Using the Kindle to save on books

Not only is the Kindle now available at two low price points, $189 and $139, it’s also become a great way to save on books.

The focus of the Press has been on things like the Agency Model and yet the real story is how we’re moving to an era of far more affordable books. This post will go through how you could get a lot of very good books at very low prices.

1st – You don’t need a Kindle to access the Kindle Store

If the $139 Kindle WiFi is outside your budget you can probably get a Kindle Reading App for whatever device you have. Devices covered include PCs, Macs, Android Phones, Blackberries, iPhone, and iPads.

2nd – There are no wireless contracts with Kindle 3G

It’s a one-time $189 fee for the Kindle 3 which has 3G and WiFi and then you get free 3G browsing of the Kindle Store and free downloads. For Kindle owners who live in the US this extends to any country you might be travelling in which has Kindle WhisperNet.

You also get free Internet browsing.

3rd – It’s easy to find WiFi hotspots

 Whether you have the Kindle 3 or the Kindle WiFi you can use WiFi hotspots.

Lots of stores like Starbucks offer free WiFi. Simply log-on to their WiFi network and then you can connect to the Kindle Store and browse it. You can also surf the Internet over the WiFi network. Note that you should NEVER access your bank account and other financial accounts over public WiFi networks. In fact, that isn’t a good idea even over private WiFi networks as they can be hacked.

4th – There are 20,000 plus free public domain books in the Kindle Store

The Kindle Store has over 20,000 public domain books.

  1. Go to the Kindle Store and search for ‘public’.
  2. Then sort the results by Price: Low to High.
  3. Then dig into any category of the Kindle Store to find public domain books.
  4. To find all public domain books written by a particular author search ‘public authorname’. Example: For H. G. Wells you could search ‘public wells’. You’ll have to sort the results by Price: Low to High to get the public domain books first.
  5. Similarly for a genre search use ‘public genre’. Example: For Crime books you could search ‘public crime’. Remember to sort by low price.

All these books are free to read on any Kindle and on any Kindle App.

This blog has a list of the 250 most popular Kindle public domain books to get you started. Just search for ‘top 100 kindle public domain’.

5th – The Kindle Store offers new free books regularly

In 2008 the Kindle Store used to rarely see free book offers. That changed in 2009 and in 2010 the number of offers exploded.

November, 2010 saw 81 free book offers. These are offers on new books with the books mostly being in the following categories – Religious, Romance, Mystery, Business, Science Fiction. Depending on what genres you favor you’re likely to find 3 to 15 great books every month.

You can find an updated list of offers at the ’50 New Free Kindle Books’ link in the right hand column under ‘Free Kindle Books’.

It’s also a good idea to go to the official Kindle forum and look for posts about offers. Happy Reader Joyce posts updates religiously.

6th – Free Public Domain Books from Internet Archive (1.8 million), Gutenberg (25,000 plus), and Many Reads (25,000 plus)

In addition to the Kindle Store you can get lots of free public domain books from the following sites -

  1. Internet Archive. This has 1.8 million public domain texts – all available in Kindle format.
  2. Gutenberg.org . This has 25 thousand plus public domain books – all available in Kindle format.
  3. Many Reads. This also has a lot of public domain books available in Kindle format.

These three sites are the best. You could get the ePub version from Google Books and convert it to Kindle format using Calibre software. However, it’s not worth the hassle.

7th – Lots and lots of book deals

There are great deals from authors promoting their books, great deals on back list books, and lots of other offers.

Every few days this blog has a post on Kindle Book Deals. These posts are included in the ‘Free Books’ category – there’s a link in the right hand side column under Explore.

The best way to find Kindle Book Deals is -

  1. Go to the official kindle forum and search for ‘discounted books’ and ‘books under $2′ and ‘$1 books’. This will bring up a LOT of good deals. 
  2. Check this blog’s posts.
  3. Find the Movers and Shakers section of the Kindle Store and check it for book deals. You can find it by going to the Kindle Store Bestsellers List, then choosing ‘Any Category’ on the left, then ‘Movers and Shakers’ at the top, and finally choosing Kindle Store on the left. 
  4. Check Books on the Knob and the MobileRead forums.
  5. Go into a Kindle Store category and search for ‘-public -breakthrough’ and then order by Price: Low to High. The free books show up first – But after that the low-priced books show up.

The Kindle Store doesn’t have a specific Kindle Deals section. It does have tens of thousands of book deals.

8th – Lots and lots of $1 and $3 Independent Authors’ Books

There are lots and lots of good independent authors in the Kindle Store. You can check out the reviews to assure yourself.

Indie authors sell their books for $1 to $3 and you can search for them on the Internet as some of them offers their books free on their websites.

Search for ‘Top 100 kindle independent authors’ on Google and the first result is a post from this blog that features 100 independent authors that really are worth your time.

9th – Sharing with the Family

Kindles allow family sharing. This means that any number of Kindles and devices with Kindle Apps can be added to one Kindle account. After that up to 6 of them can share a book – You can have 6 members of your family read a book at the same time.

Keep in mind that all of these devices and Kindles will also be able to purchase books so it has to be close family.

10th – Soon there will be book lending

Kindle Store is going to get book lending by end 2010.

It’ll be limited – You can only lend a book once and for at most 14 days. It does, however, give you a chance to lend out your books once and borrow books.

What sort of budget are we talking about?

Let’s take November -

  1. 10 out of the 81 free books meet your bar and are interesting to you.
  2. You go through the Top 250 Public Domain Books List and pick out 5.
  3. You check the deals section of this blog and the deal posts in the official Kindle forum and find 5 $3 books you really like.
  4. You go to Gutenberg and find 5 public domain books you really like.
  5. You take a look at indie authors and $1 deals and find 7 you really like.

That would bring your tally to – 20 free books and 12 paid books for $22. It’s 32 books you’ve hand-picked out of thousands and they cost you just $22. Add on 1 or 2 new $10 books if you like – It’s still not bad for a lot of quality reading.

5 Responses

  1. I’ve used Calibre to upload hundreds of books in various formats and then converted to upload to my kindle device. Super easy …oh and free.

    http://download.cnet.com/Calibre/3000-2125_4-10910277.html?tag=mncol;1

  2. Plus, you don’t have to pay for shipping.

  3. Here’s my estimate…

    I have a K3 WiFi/3G. I have a total of 81 books on my Kindle, only 3 of which I have purchased: 1 motorcycle maintenance manual and 2 photography references. Of the 81, 11 are text books, which were free for download, but I estimate to be worth about $50 each.

    I have 66 works of fiction, non-fiction and religious books. I split them into 3 groups of 22 and assigned $5.99, $9.99 and $14.99 to each group to get a rough average.

    My total ended up being roughly $1450, about $1290 of that being free downloads. If these had been real books, I would have had to add the cost of a bookcase, which roughly equals the cost of the Kindle, which in essence is my “electronic bookshelf”. None of this counts the merchandise I’ve purchased from Amazon that I would NOT NORMALLY have purchased were it not for the Kindle and my exposure through it to Amazon’s store.

    So for me, the Kindle has had a significantly positive impact on my pocketbook. I’m sure others who read more have faired better.

    Great articles, THANKS! – Tony

    PS: I find out about all of my free books from this site!

  4. No kidding. I bought my Kindle during the last part of September and even with the cost of the device (3G & wifi), the protective case and any books that needed to be bought I’ve still saved close to $70.00 over what I would have paid if I had bought the cheapest physical copy of the books.

    I don’t think it will take long at all to have the Kindle pay for itself!

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