALLY on edge, but the middle row starts with Any Price and right next to that is Free. This is also accessible if you drill down in the genres on the left-hand menu. Go to the menu, pick your genre, then go up and hit Free.

https://www.smashwords.com/

Kindle: Okay, I have a Paperwhite, Hubby has an old like a 2nd gen one, and we have the app on our phones and iPads. The EASIEST way to find Kindle freebies is via a web browser, NOT through your device. (Unless it’s different on the Fire or something, but I don’t have one of those.) I tried it on my Paperwhite, and they tried to steer me into Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscription freebies. NO. You can get other freebies there–TONS of them. But use a web browser to do it and send them to your device.

CLICK HERE to go to the main page. (Yes, that link has my Amazon Affiliate code in it. Doesn’t cost you a cent extra, but if you do buy anything, I get a few cents kick-back to help me out. Win-win.) There are two “tabs” for lack of a better word. It will say Top 100 Paid and Top 100 Free. Just drill down to the genre you want and go to town. Make SURE to verify the price, however, BEFORE you one-click. Sometimes books that just came off the freebie discount show up in freebies still. Also, they’re getting trickier sometimes and changing things up and slipping in KU freebies. So verify the price FIRST.

Alternately, you CAN try sorting by price in a given genre during your normal browsing. However, I’ve noticed that Amazon lately is tweaking things and, again, slipping in KU-only books that LOOK “free” but if you look carefully, they’re only free if you have KU or they want you to buy a KU subscription. Don’t be fooled.

Nook: Admittedly, B&N does NOT make it easy to find the freebies on their site. Again, it’s easier to do this via a web browser than your Nook device or app. This is the link for the freebie books (because why make it EASY for customers to find them??).

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/Free-eBooks/379003078/

Kobo: Bless their hearts, at least they put a link to their free e-books right on the front page: https://store.kobobooks.com/Collection/free-ebooks

GooglePlay: Ugh. I hate even adding them in here, because they are a haven for file pirates. However, they do have free books. You have to hunt around for them, and there’s no guarantee, unfortunately, that they are legal copies. So I would suggest loading an app for Kindle or Kobo or Nook or ANYTHING else into your smartphone/tablet FIRST and using that instead of the actual GooglePlay architecture. https://play.google.com/store/books

AllRomanceEbooks.com (also Omnilit.com): Of everyone, they make it the easiest. Navigate to whatever genre you want, sort by price. Boom, free books show up. http://www.allromanceebooks.com/ Not looking for romance books? Click through the tab at the top left of the screen to go to Omnilit.com and same thing. It works the same way.

CoffeeTimeRomance.com: It’s hit-and-miss, you need to search each genre and then sort by price low to high to see if there are any freebies in that particular category. http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookStore/

Publishers: Many smaller publishers who also have their own bookstores have free books listed on their sites as well, you just have to look for them. Sometimes you have to hunt around a little more than others, or do a sort by price from low to high to find them. Here are just a few I quickly found freebies on their sites.

BookStrand | Samhain Publishing | Evernight Publishing | Liquid Silver Books

So go visit the publishers’ sites and look around. Do some poking. Chances are, you’ll find freebies offered. Maybe not a lot, but hey, they’re FREE.

Also, I do periodic freebie alert postings. Sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll be notified when I post new content on my website, including freebie alerts. (Make sure to look for the confirmation e-mail to activate your subscription, and check your spam filter if it doesn’t show up.)

If you know of other LEGAL sources of freebie books, like direct links to publishers’ sites to their freebies pages, etc. feel free to add them. (I WILL delete and ruthlessly mock ANYONE who posts pirate/file sharing links. Seriously, I will. You will be publicly shamed, so fair warning.) No, I’m not counting sites like Scribd, either, because frequently they have pirated content.

But just with the Kindle freebie offerings, holy cow, there’s no way the average reader, with new free deals being added every day, can keep up with all the free offerings there are. (And don’t give me the excuse you don’t have a Kindle. You are READING THIS POST. You are ON THE INTERNET. You can download the FREE Kindle app to your computer, tablet, or smart phone. Seriously.) Add in all the other sources out there, and I do NOT want to hear any excuses. And now, even some public library systems have free e-book loan programs.

