Give Me Your Recs For the Best Free eBooks!
December 25, 2011 3:40 PM   Subscribe

Recommend some free e-books for Kindle?

Merry Christmas, MeFites (or happy holidays--whatever you prefer!)!

I received a Kindle for Christmas and I'm super stoked about it. I usually just go to the library and judge books by their cover, so I'm stumped on how to proceed with filling up my Kindle. I know there's a vast selection of free e-books, and I'd like to get as many of those as possible before I delve into the world of (gasp!) paying for my reading material.

I'm not much for classics like Dracula or A Tale of Two Cities, but I do love J.D. Salinger. I've enjoyed lots of Stephen King (though far from all), Tess Gerritsen and Karin Slaughter. I like some chick lit, a lot of YA (both from my time; like The Giver and When No One Was Looking, and from nowadays like The Hunger Games), and accessible sci-fi (Hitchhiker's Guide, most Vonnegut, and pretty much anything dystopian). I don't dig Fantasy (anything with a map of made-up places is probably not for me) and am not a huge fan of non-fiction. Memoirs are fun, but the history of the iPod is out. Douglas Coupland, Garth Stein, and Barbara Kingsolver are faves.

Basically I want things that are compelling, but an easy bath-time or bedtime read. I love to read but I also like to rush through books in one or two sittings. I am sorry for the lack of authors--I don't ever write down the books I get from the libary which probably would have helped! But hey--if you recommend something and I end up not liking it, there's no money lost. I love living in the future!

Thanks y'all!
posted by masquesoporfavor to Shopping (24 answers total) 57 users marked this as a favorite
All the authors you list are ones for whom copyright has not yet expired; therefore, I don't know that you can get their work for free.

Project Gutenberg has books for which copyright has expired; these are free. But most of them are the classics you reject in your question.
posted by dfriedman at 4:12 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

I also have a brand-new Kindle, and I've had some luck cruising the website for my local library system. They have ebooks available for download, so that is indeed free.

I've also had some luck cruising around Amazon, checking for my favorite authors. There seem to be a lot of 99c/$1.99 specials going on, for whole books, novellas, short stories, etc. That's about my personal threshold, monetarily speaking, right about now.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:17 PM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

Check out your library's website. It's possible that they have ebook lending enabled.

Last time I tried it, I was able to borrow the girl with the dragon tattoo.
posted by royalsong at 4:18 PM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]

Take a look at authors who have self-published through Amazon. There's a LOT of crap on there, but you might find something you'd be interested in, and a lot of people make their stuff available for free or almost-free.
posted by anaximander at 4:20 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

No specific books to recommend, but a great blog -- Books on the Knob. It lists free books as well as deeply discounted ones, from Amazon and other sources.
posted by katemonster at 4:22 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: dfriedman--Sorry--they don't have to be those exact authors! I was just trying to list things I like that people have probably heard of. I'm totally open to reading books/authors I've never read before, and would in fact prefer it!

Everyone else--thanks for the heads-up(s?)!
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:23 PM on December 25, 2011

Hate to tell you, but no JD Salinger for Kindle, free or otherwise. Go figure. Was the first thing I tried to download yesterday.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:47 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

the magic catalog of project gutenberg with a kindle, you'll be wanting the mobi version.

plug your kindle into the computer and drag this file in or even just google from the browser on your kindle and away you go. 30,000 books available for free at a click.
posted by mearls at 4:59 PM on December 25, 2011 [5 favorites]

Check out the Baen Free Library if you like sci-fi or fantasy. They have the option to download the mobi file or email it straight to your kindle.
posted by Iax at 5:06 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

With the baen one, you would be able to judge the books by their cover.
posted by Iax at 5:07 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you like sci-fi but want to avoid dusty out-of-copyright stuff, I'd check out Cory Doctorow's work for optimistic technofuturism ideas, Charles Stross's Accelerando for a neat treatment of the singularity, and Peter Watts's stuff for very dark stories suffused with great ideas.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:17 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do you by chance have Amazon Prime? If so then you can also borrow books from Amazon for free directly from your Kindle. This perk is only for paid Prime members so if you have the free student version, then it wont work for you.
It allows you to borrow one book per month and if the book can be borrowed, it will say so right in the information section below the title.
posted by babby╩╝); Drop table users; -- at 5:18 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Many (most?) public libraries have outsourced their e-book lending to Their home page has a form where you can enter your zip code and find out if your library gives you access.
posted by toxic at 5:20 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not free, but definitely worth it -- keep an eye on the Kindle Deal of the Day (over on the right side from the Kindle main page). Books range from ninety-nine cents to about a buck fifty, and maybe one day every five, it's something I want to read.
posted by cider at 5:27 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

A guide on how to find free and cheap kindle books.
posted by stp123 at 6:05 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Peter Watts' books are available for free download and the .prc versions work on Kindle.
posted by biscotti at 6:13 PM on December 25, 2011

Pixel of Ink lists free and super cheap Kindle books of all types.
posted by girlbowler at 7:33 PM on December 25, 2011

Definitely check out Overdrive. I have membership in six different library systems in the LA area, and have found a TON of library ebooks using Overdrive. It was worthwhile for me to sign up for libraries that are normally too far away (like Santa Monica is 45 min away) because I don't have to go to the physical location except to sign up initially.

I have bought a handful of my Kindle books, but I have checked FAR more out from the library.

Also check out FeedBooks in general. Happy Kindle-ing!
posted by Nattie at 8:11 PM on December 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

OMG I just downloaded the Overdrive app for my iPhone. In-freaking-credible! Audiobooks downloaded directly from my library! This is very very cool. Can't thank you guys enough for this suggestion! :)
posted by darkstar at 8:55 PM on December 25, 2011

Complete works of H. P. Lovecraft for kindle. Since it is free can't hurt to read a story or two.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:50 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have not tried it myself, but there's came across something called Lendle, where you can lend and borrow Kindle e-books.
posted by pimli at 5:39 AM on December 26, 2011

Heheh, so now I'm using Overdrive, recommended in this thread, to listen to an audiobook of SM Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time, recommended in this other MeFi thread and enjoying the heck out of it!

What an awesome Christmas present, MeFi -- thanks!
posted by darkstar at 4:09 AM on December 27, 2011

I previously asked a very similar question!
posted by DarlingBri at 3:22 PM on December 27, 2011

The most fun I've had with my Kindle so far has been reading P.G. Wodehouse. Jeeves and Wooster, Blandings Castle ... a lot of his stuff is out of copyright and available for free. My library's Overdrive site has them under "always available ebooks."
posted by kostia at 5:03 PM on January 2, 2012

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