Here are 20,000+ more books for your Kindle, free and legal

I promise, these Kindle-related posts will stop.

However, I wanted to point to this Staci Kramer post on . Unlike me, Staci gets to chat with people like Jeff Bezos. In her recent conversation with him, she asked if the display of color was planned for the Kindle. His answer: “We would love to have color but electronic ink doesn’t do color.”

Amazon is, no doubt, now the largest customer of the company that manufactures electronic ink (E Ink) and therefore Jeff Bezos is the expert on this topic — even if he’s wrong. E Ink has issued press releases before stating electronic ink DOES do color. Again, Jeff Bezos is likely now the E Ink’s largest customer, so his perception of what E Ink products do or do not do is more important than any reality that may have been announced in an E Ink company press release.

But that’s not why I am making this follow-up post to my way too-long Kindle post last night .

I’m making this post because I think many people don’t know that there are 20,000 free eBooks in a Kindle-friendly format. If you don’t mind spending the 10¢ e-mail fee Amazon charges, you can even e-mail these books to your Kindle without hooking it up to a computer.

Here’s how to get 20,000+ free eBooks for your Kindle (or your computer or iPhone):

1. Go to Project Gutenberg , one of the most amazing treasures of the web.

2. Search through its catalog of 25,000+ public domain titles.

3. Download a PDF version of any book you want to read.

4. Synch or email it to your Kindle.

An even better alternative suggestion: While the Kindle will display PDFs and text documents, I’ve found the best format for books from Project Gutenberg are those saved in the mobi format. There are several incredibly community-spirited people who have converted thousands of Project Gutenberg files into the mobi format already — and now they are just calling it the "Kindle" format so people like me won’t be confused by the term "mobi" and the several other initials the same format goes by. There are several sources for these ready-for-Kindle free books, but I’ve become a quick fan of one called ManyBooks.Net .

Sidenote: Like when Apple figured out that the iTunes store would be more compelling (and they would sell more iPods) if they incorporated free podcasting content into the ITunes Store, Amazon should incorporate free books from Project Gutenberg results into the Amazon Store. Of course, they won’t do this because Amazon (unlike Apple) has the DNA of a retailer and not a device marketer. Apple discovered that easy access to free content sells hardware. I have my doubts about whether or not Amazon can make that leap.

Bonus links: Merlin Mann has some more sources of free eBooks for your Kindle including my soon to be new favorite source, He also points to this blog post that explains how to get free eBooks for your Kindle. The coolest thing Merlin points to is this mobi file one can download to their Kindle that has a means for Kindle users to click-through to other books. This is a innovative work-around to avoid the Amazon Store when downloading books.

  • Here is a side/side note:

    I have been using my Palm Tx for over two years as my e-reader of choice. It is terrific, always in my pocket and ready to read and roll at a moments notice. I have read dozens and dozens of books this way, and I have used the mobi-pocket e-reader software which is available for free. There are tons of free books available on the net for free. I have found if you search long enough someone has posted the book you are looking for in one format or another.

    Now the rest is up to your own conscience and your pocketbook. Even buying the e-books out right is cheaper and let’s not forget the sustainability issues that our industry is/and will be facing. I have a huge rant boiling inside me that is ready to burst out any day now.

  • Bo, if you are going to start ranting about books being bad for the environment, please, spare me. Unless you have a wind-mill out back powering that computer you’re reading this with, I doubt you’ll be able to convince me you’re sustaining the environment with your plastic-cased device filled with exotic metals and minerals that will be leeching out from landfills a million years after all those organic books have neatly decomposed. However, if you’d like to discuss your sustainability theories with a Noble Prize winner on the topic, here’s one who will be happy to use a picture rather than a 1000-word rant to explain to you the inconvenient truth that paper may be dead, but it’s not going to be for global warming reasons:,29307,1622338_1363003,00.html

  • Follow up to that previous comment: Yes, it contained sarcasm. And on a personal note, I like a clutter-free, paperless office:

  • Ok Rex . . . it was a schizophrenic moment and you have every right to straighten me out. Thanks .. I need that….
    I was talking books and slipped into a magazine distribution sustainability mode. Mea Culpa.

    I do have a vent on the magazine side and not the book side. For the record I have 2,000 books in my library in my home. I wouldn’t do anything but bequeath them to a progeny and not a land fill. For the record I do love printed books, but I am over the hump and love reading my e-books anywhere at any time.

  • Charlcs Wilkes

    I got my Kindle last Dec. 4th, love it more and more every day, and now have over 600 books in my directory storedon my 8 GB memory card, with enough room left for more than 10,000 more. But I have thousands of paper books — over half hard bound — that I no longer want, and will never try to read again. I do want my heavily colored illustrated books, since my Kindle cannot replace those — how I wish it could, but it can’t.

    My problem then is how do I reduce my regular books which are truly a burden in my home. Obviously I would like to sell as many as possible of these for at least something, or all that I can. I guess there is always EBAY and other auction sites, but they are a lot of work to set up to sell, and then deliver via the mails. And this is not as easy as it once was, since I’m now 82 years old. What I really hate to consider is that under current practices, these will some day end up in a land fill or recycle bins. They contain the knowledge of this world, and many many young people really need access to this, and what with the closing of school libraries and financial problems in supporting public libraries, this is getting harder and harder for them to obtain.

    So if any of you have any better ideas of how to give these books a more extended life amont those who would really read and appreciate these, please give me your ideas. I am sure many are in the same position.

  • Carol Sacks

    If he doesn’t require payment for the books, Mr. Wilkes should definitely offer them to his local library, the school library, the hospital, etc. None of them are likely to take 20,000 books, but they might take some. I wonder if the New Orleans library could use some more books at this point? It’s also possible that new and used book store owners might know of useful outlets for good books.

    Good luck, Mr. Wilkes, and, please don’t let the books go to a landfill.