Free Books — For a Price

Kindle Fire

KIndle Fire

Wherein there is a catch…

I know that uttering the name “Amazon” kicks up a dust cloud of controversy in many quarters. But you can’t talk about books without mentioning one of the biggest book retailers out there. I’d, therefore, be remiss is I didn’t mention a couple of opportunities for finding “free” books on Amazon. IF you’re an Amazon Prime member. (I may have mentioned a catch…)

One option is the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. Prime members can borrow one ebook  per calendar month. Amazon touts a selection of 800,000 books available as part of the library. Just don’t expect to find the latest buzzed about bestsellers. Because you won’t. But you might find something worth your while nonetheless. For instance, I’ve seen a lot of happy talk online about The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. This book is not available through the lending library but many of Mr. Liu’s other works are. But know this: the Lending Library is additionally restricted to Kindle device owners (as opposed to Kindle app users.) Sucks, I know but, well, there you have it.

A second option is the Kindle First program. Kindle First allows readers to choose one free pre-release ebook from a selection of four different books each month. (Through April, readers were able to choose two of the four books but that has changed as of May.) All of the books are from Amazon Publishing imprints so don’t go looking for books that you, you know, have heard of. But, hey, you might discover a new novel or author you enjoy.

Since I was already a Kindle owning Prime member prior to starting the Dollar Read$ Challenge, I will be including Kindle First and Lending Library books as Challenge reads.

Prime memberships are currently going for $99. You can read about what all goes along with that at Amazon’s website. The important thing, for our purposes, is that if you are a Prime member you can read 12 free ebooks a year. Double that if you also own a Kindle device. That’s 24 “free” books a year.

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