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How to Get Free Kindle Books in 2022: Libraries, Project Gutenberg, BookBub & More

Kindle purchases can quickly rack up, so avid readers will want to take advantage of all the free Kindle books they can. This guide will go through all the best legal ways to get free books on your Kindle device.

Aleksander Hougen
By Aleksander Hougen (Managing Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-04-15T13:59:56+00:00

Kindles are a user-friendly and convenient way to increase how much you read. However, if you keep adding paid books to your Kindle library, that can quickly take its toll on your wallet. Keep reading as we discuss ways that you can find free Kindle books to get even more out of your Kindle device.

Key Takeaways:

  • Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading provide access to a lot of free e-books in exchange for a monthly subscription fee.
  • Project Gutenberg is the best way to find classic works that are no longer covered by copyright.
  • If your local library is part of OverDrive, you can use it to borrow e-books for a limited amount of time.
  • BookBub is the easiest way to consistently find books for free on various online storefronts, including Amazon’s Kindle store.

Note that this guide will focus on where to find free books and how to download them. From there, you’ll need to get the books onto your Kindle device, so check out our Kindle User Guide as well as our article on how to send books to your Kindle email address.

  • Yes, Amazon Prime members are automatically signed up for Prime Reading, which includes roughly 3,000 titles available for free as long as the Prime subscription stays active.

  • Yes, in most cases you have to pay for Kindle books. That said, there are several ways to snag free books, ranging from limited sales from Amazon itself to programs like Project Gutenberg.

  • That depends on how you acquired the book. If you borrowed it through Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading, you only have access so long as you maintain your subscription. If you got your e-book from a place like Project Gutenberg or on a free “sale,” then the book is yours for life.

How to Get Free Kindle E-books in the Amazon Store

Books will occasionally become available for free on the Amazon store for a limited time. Unfortunately, there’s no way to easily find every free book currently available, which makes it an unreliable way to get free books. That said, you can sign up for the various Kindle mailing lists to increase your chances of snagging a free book.

Free E-books With Prime Reading and Kindle Unlimited

The main way that you can get “free” books directly from Amazon is through either Kindle Unlimited or Prime Reading. Both of these are subscription services that give you access to a library of titles for free — kind of like Netflix, but for books. 

You do have to pay a subscription fee — either $9.99 per month for Kindle Unlimited or $14.99 to become an Amazon Prime member — so these methods aren’t free in the strictest sense.

Whether or not the books you get are worth the subscription fee will depend on your reading habits. If you’re a heavy reader or you enjoy discovering new self-published or independent authors, then Kindle Unlimited will probably give you a lot of value. 

Prime Reading, on the other hand, contains far fewer titles (around 3,000) but comes alongside everything else you get with an Amazon Prime membership.

How to Borrow Free Books From Libraries

Depending on where you live, you might be able to use OverDrive to borrow free e-books from your local library. The program covers 65,000 public and private libraries in 85 countries, so there’s a good chance you’ll find one near you, especially if you’re located in the U.S.

You’ll need a library card from your local library in order to use the service.

  1. Go to OverDrive’s Website

    Use a web browser to go to OverDrive’s website and click on “find a library” in the top-right corner.

    free book lending website
  2. Find Your Library & Log In

    Now, use the search bar or the map to find your local library. This will bring up a dialog underneath the map that shows the name of your library as well as a button that says “see digital collection.” Click that, and it will take you to a login window where you can enter your library account details.

    read online login
  3. Locate the Library Books You Want to Borrow

    Now that you’re logged in, you can browse your library’s collection of e-books and check them out at your leisure. Exactly how you can access the books will depend on your library, but many libraries support downloading e-books directly to your Kindle or at the very least let you download the file itself.

    borrow and choose file format

If you choose to download the EPUB file, you’ll need to convert it to either AZW3 or to MOBI before transferring it to your Kindle via USB cable or email.

It’s worth noting that if you put your Kindle into airplane mode after downloading the book, you can keep the file indefinitely, so long as you don’t connect to the internet.

How to Use Project Gutenberg for Free E-books 

Project Gutenberg is a free and open library of e-books containing more than 60,000 titles. It primarily features titles with expired copyrights, with a heavy focus on English works in the public domain. That means that you can download a treasure-trove of classics, from the works of Charles Dickens to Jane Austen and other popular classic titles.

  1. Go to the Project Gutenberg Website & Search for Books

    Open a web browser, navigate to Project Gutenberg’s homepage and use the search bar at the top of the window to search for a title of your choice.

    gutenberg search left side
  2. Download a Book

    Click on a book cover from the search results to get to the download page. Here, you’ll see a list of download options with different file formats. Pick the one that suits you the best, but if you’re planning to read the book on your Kindle you’ll want to pick that as the format if it’s available.

    download gutenberg book

If the file is an EPUB, you’ll need to convert it before loading the e-book onto your Kindle. You can either use an online converter for smaller works or download and use Calibre. Check out our AZW conversion guide for more information. However, for anything other than a Kindle, EPUB and PDF files are the most widely supported.

Send the Formatted E-Book to Your Kindle

Once you have the e-book file downloaded and it’s in the correct format, it’s time to send it to your Kindle. You can do this by either connecting your Kindle to your computer with a USB cable and dropping the file into the “documents” folder, or simply email it to your e-reader. Once again, our guides for these extra steps are linked at the start of the article.

How to Use BookBub for Free E-books

Another service that lets you find books for free is BookBub. That said, it differs from the other sites and platforms in this guide since it’s not really its own e-book service, but rather a way to be notified of free e-books and discounts from various stores including Amazon. 

Here’s how you can sign up for BookBub to be notified whenever an e-book becomes available as a free download.

  1. Go to BookBub’s Website & Sign Up With Your Email or Google Account

    Start out by going to the BookBub website. Either type in your email in the signup field and click “get started” or click on “continue with Google” and use your Google account to sign in.

    login using email or google drive
  2. Answer Questions About Your Reading Preferences

    In order to provide you with relevant recommendations, BookBub will ask you a series of questions about how much you read, what genres you like (romance, science fiction, fantasy, etc.) and most importantly what stores you want to see offers from. You can select any that are available in your country, but Amazon is the most important, so make sure to select that.

    stories and genre preferences
  3. Find a Free Book

    You’ll see a list of free titles that are currently available in the storefronts you selected during setup. Find one you would like to read and click on the link to the book’s page on the store, which in this case is Amazon.

    free ebook self discovery
  4. “Purchase” the Book

    Purchase the e-book as you normally would. Since the book costs $0, you won’t actually be charged. If you got the book through your Amazon account, it will be automatically delivered to your Kindle, but this might vary if you used a different website to purchase the book.

    bookstore purchase free kindle book

Unfortunately there are no advanced search features for free books on BookBub, so you have to manually browse through the list of free titles to find something you like.

Final Thoughts: Free Kindle Ebooks

That’s it for our guide on how to get free e-books on your Kindle. If you’re using a mobile device to read, there are other methods you can use, such as Apple Books on iOS, which occasionally offers books at no cost. The Google Play Store is another option for Android users that offers heavy discounts on certain titles.

What did you think of our guide to getting free Kindle books? Are there any other websites or services that legally offer books for free that we missed? Have you used any of the methods we covered? If so, what were your experiences? Let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

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