Monday, April 12, 2010

Free Kindle books (non-classics). See them easily anytime. UPDATE2

UPDATED April 12, 2010 - Original posting April 4, at 10:42 PM
  I added a 2nd method of seeing latest free non-classics (latest free contemporary) but also needed to add that some international Kindle users in Europe, Canada and some other countries are in high wireless-cost areas, so Amazon charges about $2.30 for the otherwise free book, sorry to say.  Amazon hopes to be able to change this someday with low-cost local arrangements.

If you want to always be able to see the latest currently free non-classics Kindle books without waiting for someone to tell you which are free today, do bookmark these two pages:
  (1) the Latest Free Nonclassics page (shortcut and
  (2) the Late-Listed Free Nonclassics page (shortcut, to see the 55 to 65 non-classics or non-public domain books that are free at any particular time (very often only briefly)

 This set, in two views, is the main source for free-book information used for blogs though many will prefer newest ones pointed out daily.  However, you can catch them even earlier this way if you use the link before the new books are reported.  The free non-classics usually last a few days, some less, and some stay on for quite some time.

  While I omit the hundreds of 'excerpts' for the ongoing Amazon contest, be aware that a very few of the new free non-classics displayed on these pages are promoting a "Chapter" or two.  They are clearly marked but can still be missed.

  Although the first group is sorted by 'publication date,' Amazon's publishers will sometimes offer for free -- suddenly and temporarily -- books that were published even a year to 3 years ago.  So latest free ones can be in the middle.
  Often they're so new that they're listed as least-selling of course, so I've added a link for that method also.  Use these links whenever you want to, and you'll see quickly which ones are new though.

  While at the page, you can choose at top right to see them sorted by Bestselling and Average Customer Rating as well.  I've used only one image for this article, as you will quickly see which currently free e-books might be of interest depending on genre and product descriptions there.

The new free books are dominated by the Christian Fiction genre, and some will find those inspiring while others are looking for more general-interest books or for other genres.

The book whose image you see for this blog article is Bite Me, by Parker Blue who is offering the book free as a promo for his more recent book.  Bite Me has 9 customer reviews averaging 4-1/2 stars.  The paperback is listed at $12.78 and the Audible audio version at $13.10.

The book is described as "An edgy book for teens that spans the gap between YA and adult fiction..." and, as with so many bestseller books today, it has a vampire-hunter theme.

[From original posting, unchanged]
There were temporarily-free Kindle books released as free the last couple of days which are currently missing from the Kindlestore lists -- there may have been a glitch that caused the listing of a bunch of HarperCollins free-books that are currently missing.  There are also longer-term free books that are temporarily missing due to the rather huge programming changes needed to convert the store price calculations to Agency for the Big5 publishers and all their many imprints, not easily identifiable usually as under the big tent of the larger publishers.

 So, missing books are likely due to programming changes being made (or errors) in the rush to program store-wide price calculation changes needed by the time of Applestore's opening Saturday to make sure prices are as high as Apple and Big 5 publishers insist they be from now on.

  The big switchover to Apple's Agency plan requires that iBookstore publishers get all other online bookstores to change to the higher-pricing Agency plan for their e-books as a condition for their inclusion in Apple's store.
  In previous blog entries I've noted there will be taxes on these also, as that is based on states where the publisher of the book has a presence.

 The larger publishers have been very pleased to find a new bookstore willing to (and even recommending that publishers) raise prices 30-50% while demanding that other online e-bookstores do as well.

 But that meant that other bookstores like Amazon's and Fictionwise are having to switch to the Agency plan with its higher customer-pricing.
 "Competition" has brought on non-competitive prices that are, coincidentally considerably higher.

 Therefore it's not super likely that HarperCollins, who just made an Agency agreement with Amazon, would be likely to have lots of free books for more than a day or two.  If they do bring those back, as a promo, it'll be a nice surprise, but they disappeared after one day -- and if they're not brought back, then it was entirely a network programming error.   We'll see.

See the ongoing Guide to finding Free or Low-Cost Kindle books and Sources
 There is also a page of links that confine searches to mid-range priced e-books for those looking for a larger selection of non-classics below $7. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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  1. The Agency model sucks. I still don't understand many Apple fanboys that are praising Apple for this increase in ebook prices and saying that the increase in price is going to kill the Kindle.

    I love Apple products, but I am able to understand a bad-for-consumers move, and this Agency model is one. Increasing ebook prices is bad for every consumer, wheather they buy books on iPad, Kindle, Sony or Nook. And in the long run it can be a bad moove for publishers too as people may end up buying less books.

  2. Anonymous, it's not easily understandable. My take is that some people like only what they feel are 'cool' things and that anything just black/white/gray is 'boring,' uncool and strange.

    Add that there will be some disdain for people who just like to read and there is glee at the thought those people's enjoyment of such a weird thing may be short-lived. Whatever the reasons, it's not an attractive attitude.
    Steve Jobs did say, at one point, that No one reads anymore and so (a couple of years ago) he felt no need to put out an e-reader.

    I think the focus of the higher-pricing was to make sure Amazon's strength (low pricing) was hurt since Apple wouldn't want to compete with lower pricing.

  3. All of the books (except the "Publishing ..." one) appear as $2.30.

  4. vowe,
    Gads, thanks for the reminder. I have to amend it with the usual statement that books that are free for U.S. residents have the $2.30 added due to the high cost of wireless in other countries that don't have low-cost local arrangements with Amazon (something they hope to change eventually).

