Focus on Free #2: FeedBooks

Focus on Free #2: FeedBooks

This is the second in a series of posts that highlight a place to get free e-books.  You can find articles in that series here.

I know about a lot of places to get free books…hey, I wrote a book on it, right? :)

Well, I go to different ones for different purposes, but my first choice is usually FeedBooks.  (If you are reading this on a Kindle and want to take a look at it, use this mobile version.)

Why do I use FeedBooks?

I like the selection of books.  The books tend to be well-formatted for my Kindle.  Another key thing for me is that the performance of the website tends to be pretty good.  It’s reasonably easy to navigate (although the search could be more intuitive, in my opinion).  It also has good support for the Kindle.

Content

FeedBooks has both public domain books (those that have fallen out of copyright, generally) and original works by authors who choose to distribute their books for free.

There are more than 1200 books in just the novel category, just in the public domain.  There appeared to be close to one thousand original books.

Categories for Public Domain include:

Adventure, Biography, Collections, Crime/Mystery, Essay, Fantasy, Ghost Stories, Gothic, History, Horror, Humor/Satire, Nonfiction, Novels, Philosophy, Plays, Poetry, Politics, Psychology, Religion, Romance, Science, Science Fiction, Sexualtiy, Short Fiction, Thriller, Travel, War, Western, Young Readers.

When you click on a category, you can sort by Most Popular, New Releases, Most Favorites (more on that below), A-Z, or Z-A.  You can also limit by range for the sorts.  You can limit by language as well, English, French, German, and Spanish…although not all categories have all of those four languages, and other languages are represented.

You’ll find a lot of great books here!

Formatting

The books tend to be well-formatted: I haven’t noticed a lot of proof-reading errors, and they do tend to have active tables of contents.

On the site, you usually see a color cover.  That’s useful if you read them on Kindle for PC (more on that later).

Search

There is a simple searchbox at the top of the screen, but it does tend to work well. 

Kindle friendliness

They’ve really set up a nice feature for Kindle users.  As you know, slogging the web on the Kindle can be tough.  Trying to search through several webpages can take some time.

What they’ve done is create a 

Kindle Download Guide 

They give you  instructions on this, but basically what you do is download a catalogue, then put it on your Kindle.  You can then search that catalogue on the Kindle itself, find a book you want, click on it and download.   I’ve found that works fine.  You can also search at the mobile site.

I also love how it works with the free Kindle for PC app.  It’s a very easy way to get that free book into your Kindle for PC.  It doesn’t help you  get it on your Kindle that way, but for those of you reading on PCs, it’s fine.

Other EBRs and mobile devices

This is not just a Kindle site.  You can download for the Sony Readers, iRex, iPhones…even Android!

You can download books in Mobi (best for the Kindle), EPUB, and PDFs.   You can even customize the PDFs!  That’s big…you can choose your font size, for example.

You can read the PDFs on your computer (assuming you have the free Adobe reader), however, I have found that it only works for me if I save it to the computer first and then open it from there.  When I try to open them directly from the site, it hasnn’t worked for me.

Personalization/social features

You can register for free.  That keeps track for you of your downloads, but also lets you make comments, mark books as favorites, and create lists that other people can read.  You can comment on the lists as well.

For example, here is a list for Great Books of the Western World:

http://www.feedbooks.com/list/296

and here is one for Utopia/Dystopia

http://www.feedbooks.com/list/3

Other features

They make an Application Programming Interface (API) available, which means that it can be made to work with a variety of software and websites.  Among the well-known ones are Stanza and GoodReads.

They have a blog and are on Facebook and Twitter. 

If you want to self-publish (and distribute for free), this is a good site for it.  You can upload once, and they automatically make the book available in MOBI, EPUB, and PDF.  I’ve never published here, but they do have some interesting features and it looks pretty easy.  They’ve even got some kind of magic footnote button. 

Background

The website was founded in June of 2007, and is a French site (although you won’t notice that as you use it).   The operators of the website created their own software to create e-books “on the fly”.

It was founded by Hadrien Gardeur and Loïc Roussell.

