Reading Free Books on the Kindle

Even though we some­times give Ama­zon’s Kin­dle a hard time, the device is undoubt­ed­ly handy for read­ing e‑books. The Kin­dle lets you seam­less­ly down­load books straight from Ama­zon in a mat­ter of sec­onds. And, even bet­ter, you can load the Kin­dle with thou­sands of free e‑books from sources such as Project Guten­berg. (Few peo­ple know this.) This guide will show you how to down­load a free book from Project Guten­berg, and then read it on your Kin­dle. You can also find many free ebooks for the Kin­dle in our Free eBook col­lec­tion.

Step 1:

Go to and search for a book you would like to read.

Step 2:

Once you’ve found a book that you want to down­load, down­load it in MOBI for­mat if pos­si­ble. If no MOBI for­mat exists, then using plain text works as well.
Step 3:
After your down­load is com­plete, plug in your Kin­dle to your com­put­er’s USB port. The Kin­dle will show up as a USB Dri­ve.
Step 4:
Go to the Doc­u­ments direc­to­ry on your Kin­dle.
Step 5:

Copy the e‑book file to the Doc­u­ments fold­er. You can option­al­ly rename the file to some­thing more mean­ing­ful if you’d like.
Step 6:

The sil­ver cur­sor on your Kin­dle will begin to spin. When it stops, the Kin­dle is fin­ished sync­ing. Now you can eject and unplug your Kin­dle and enjoy your free ebook!
Fred Hsu designed the handy Open Cul­ture app. Give it a spin. It’s free and it’s good for you.

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Comments (6)
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  • Linda says:

    There is a free third-par­ty soft­ware called Stan­za that will con­vert PDF, DOC and oth­er for­mats to Kindle’s AZW for­mat (as well as many oth­ers). Here is the URL: Once con­vert­ed, the files can be port­ed across to the Kin­dle via its USB-com­put­er link­age. Some­times with con­vert­ed PDF files, the page for­mat­ting is a lit­tle skewed (like the PDF page num­bers appear with­in the Kin­dle file as do foot­notes) but over­all the out­put is accept­able.

  • Chris Bloch says:

    Anoth­er real­ly handy web­site for the kin­dle is
    This web­site will actu­al­ly down­load an index to your kin­dle which you can then browse from the kin­dle and down­load titles direct­ly for free. It has some over­lap with project guten­berg, but also books that are released under a cre­ative com­mons license. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed.

  • Shazia Ali says:

    I don’t have a kin­dle, but was excit­ed to see that project guten­berg has an option of down­load­ing books in a mobile ebook java app. Now I can read on my sam­sung phone when I’m on the go :).

  • claudio says:

    There is also a web­site that pro­vides free sci­en­tif­ic books main­ly in PDF:

  • claude says:

    If you have reg­is­tered your kin­dle with ama­zon, you can send books to to send an ebook wire­less­ly to your kin­dle. you can also con­vert books (even pdf, don’t ask me how) to kin­dle for­mat (fea­tur­ing text resiz­ing and even text to speech) by send­ing them as an attach­ment, with the sub­ject line as ‘con­vert’ to

    this is a valu­able resource i use all the time.

  • michelle says:

    real­ly love to read allot

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.