Free and cheap stuff for your Kindle today 12/25/2011
If you just got a Kindle today, be happy.
You might be worried that you are going to have to spend a lot of money to keep your new Kindle “fed”.
Actually, whether you ever spend money on a book, song, app, or video again is entirely your choice.
I’m not talking about anything illegal here…and I’m not talking about anything complicated.
I’m going to keep all of this very simple. I’m going to let you do everything right from the Amazon store (although there are other great sources out there as well.
There is one exception to that (videos), but I’ll talk about that more later.
The first obvious question: what’s the catch?
There really isn’t one.
Sure, Amazon has a goal here. They want you to use Amazon for purchasing. If they give you free stuff, you are more likely to choose Amazon when you do want to pay for something.
Yes, it’s possible you might only get freebies, and yes, that does cost Amazon a bit for maintenance and such.
That’s not very likely, though. I get lots of free books, but we also pay for some.
I’m going to start out with books, because all of the Kindle can use those. Then, I’ll talk about some things specific to the multimedia Kindle Fire.
Before I get to specifics, though, I want to give you a little bit of the strategy.
I said “today” in the headline. Does that mean there are things that are free today that won’t be free tomorrow?
Some things are pretty much always free…public domain classic books, for example. Those are books that don’t have copyright protection, most often because the term has expired. For example, books which were first published in the USA before 1923 are in the public domain in the USA. Many books published in other countries are, too.
Since no author royalty has to be paid in that case, the books can be given away.
In other cases, the item is promotional…the publisher may be looking to get reviews or positive online comments…what I call “word of mouse”. They may only do that for one day. Amazon does it, too.
In the case of Amazon, they may always have the same page where something shows, but it changes each day, I’ll point that out.
One last important point: the ones I’m going to mention are free in the USA, but may not be free in other countries. If something doesn’t say it is free, don’t assume it is because I listed it. The price can go up at any time before you buy it.
Here we go…
Here is a search for all the free books in the Kindle store:
Right now, there are 48,119 of those. About 90% of those are public domain titles…but that still means there are about 4,000 that are promotional titles.
Amazon does let you click on categories there, but I do want to strongly recommend what I consider to be the most valuable resource for Kindle owners on the web.
They show you all the Kindle store freebies, let you choose whether or not you see erotica (the default is that you don’t), let you filter by category, show you whether a book has text-to-speech (the Kindle’s read aloud function), let you know if it is lendable, and more.
They keep improving this resource (the erotica filtering is new). You can also sign up here to get a regular e-mail with the new freebies. That’s well worth it…it costs you nothing, and you get a lot out of it.
You can also sign up to get a free e-mail when books you specify drop in price, when books you list have been newly published in Kindle format, and their search is much better than Amazon’s, in my opinion.
None of this costs you anything.
How does that work?
Presumably, Amazon pays them an advertising fee when you buy things after having clicked on the links they send you. That does not change your price…Amazon is just rewarding them for sending the business their way through the Amazon Associate program.
Those books will generally work on any model Kindle (or Kindle reader app). Some Kindle store books are better on some apps or Kindles than others. For example, I’ve gotten free books from eReaderIQ with audio/video content. Those don’t play on a Kindle (although they may on the Kindle Fire), but can be read on Kindles. You can view the audio/video on an iDevice (iPads, iPhones, iPod touches).
Here are some specific recommendations from me for free books from the Kindle store:
Promotional (may only be free for a short time)
Note: I haven’t read these, and therefore am not recommending the. I’m listing them because you might be interested, and to give you an idea of the promotional freebies:
The Wedding Gift
by Kathleen McKenna
Warriors #1: Into the Wild
by Erin Hunter
Flee – A Thriller (Chandler Series #1)
by Jack Kilborn, Ann Voss Peterson, J.A. Konrath
The Rules of Management, Expanded Edition: A Definitive Code for Managerial Success (Richard Templar’s Rules)
The Kindle Owners Lending Library
If you are a paid Amazon Prime subscriber, you can borrow up to a book a month from the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). You can get some bestselling and current books that way.
It’s really important to understand how this works, though…I’ve seen many people making mistakes because they didn’t understand it.