Feel free to share the link to this post (I even have social media buttons at the bottom to help you out there) to send others here to educate them on how to get LEGAL, FREE e-books that do NOT hurt authors.

Thanks, and Happy Reading!

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8 thoughts on “How to get LEGALLY free e-books. (Meaning you’re NOT screwing authors.)

  1. I am glad to see that you mentioned the fact that many libraries now have on-line resources to lend e-books. In most cases it is easy to set up and only requires a valid library card. My library system works with Overdrive and drops the book right into my Kindle app. When I am done reading, I have the option to return the book, purchase the book or just let it set there until the lending period is over than it is deleted from my device.

    Admittedly, I don’t use it all that often because I read a lot of books by self-published authors or authors with small publishing houses which are underrepresented in the public library system due to issues with visibility, distribution and budget restraints but it is amazing what you can find if you take the time to look. I also share your OCD issues in the sense that if there is even the slightest possibility that I might miss out on a new work by my favorite authors then I prefer to buy their books so I have instant access for reference or just to reread.

    There is no justification for contributing to piracy. If you wouldn’t dream of shoplifting in your favorite grocery store then don’t steal the lifelihood of the creative talents you enjoy. What? You expect that they should work for free? Would you? Could you? Everyone has the same basic needs for food, shelter, etc. Artists pay for their needs through the sale of their endeavors. Your enjoyment of their creation deserves the respect of acquiring it through legal means.

    • @Julaine – I know Hubby has used the library lending feature before locally and had some initial trouble with it. I wish they could make it easier. I also know libraries frequently won’t pick up “erotic” titles (if the distribution panel at Smashwords is to be believed) but at least Smashwords is helping make inroads there. I have to say, while I wasn’t fond of the site in the beginning, it’s growing on me. I don’t use it for Amazon, Nook, or Kobo, because I do all those directly (and get paid every month versus every quarter after the 60-day period). Although, my bread and butter is still my publisher, because I don’t self-publish enough to support myself. LOL I use self-pubbing for my non-fiction, and for fiction I know isn’t my publisher’s niche market.So that works well for me, and it’s not a big deal if my books don’t make it into libraries.

  2. I am probably atypical of the average reader in the sense that I buy between 50-60 books a month. I look for bargains yes, but I have such an extensive auto buy list that I just have a line item in my monthly budget that is fluid to say the least. Life is too short to compromise on my hardcore addiction.

    I have “pirated” exactly one book in my decade long digital acquistion. One of my favorite authors had a book published many years ago by a publisher that went bankrupt and took 100’s of authors with them on their downward spiral. (Damn you, Trisklion) I desperately wanted the “one” book that was unavailable and discovered it on a pirate site. After some soul searching I contacted the author and offered to send her a check directly or a donation to her favorite charity for that book that was unattainable through a legitimate source. Luckily, she was able to share the news that the book I wanted would be available within the next 6 months by a new publisher. I bought that book the minute it was available for preorder and donated a sizable donation to my local library system but I still felt covered with ick until I had a legal copy of that book on my ereader.

    It should be emphasized that pirate sites are not set up out of some philanthropic motive on the part of their creators. If you are not a paying customer then YOU are the product they intend on monetizing. The famous caveat about “Free lunches” should be self-evident.

  3. I don’t think that free ebooks are the way to go because many sites have torrents that also carry computer viruses or have illegal copies, etc… I can recommend an awesome alternative in which you pay what you want for the book you download. The website is called Openbooks.com and the reader can pay what they think the book is worth. I know you might think that people would really take advantage of this and spend as little as possible but you would be surprised. Open Books also gives authors 70% of the sales (publishers usually only give about 10%). It’s a great way to support authors and find new books. I hope you will check it out! I can’t recommend it enough

    • @Bianca – Thanks for the heads-up about that site. But the free sites I’m listing are NOT torrents, they’re LEGAL freebies, meaning the authors/publishers have actually signed up for them. Many freebies are used as promotional tools, especially if the first book in a series, to kick off sales of the rest of the series, etc. And not sure where you get the 10% number from. Authors who self publish with Amazon, for example, get 35-70% royalty rates, depending on how the book is priced/where it’s selling. And authors with indie houses frequently get 40-50% royalty rates from their publishers.

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