I’m known for recommending free books, so it might surprise you that I’m recommending books for which you actually…yuck…pay.
I don’t mind paying for stuff…I do it all the time. I think people deserve to be paid for their efforts. I always feel like it’s a fair exchange.
On the other hand, I like getting free stuff…if it’s all on the up and up.
So, what’s the story with these…stories? They are public domain titles, but there is a little added value. The publisher has added an ATOC (Active Table of Contents). I think that’s important in a book that has a lot of contents (like multiple books or short stories). Otherwise, it’s hard to jump to a specific one you want to read. Oh, you can use the search feature on the Kindle (although not yet on the free Kindle for PC app). That’s not as easy as just clicking on the title, though.
I’ve selected books by MobileReference. They included an ATOC, and tend to be well formatted.
Can you get the books free other places? Sure, but take into account the effort necessary to download a hundred books individually…and to find and select the best ones.
One other thing: MobileReference was in the news. They were the company that put out the George Orwell collection that Amazon “repossessed”, and got Amazon a lot of bad publicity.
What happened there? According to MobileReference, they had published the book for the Mobipocket site (which is also owned by Amazon). They say that Amazon put it in the Kindle store without their permission.
Why would that be a problem? In the Mobipocket site, you can specify countries. The Orwell books are in the public domain in some countries, but not in the US. What MR says is that it was legal in the country for which it was intended, and not for the US.
For awhile, Amazon took all the MR books out of the Kindle store…but they’ve been put back, so presumably, everything has been settled between the two entities. I am not concerned about a book being taken back: and Amazon has said (even in a legal case) that they wouldn’t do that again in “the same circumstances”.
Interestingly, in a recent change, we now indicate countries for sale when we publish through Amazon’s Digital Text Platform (DTP). We can give worldwide rights, or choose a specific country. I’m all for options.
These books are collections of previously published works. The traditional publishing term is an “omnibus”. If you ever bought a bargain book in a brick and mortar store that was, say, five Louis L’Amour books, that was an omnibus. It was cheaper than the individual books, partially because they didn’t have to have all those covers, and partially because they tended to print them on cheaper paper.
The software term has been “bundle”, and since e-books are kind of a mix of a paperbook (p-book) and software, you’ll see both terms. You could see them called an “anthology” or a “collection”. An anthology is traditionally a themed collection of works by different authors, while a collection is a group of works by the same author. That’s not always consistent, though.
So, without further ado, here are some of the collections of works I’d recommend from MobileReference in the Kindle store. In some cases, they are literally dime novels (as in the first one), but in all of the cases, they’ll keep you busy for a long time. Beat that, ten dollar movie!
Over 100 books for $1.00 at time of writing! (UPDATED)
Yes, you get the complete Sherlock Holmes. Yes, you get a couple of Agatha Christies (only a couple are in the public domain…but I enjoyed The Secret Adversary). You get a Rex Stout, several Sax Rohmers (including Fu Manchu), and Mary Roberts Rinehart. That last one may not be as well known a name now, but the play of The Bat (which is included) was one of the longest running Broadway plays.
NOTE: Period books sometimes contain elements that may be offensive to modern sensibilities.
EDITED: A reader pointed out the one dollar collection to me, which I don’t think was there when I first wrote this post. It looks like the difference is that the more expensive one is illustrated ($7.99) and the file size is larger.
Over 200 works (although many are short stories) for $4.79 at time of writing!
David Copperfield, Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers, A Tale of Two Cities…come on, that’s not worth five bucks?
You wanna buy that latte? Or get White Fang, The Sea Wolf…and even science fiction from old Jack? Actually, you could get them both…I’m just sayin’ they could be the same price.
$2.79! You get not only the big name stuff he wrote for somewhat commercial purposes, but the sonnets! “All the world’s a stage…” and you couldn’t even get into your local high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet for $2.79! Just kidding again…support your local theatre!
Okay, Mister Smarty-pants! You’ve read Tom Sawyer…how about Tom Sawyer, Detective? And no, seeing the Bing Crosby version does not count as having read A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court! As for Martin Lawrence…
Pirates! Dr. Jekyll! and travel writing! Seriously! $4.79.
Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice (sorry, no zombies) for ninety-nine cents? Hmmm…daily newspaper, or timeless classics…
Now, it’s important to recognize that this is just a little slice. I’ll admit to having gone mostly for the “usual suspects” in this post. I read a bit more obscure stuff, and certainly more diverse material…but I did want to impress a bit with the big names. Dig through the MobileReference books yourself.
Reader Mark Alexander left a comment for me about the $49.99 Best-Selling Classic Books Library at the MobileReference site. I had considered mentioning it, but I was trying to keep it cheap. However, he’s right…that’s a great deal! It’s 3000 works, including L. Frank Baum, both Brontes, Victor Hugo, Bram Stoker…for $50, challenge yourself to read them all or give them to someone with a Kindle: poof! Instant library! You can get it here. For some reason, I don’t think it’s available at the Kindle site.
Don’t hold yourself to that publisher…I just find the formatting and such reliable from them, and that’s a good thing. Formatting is not consistent throughout the Kindle store.
Finally, of course, you don’t have to pay anything at all. You could get the free Kindle for PC app, and then get free books from the Kindle store.
NOTE: THE KINDLE STORE FREE BOOKS ARE NOT FREE ALL OVER THE WORLD…THE SEARCH I LINKED SHOWS FREE BOOKS FOR US CUSTOMERS.
20,000 free books, almost, in the Kindle store. If you read, oh, two books a week, that would last you…oh, almost two hundred years.
If you can’t get them there, there are other legal sources, although they vary by country. You can start here.
So, kid, here’s a sawbuck…get yourself a hundred books and keep out of trouble.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.