- Get to the book on a Kindle device
- Click on a button that says Borrow for Free
I’ve seen people thinking that they were borrowing the book, when they were clicking a button that says “buy” and has a price listed.
The button you click will say “Borrow for Free”.
You can only borrow up to a book a month, and no more than one at a time.
If you have more than one Kindle registered to the account, more than one of you can read the same book at the same time.
These books aren’t exactly free: they are at “no additional cost”. If you are already paying the $79 a year for Prime (where the main benefit for most people is free shipping on many Amazon products), it does not cost you more to borrow these books.
This has been great for me!
so far (this program is new).
Those are both books I would have considered buying.
To find these, get to the Kindle store on your Kindle. You should be able to find a category for the Kindle Owners Lending Library…you may have to click All Categories or something similar to find it.
Remember, you have to click a Borrow button, or you’ll be charged for it.
If the Borrow button is disabled for you, you may already have a book out currently.
The Kindle Daily Deal
These books are not free, but they are cheap.
Every day, Amazon offers a book at a bargain price. I can legitimately say they are on sale, and I have seen some good ones offered. I’d check the below link daily, just to be sure. I leave it open as a tab in Google Chrome, myself.
Today’s Kindle Daily Deal?
Anyone of five holiday romances, each one only ninety-nine cents.
Call Me Mrs. Miracle
by Debbie Macomber
That’s usually $12.99…a twelve dollar savings.
All Kindle except the $79/$109 Kindle can play MP3s.
Amazon always has free MP3s available, and also runs specials.
They have lots of $5 albums…and lots of free albums and songs.
Like everything else in this post, if your tastes are more eclectic, that’s better. I’ve gotten some free albums I’ve really liked…but some of you would consider them pretty strange.
Apps and games
We have to be very careful to separate this into two categories.
The first one is the RSKs (Reflective Screen Kindles…anything except a Kindle Fire). The technology differences between those and the Kindle Fire are really big…you won’t be able to play a game intended for an RSK on the Fire.
In fact, you won’t even be able to play the same version of the game on all the RSKs. The Kindle Touch line, for example, doesn’t take instructions from you the same way as the Kindle Keyboard line. You have to tell them what you want to do in different ways, and that means different game versions.
On every game’s Amazon product page, fortunately, it will tell you for which devices it is compatible.
Here’s another thing: RSK games are in the Kindle bookstore, and Fire games are in the Amazon Appstore.
Now, here are some things for the Kindle Fire:
What’s really happening here is that you are going to the Amazon Appstore. They do a Free App of the Day (FAOTD) every day, and it will be right on the mainstream.
I have that question mark here, because I suppose it is possible that the free app may only apply to other Android devices, and not to the Kindle Fire, but I don’t think I’ve seen that.
I’ve been amazed at some of the great apps I’ve gotten as the FAOTD. Yes, they might otherwise only cost ninety-nine cents, but still, I wouldn’t have gotten them otherwise.
Today (12/25/2011), the free app is
I haven’t tried that version yet, but I got it.
In addition to that, there are these
You need to check that they will work on your Fire…it will say that on the app’s Amazon product page.
You can read some of my reviews of some apps (including some free ones) here:
This only applies to the Kindle Fire…it’s the only Kindle that can play video.
This is the one where Amazon really doesn’t give us a lot of freebie…unless you are a Prime member…and then again, it’s really “no additional cost” rather than free. When you get a Kindle Fire, though, they have been giving you a free month of Prime…so first your first month, this is free.
You also can’t download these videos…you are only going to watch them online on your Kindle Fire.
Still, there are many things here I highly recommend. I could see someone paying $79 a year to get these…and dropping premium cable. $79/12 is about $6.58. However, you aren’t going to get movies that were recently in theatres that way, or really current TV shows. If you are like me, though, and like older movies and older TV, you are good. There are some current shows…BBC America, in particular, has some current shows.
There you go! Free books, music, games & apps, and video…directly from Amazon. You can get freebies from other places, too, but I wanted to make this easy.
You don’t have to spend money for your entertainment…but you can if you want.
If you have specific recommendations for people, or anything else you want to say, feel free to comment on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.