FREE ebooks for Kindle & Sony Reader

In STT on January 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Today a guest blogger on STT!
Shelley Sloboder, Reference Librarian at Burlington (MA) Public Library.
This post comes from a series of emails back & forth between us on where to find free ebooks.  Shelley did some great research and I asked if I could share it here as I thought it quite useful.
Information about free ebooks…

The largest list of FREE Kindle ebooks is at Irreaderreview:

Irreaderreview is a blog written by someone who identifies himself with just one name––abhi and abhi doesn’t have an “About this site or about me section.” Still, there does seem to be a lot of information here. He says he does make money from Amazon when people click through to products that Amazon advertises on his site through the Amazon Associate program. He also authors, another blog that is a “Kindle Forum, Kindle Social Network.” It seems to be a Facebook for Kindle users.

Kindle is now offering FREE software that lets you read Kindle books on your PC, Mac, and iPhone / iPod Touch.

The discussion that I came across was interesting. One article said that because Amazon only makes books that work on Kindle readers and Kindle Readers only read Kindle books (now pdfs too), Amazon is positioning itself as Apple did.  The other ereaders work with several formats.

I read this on irreaderreview: “Another free source for ebooks is the Sony bookstore. They are in ePub format, and the Sony software needed to access the store runs only on Windows, but these titles be easily converted to Kindle friendly MOBI format with a free program such as Calibre or Stanza. Sony accounts are free, you don’t need a Sony reader.”

Stanza converts ebooks for use on the iPhone.
Calibre converts for several readers including Kindle.

Boston Public Library offers free ebooks in the Adobe ePub format via OverDrive. These are NOT compatible with Kindle. These free ebooks can be checked out using a Boston Public Library eCard, which doesn’t require a visit to a BPL branch.

Adobe ePubs are read via Adobe Digital Editions – a FREE download to your PC or Mac. It also works on a supported Sony Reader.
Shelley Sloboder, Reference Librarian
Burlington Public Library
22 Sears Street, Burlington, MA 01803 /

  1. Summation of a e-reader/e-book discussion by Jennifer Inglis, Director, Whitman (MA) Public Library. The discussion appeared on the – listserv – a distribution list made up of the six Mass. Regional Library System lists, January-February 2010.
    Hi all, here’s the info I compiled from my question re: ereaders. I have in my paws the Sony reader touch, and the B&N Nook. We’re still looking through policies, etc, but I think we are going to take date-specific reservations, and are going to charge $1.00 per day at the time of the registration. This way folks can have it when they want it, for one day or two weeks, and the small fee will make the reservation a little more meaningful. My trustees are particularly excited to market the accessibility issue with our patrons. These readers will open up the Large Print collection tremendously. It seems that most libraries who lend the Kindle (those who wrote to me, anyway) have patrons sign a contract that clearly delineates how much a replacement charge would cost (don’t forget cords and content!) and
    require an adult driver’s license.

    Here’s the compilation of MA libraries circulating Kindles:
    -Belmont Library
    -Marian Court College, Swampscott
    -Boston Athenaeum
    -Diman Regional Vocational-Technical High School, Fall River

    I would research this very carefully before deciding to go with a Kindle – first of all they don’t work with library subscription ebooks such as those from netLibrary or Overdrive. Secondly I understand that they store the credit card buying information so that there is a risk(?) of a patron buying additional books for it from Amazon and it automatically being charged to the card the library uses to purchase ebooks from Amazon? I don’t own one, but that caution was brought up in a meeting I recently attended. Also, Nadine (Director, Lynn (MA) Public Library) raises an interesting point about circulating Kindles might be going against Amazon’s licensing rules as well. The Sony ebook is actively working with Overdrive in promoting library ebooks and library usage…

    Jennifer Inglis, Director
    Whitman Public Library
    100 Webster Street
    Whitman, MA 02382
    (781) 447-7613
    I found this helpful info:
    Additional listserv comments/replies:
    When I talked to the Amazon folks at book expo they basically said that they don’t have a policy for libraries and won’t make one. Apparently you can shut off the auto-buy feature.
    We’re not doing Kindles because they don’t work with Overdrive. Some libraries have pre-loaded content on the kindles they loan, which seems like a neat idea if you’re going that route.
    Kindle is an end-user product. It is intentionally designed not to be used by libraries. You must associate each kindle with a credit card and
    you can shop from your kindle without logging into your account or being attached to a computer.
    We circulate 3 Kindles here at Forbes. We spent a great deal of time forming policies and procedures for this. I have attached the contract which we have patrons sign and the procedure. We have an extensive waiting list – it used to be that anyone signing up had to wait at least 6 months because the list was so long. Now it is about 4 months. We are very strict with dictating the use of these items, but have had no serious problems (yet). We allow the patron to download one book which the library pays for. These titles accumulate on the device. Patrons love that we are doing this but not one of them has said that they would go out and buy a Kindle! Hmmmmm…. If you have any questions, just let me know.
    A patron donated a Kindle to Bedford, so we have been circulating it with about 40 titles. We treat it as a piece of equipment not a supplement to the collection. Amazon’s rules on library use are ambiguous so I see no problem circulating it. The Kindle’s wireless feature is disabled so patrons cannot order titles. We add titles on a regular basis.
    We load Kindles with books from six categories: history, biography, fiction, mystery, travel, and director’s choice. We had our subject bibliographers and acquisitions librarian choose a set number of titles to begin with, and then we’ll add to that every six months or so. We are a membership library, but we used the model of a public library:

  2. March 2010 issue of Computers in Libraries “Online Treasures” deals with E-Books. The abridged version of the links are:

    Why E-Reader Adoption will be slower then people think

    E-Book Piracy

    E-Books : Averting a Digital Horror Story

    How E-Books will change reading and writing

    No Shelf Required (Blog)

    YouTube video of panel discussion “Information Technology and the Future
    of Books, Publishing and Libraries”

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