  5. Could I be downloading those books via Kindle for the Mac, and then transfer via USB, avoiding the charges?

  6. vowe,
    I don't swear by this, but I think I read that int'l users' wireless access is costly and so they decided to do an add'l charge on all books in order to compensate for the cost of providing wireless in other countries when people want to use it.

    So it wouldn't matter for int'l users whether or not you are using wireless to get it as the budget to handle costs compensates for the cost by the $2+ add'l cost, in a flat-rate way.

    But you can download free books direct (at no cost) using the Project Gutenberg catalog (30,000 books). See -- and you can also download direct from and (see my for the specific links etc.)

    Hope that helps.

  7. Free is nice and, of course, if it just an excerpt and is so marked, fine if you just want to read an excerpt. However, I guess you also have to check the review so that you won't be outraged to find at the end of the book that you have to buy another book to find out the ending. See

    20 of 22 people found the following review helpful:
    A Note From My Mother, January 22, 2010
    By Steve Taylor
    Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
    This review is from: Farraday Road (Lije Evans Mysteries) (Paperback)
    Typically I read a book before purchasing a copy for my Mom but in the case with "Farraday Road" I did not. It had good reviews and she likes suspense so I thought this would be a good choice. She finished it last night and this is what she emailed me. Please keep in mind that my Mom is the sweetest thing and would never say anything to maliciously hurt my feelings:


    It is one thing to read a whole book and find out an ending that explains itself, as you know. But how about reading a whole book and in the end see these three words: TO BE CONTINUED ! !

    I see that sometimes on a TV show that you didn't know was going to happen and go crazy but to do this at the end of a book ! ! ! ? ? ? ! ! !

    I have mixed feelings on ordering the next book, SWOPE'S RIDGE. It feels like I am being forced to buy the next one in order to discover who the culprit is in the first book.

    On the back cover it says: "...will he learn the truth before the killers strike again?" The answer is not only a resounding NO but you don't even know WHY ! ! !

    Well, guess we can't have it all. Interesting book, however, until the END."


    Nowhere does it say this is book one of a trilogy or anything. Did Ace Collins come up with this brilliant idea or was it Zondervan? Have some integrity guys. By deceiving people this way you force them to buy the next book or, as in my Mom's case, she'll never find out what happens in the end."

    I say sometimes the old adages "you get what you pay for" and "look before you leap" are apt.

  8. My2¢worth,

    I totally agree. I also wrote to a comment-reply asking what the problem was.

    I replied,
    "Any book that is part of a series should have that made clear in the title, as about 99% of authors do here. They make it a secondary part of the title 'The first book in a series...'

    Otherwise people are led to believe it's a self-contained book and just feel tricked. This isn't a good method for the author."

  9. Andrys, thanks for the clarification. I checked Project Gutenberg and found they offer .mobi files which render nicely on the Kindle. Time to brush up on the classics.

    I also did find some completely free books in the Kindle Store, so I am still somewhat at odds with the $2.30 charge. Not because we could not afford them but because I have not yet fully understood the difference. But I am going to rest that case here. :-)

  10. vowe,
    Right, and the Magic Catalog will get them for you FROM the Kindle, w/o cost.

    That is really interesting that you found some completely free books in the Kindle store. Were they classics? Or even newer ones that are temporarily free?

    I had never heard of this before.

    As for the flat $2.30 -- when a company needs to know how to charge for something (in this case, pre-paid cellular wireless), in a place where it's more expensive than in the main place, then they estimate how much the wireless they're paying for (rather than charging the customers for) will cost them.

    When Amazon decided to let people globally have direct free access to Wikipedia from their Kindle books, they made it additionally impossible to estimate accurately.

    So they 'budget' set amounts that might compensate for (might not) what they have to lay out for undeterminable use of the wireless charges they prepay.

    You can get an idea of how difficult this is by the fact that Amazon is the *only* e-reader that allows web-browsing at all, even to Wikipedia, for free, anywhere.

    It's also the only company that is selling its e-books over wireless internationally despite the disparate costs and the unknown factors of how many will use it and for how long for the various features allowed that are not allowed by other e-readers or devices w/o payment by the customer based on month.

    Also, with any company, costs to operate overseas will always bring added costs just for the framework that makes it possible, at least for the first few years.

    And now we have all these different publisher rules for digital rights for media even though physical books are easily bought across borders.

  11. Yes, they were classics. Actually the top classic novel in the store was free when we tried out the new Kindle.

    Since last week I found so many sources for books in different formats, and also installed Calibre, that there is no need to download classics through wireless.

    The Kindle is a wonderful book reader, and a lousy browser. We are not missing a thing that it does not give us "full" internet access. What we do like however is the dictionary lookup. Such a great feature if english is not your native language.

  12. vowe,
    Did you try my for advice re settings? You can use Wikipedia and should use it under 'Basic' mode rather than 'Advanced' as it is faster that way. You can also 'disable images' if you don't need them, to get fast access.

    I must add that you write as if English is your native language. As one born in the U.S., I use the dictionary a LOT as I used to guess, using context. Now I often find I was wrong :-)

  13. Update: your links currently point to books that are free over Whispernet, even for international delivery.

  14. vowe,
    Thanks for the reminder. While it's been changing over time, it's been slow and not all books were affected -- and only this week are people reporting more and more are no longer $2 or whatever - whether that covers the entire globe I don't know yet but will try to find out.

    Tomorrow I'll put in that this change has been occurring, at the least.

    Thanks again


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