Saving Money: Free e-books

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By Ed

 While the frugal-hearted-est among you will no doubt be curmudgeonly, muttering, "e-books!  e-readers!  You know what is better than that?  The damn library, that's what.  Book's have been free there since forever".

If you do, however, have an e-reader, you will attest to the fact that they are very convenient, and ideal for summer travel.  Try packing 15 books into your suitcase along with all your clothes and see what I mean.  I just added a dozen books to my reader for backyard reading and it is still the same dimensions and weight as before.

My wallet, however, would be much lighter were it not for some free e-book sources.  E-books are the big rip-off of the digital transition; something that should have gotten cheaper (like CDs) actually got more expensive (paperbacks sometimes run a few bucks cheaper than e-book equivalents!?).  I have a whole rant on this, but will save it.

What you want is the links to free reading...

Having Fun isn't hard, if you've got a Library Card
So, if you have an e-reader that uses .epub format (basically all of them but the Kindle), you likely have access to your local library and it's ebook resources.  So library lovers, you still win.  However, digital rights mean e-book borrowing still means waiting in electronic lines for one of the digital copies on the virtual shelves.  A bit ridiculous, but true.  Still, free is good.

Freebies and Teasers
Whatever store you got your reader at (e.g. Amazon.com for Kindle owners, Chapters-Indigo or Barnes and Noble for Kobo or Nook users) will often feature offers and promotions where you can score free books.  Go to the e-book section of the web-bookstore of your choice and sort by price (low to high).  The free books are there for the picking - 30,000 plus and many worth exactly the price of admission.  Still, if you are patient, you will find many gems.

Some deal sharing sites post updates when books of note are on special at Amazon for free.  Our Canadian favourite is SimplyFrugal.ca or the US equivalent, MoneySavingMom.com.  Just recently Robin got, Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider and Simple Dollar by Trent Hamm for the low price of $0.00.  (Prices change frequently, so if you're interested in either of these good books, you may need to cough up some cash.)

Gutenberg Project
My personal favourite is the good people at the Gutenberg project (gutenberg.org, gutenberg.ca).  They have ePub and Mobi versions(.org only) of thousands of public domain publications in several languages, all created by volunteers for your enjoyment.  You will find tonnes of classics here, but nothing new.  But hey, generally speaking there is a reason they are classics - they are pretty good.  Enjoy.

No matter what you choose, I still can't say enough about Caliber e-book software.  I discussed it a while back (in my post on "5 free downloads to goof around with", read it here) Caliber continues to improve.  If you are willing to do a bit of geek-reading you can teach it to send books wirelessly to your wireless e-reader (including iPad).

Very cool.  Very Free.

Who has an e-reader?  How are you using it? 

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