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

(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.)

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.)

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


Kindle: The EASIEST way to find Kindle freebies is via a web browser, NOT through your device app. You can get other freebies there–TONS of them. But use a web browser to do it and send them to your device/app.

CLICK HERE to go to the main page. (Yes, that link has my Amazon Affiliate code in it. Doesn’t cost you a penny 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.




Apple Books:

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.)

Library Services:

There are library services where you can borrow e-books through your local library system, like Hoopla and Overdrive (and Libby). You will need to see what’s available in your area. Contact your local library system. If you’re in the US, your county/parrish website should give you the website for your local library system, and they should have information there if they offer one of those services or a similar one.

ARC services:

There are many ARC services (advanced reader copy, which is sort of a misnomer) where you can find free books. Some of them require you sign up for an author’s newsletter to get the e-book, or that you leave a review:


Prolific Works (formerly Instafreebie):


Also, there are TONS of sites out there for fan fiction, like Archive of Our Own (or AO3).

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 in the comments below. (I WILL delete and ruthlessly mock ANYONE who posts pirate/file sharing links. Seriously, I will. You will be publicly shamed, so fair warning.)

But just with the Kindle freebie offerings, holy cow, there’s no way the average reader, with new free deals being added literally every day, can keep up with all the free offerings. (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!

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

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  • May 15, 2015 at 5:30 am

    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.

    • May 15, 2015 at 8:58 am

      @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.

  • May 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    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.

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  • June 17, 2015 at 10:10 am

    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 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

    • June 17, 2015 at 10:17 am

      @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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