So, I wrestled with what to blog about this time. I started an experiment and was hoping to blog about it (with pictures), but I kind of got a little side tracked. Not to worry the experiment is still on going and I will be posting about it either in 2 weeks or a month.
I bounced around a couple different ideas, even wrote half a blog that I really didn’t care for and then I remembered a conversation I had with Bernie (my stepdad) last weekend.
Bernie is an avid reader. He and I both enjoy horror novels. We speak about new authors we’ve tried and swap books back and forth. He mentioned it had been a while since he’d tried any new authors and was wondering if I’d found anyone new. I made a few recommendations and then lightning struck!
We sat down together with my laptop and I showed Bernie how to find FREE ebooks on the internet. Legally.
Then I figured, just maybe, this information would be appreciated by you.
Before I begin letting out a few ‘secrets’ and tips I’m going to give you a word of warning… sometimes you get what you pay for. Being an author with a really great book – that has been professionally edited – I can say there are some gems out there, but you will have to do a bit of digging.
When you’re checking out free ebooks try not to judge to harshly by the covers. Remember these are books that the author is not receiving compensation for and they may not have the money to buy professionally designed covers early on. Having said that – do judge free ebooks by the blurbs (what would be on a book jacket to entice you) and the first chapter. If you’re noticing poor grammar and spelling in either of those chances are the book will be riddled with it. I’m not talking about a typo or two. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t care about spelling and grammar then power to you.
Every place you can buy ebooks has free ones. That’s right. The platforms don’t necessarily promote or even make it easy to find the free books, but they’re there and I’m going to help you find them.
Anything in blue below here is a clickable link.
Amazon is fairly simple to find the freebies. Just type “free ebooks” in the Amazon search engine. When I did it tonight (Friday, August 21, 2015) 92,938 books loaded up. On the left side of the screen different categories come up like fiction, romance, children’s, non-fiction and so on. You can mess around with different searches “free kindle books” will bring up a slightly different list. Amazon also runs a program where authors can promote their books with different free days – which means certain books that are usually charged for are being offered free for a day or up to five days to get more exposure for the author. I’ll talk about how you can get in on these free days shortly.
Smashwords seems to be the most straightforward for finding free ebooks. Along the left side of the screen you choose your genre, once that loads you go along near the top of the screen and choose your price range and free is an option. You can even take it a little further and once you’re in the free category you want and you can pick “Most Downloads” or “Highest Rated” or “Best Sellers”. Smashwords allows for readers to post reviews if that sort of thing is important to you.
Kobo is a bit of a pain finding free ebooks. Sure, you can type in “free ebooks” and they will give you a list of a few from different categories. But like I said, you’re only getting a few. If you go near the top left there’s a pull down menu with different genres, click your genre (say for example: “Fiction – YA”), then once it loads the top right side has another pull down menu that allows you to sort by different “Sub-Categories” (for example “Paranormal”). In roughly the same place as where the “Sub-Categories” was on the last page you should now have the option to sort by “Price Low to High” and presto!
Barnes and Noble is pretty straightforward too. Type in “free ebooks” into the search bar, once they load (tonight they show 1,274,137) on the left you’ll get a choice to “Refine by” “Subjects”. I picked “Teens” and I was given 760 choices. The only garbage thing I noticed about the Nook ebooks is that some of the more popular authors are listed as having a free ebook and it turns out to be just a few sample chapters. It’s a bit of a dirty trick.
iTunes/ iBooks – is the biggest pain of all to find free books on. I had to log into my itunes account and then I changed “Music” to “Books” in the itunes store. If you scroll down about halfway through the page on the right side there is a little menu “Top Charts” directly beneath that you can choose “Top Paid Books” or “Top Free Books”. A list of 20 books (with no genres, covers or blurbs) pops up. I guess it’s good if you read anything and are just looking for something different. I typed “free ebooks” into the search bar and the results weren’t good. Once the page loaded under the heading “Books” I clicked “See all” and only about 125 books loaded. Really cool though – many of them were classics like Pride and Prejudice (no zombies) and Grimm’s Fair Tales. I searched the net to see if I could find a way to unlock a better listing of the free books on itunes and couldn’t find a way. Seems like you just have to type in books you already know are free on other sites and hope they show up on itunes? If you’re reading this and know a better and legal way please post instructions in the comments section.
Most of these platforms have Apps you can download to read on your computer / phone / tablet or other devices and it doesn’t take much work to find out how. You don’t need to have a specific type of ereader for any of them.
Back when I was writing about Amazon I mentioned there was a way to keep a pulse on when authors are offering their books (that they normally charge for) for free for a day or so. There are several different email lists you can sign up for that promote free ebook days. I’m hesitant to give you the links to these sites only because I personally don’t have dealings with many of them. However, since I brought it up… what I will do is give you the link for eNovel Authors at Work. The eNovel site is pretty cool to begin with (and I’ve recently become a member!), so please feel free to poke around on there. To find the links to the best websites, where you can sign up for emails on free books, just scroll down and keep an eye on the right side. When you see the “FIND OUR AUTHORS AT:” (in red) you should see a bunch of pictures/ icons that if you click you should get on to good sites (that weed out not-so-good-books).
There is one good site ereaderiq that I will mention. If you go to the site in the middle of the home page there are 5 green boxes. Click “Today’s Most Popular Freebies” and then once that page loads there will be another menu “Select a Genre” on the left side. The books load with their cover, blurb and average stars from how many reviews.
In saying all that… happy hunting for your next new favourite author. Just remember, if you fall in love with a free ebook the author poured their blood, sweat and tears into it just as much as any other book. Show them some love and write a review, tell people about the book, write the author a note or post on social media.
With Love and Gratitude until next time,