Kindle!

What? I still have to buy books?

So, maybe you’re a subscriber to FlagShip. Maybe you’re not. But you DO have one of those shiny new e-readers on your holiday wish list. And the question comes up.

So, you’re going to spend how much money on a reader? And you still have to buy the books? 

Oh, how I remember having that conversation. Or maybe you’re about to do a little travelling to see the in-laws on the yearly holiday pilgrimage, and you’re looking for something to read during the trip, but gas / travel costs are really putting a damper on your books budget.

Well, there’s plenty of great, free e-books out there if you know where to look. Here’s a couple of the Captain’s own personal favorite spots to score free/cheap reads.

1. Your Local Library/OverDrive.

Several libraries across the country are now partnering with Amazon to provide their patrons with loaned e-books. My wife just finished reading Inheritance thanks to that program. Check out overdrive.com and search to see if your library is on the program. Overdrive can provide both e-text and audiobooks.

2. Amazon.com

Yeah, I know. They sell ’em. And they’re just for Kindle. But it can be easy to forget that there is a huge selection of free e-books in addition to the for-pay kind. From the Kindle Store, look in the sidebar on the right where the top 100 Paid Ebooks are. And right next to it? The top 100 Free Ebooks.

3. Baen.

If you’re up on your Galley Table podcast, you know how much I love Baen as a publisher. They’re my go-to place for military scifi, which I devour with abandon at any opportunity. Their free library is, admittedly, a gateway drug into their series, but if that gateway includes great books like Mutineer’s Moon, The Warrior’s Apprentice, or A Hymn Before Battle, then I am all over that action. And their e-books are usually about $5.00 – $6.00 each.

But let’s say that you are looking for more than what the Baen free library has… say you’ve read March Upcountry, and you’re looking for the rest of John Ringo’s Empire of Man series. Well, occasionaly, Baen puts out special hardcover books that include a CD with a ton of extra e-books on them. (That’s why I bought Lois McMasters Bujold’s Cryoburn – which included the entire Miles Vorkosigan saga on the included CD.) Well, those CDs specifically give the owner permission to share them. So the folks at The Fifth Imperium have put them all online. So you can get March to the Sea, March to the Stars, and We Few by going to the Fifth Imperium site and selecting the “Claws that Catch” CD image and looking at the bottom left.

4. Gutenberg.org

Because you’ve never read John Carter of Mars. Or the original Tarzan (You’ll want to read both the first one and the second book, The Return of Tarzan, back to back. They’re quick.) Or Moby Dick. Or Anna Karenina. Or Frankenstein. Or Pinocchio. Or The Count of Monte Cristo. Or any one of thousands of other books.

5. Podiobooks.com

Because you need that audio fix. And maybe you’re finally wondering “what the heck is up with all of these Nathan Lowell references? Or you’d like to know why we call Veronica Giguiere “The Voice”? Free audiobooks by some of the best in the business.

6. Phoenix Pick

Phoenix Pick gives away a free e-book a month to their newsletter subscribers. This month’s (November 2011) free book is Paul Cook’s The Engines of Dawn.

Where else?

What have I missed? Where do you go for (legal) free e-books?

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