Summary

As I mentioned, this is the first site I use when looking for free books.  It’s easy to use and the books look good…that’s what you want.  The download guide makes it especially easy to use…easier than shopping in the Kindle store.

If a book is on Amazon and on FeedBooks, it tends to be better formatted on FeedBooks.  One negative is that your notes are not backed up for you by Amazon when you get a book from somewhere other than the Kindle store (like FeedBooks).  If I know I’m going to want to pull quotations from a book, that’s an argument for me using Amazon…however, that’s not always worth putting up with Amazon’s formatting on the public domain books.  One other funny thing; the text-to-speech works much better for me with FeedBooks editions than with Amazon’s own editions.  The Amazon ones tend to end up with Tom reading punctuation aloud, which doesn’t happen as often with FeedBooks.

Important note: the books from FeedBooks may not be in the public domain in your jurisdiction.   If you are in the US, and the book was first published before 1923, you should be okay.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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9 Responses to “Focus on Free #2: FeedBooks”

  1. Flukioh Says:

    I was on the fence for months before I finally decided to order my Kindle 2. I had been reading such mixed reviews about the device and about Amazon’s customer service that I simply could not decide about the purchase. This review is for all of those people, like me, that cannot decide if they need a Kindle 2 for themselves. Well, struggle with the decision no more and ORDER IT! I am so happy with my Kindle 2 and I look forward to reading it every single day. All of the problems that I was worried about are not problems at all. Downloading books is easy, the screen is NOT too dark, the font size is adjustable and the Kindle customer service support is terrific. I had a problem with my Kindle 2 and I was instantly connected with the most helpful representative. I did not have to wait on hold and the problem was solved in no time. I have made the highest recommendations of the Kindle 2 to my friends and family and will continue to do so in the future. I can say with absolute confidence, if you order your own Kindle 2 you will not be disappointed!!!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Flukioh!

      I’m glad you are enjoying your Kindle. Reviews have actually been largely positive, and Amazon Customer Service is highly rated. They have a great “Call Me” feature (in the US) where they usually call you back…in seconds!

      Welcome to the Klub!

  2. Delisa Arnst Says:

    Thanks for sharing I liked it
    see you soon on your blog again : )

  3. Henrik R. Hannsen Says:

    Good evening! How are you today? It’s just that i dig your website so much, and that i believe you can start getting a bunch of money using it. I have a couple of successful blogs that I started making some cash from recently. They use a thing called a content revealer widget, that makes visitors fill out a survey inorder to unblock special content or to download programs or tools that they need. And every time they do a quick quiz i earn about a dollar. Pretty cool eh? Been making alot more from it than google adsense.. Feel free to contact me, or you can check it out through my refferal link. [link removed] Kind Regards, Henrik R. Hannsen

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Henrik!

      First, I removed your link, so this wouldn’t be perceived by my readers as an unsolicited advertisement.

      I’m not really here to make a bunch of money…I have fun writing it, and like helping people. I don’t mind making money, of course :) , but I don’t use Google adsense because I don’t want my readers to see ads. I have a full-time job…this is something additional. I could make more money if I did ads, I’m sure, but that’s not the experience I want people to have. I do make some money, and that’s nice…I’d say about 90% of it comes from subscriptions…the rest is when people choose to buy items to which I’ve linked, or if they buy things after they get to Amazon through a link of mine. As I mentioned, I don’t make much money from that, although some bloggers do.

  4. larry Says:

    why is it that when i access feedbooks as a member of the novel network i just get message the link is broken. for 2 days now

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, larrry!

      I just checked FeedBooks (http://www.feedbooks.com ) and it worked fine for me.

      I’ve heard of the Novel Network, but I don’t really understand the purpose of it at this point. You can go directly to FeedBooks and download as many free e-books as you want. They also have a great free download guide for the Kindle…I find that works really well.

      Don’t you have to pay a fee to be in the “Novel Network”? What does it give you that just downloading on your own doesn’t, do you know?

      A quick search of the web showed me people warning people about the “Novel Network”…

  5. mac Says:

    mac…

    […]Focus on Free #2: FeedBooks « I Love My Kindle[…]…

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