Expand your library beyond the Amazon book store
The Amazon Kindle has become the default e-reader for a lot of people. These devices are inexpensive, easy to use, and can access a massive library of Kindle books, especially if you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription. But what if the book you're looking for isn't available? Thankfully, Kindles aren't as locked into the Amazon store as you might think, and it's possible to sideload free e-books onto your Kindle.
To send e-books to your Kindle from outside of Amazon, you need to email the files to the device. Each Kindle has a unique email address which you'll need to find.
You'll need to log in to your Amazon account through your browser and go to this page. Once you're there and signed in, follow these steps:
Next, you'll need to confirm which email address you can use to send your e-books:
E-books are usually available in one of three file types: Mobi, PDF, and ePub. However, Amazon doesn't support changing fonts and some other Kindle features when using these three, but you'll still be able to read your books with the ability to change the text size.
Mobi files are straightforward. Compose an email with your Kindle as the recipient, attach the file, and send it with no text in the subject bar or body. After a few minutes, your Kindle will sync and the book will show in your library, as long as it has a Wi-Fi connection.
You have two options when it comes to PDF files. You can send it like a Mobi file, which retains all the formatting and graphics in the original PDF. The downside is that the text will likely be too small to read, and you won't be able to alter it. The best option is to convert the PDF into a Mobi, which you can make the Kindle do automatically.
Attach the PDF to the email as you would a Mobi file, but add the word Convert in the subject line. It takes a few minutes for the book to appear on your Kindle, but when it does, it will be in a Mobi format, where you can adjust line spacing and text size like a normal book. The graphics will be there too, but the PDF formatting will be lost.
Finally, there's the ePub format, one of the most commonly used formats for free e-books. The Kindle can't read these files natively, and the Kindle can't convert them to a Mobi by itself. Still, there are plenty of ways to convert them yourself. Some apps can do this on your Android phone, Windows PC, or Mac, but we prefer to use a website like Convertio.
Before you send anything to your device, make sure you give the file the name you want to see on your Kindle's homescreen. If you don't, it'll show up under whatever filename it had when you downloaded it.
After converting your files, you can attach them to an email using the previously discussed steps and send them straight to your Kindle device.
It can take a few minutes for books to sync when you send them via email. While that's fine if you're sending one or two books at a time, it's inconvenient if you have several to send over at once. You can access the Kindle's file system over a USB cable and drag and drop your files onto the device. The same file type limitations apply here, so make sure you convert your books into a format the Kindle can read.
When ready, connect your Kindle to your PC via a USB cable, and navigate to This PC > Kindle > documents > Downloads > items01. Now all you need to do is drag your files into this directory, and you're done. The new e-books will appear in your library when you disconnect your Kindle. Now you can download books onto your Kindle for reading.
Don't be alarmed if your new e-books don't show up immediately. Emailing them takes a few minutes, depending on your connection speed. Once everything has been sent over, you'll find your new e-books on the library screen alongside anything you've bought from Amazon. You can even sort them into collections for better organization.
You can send e-books to any Kindle device, from the Kindle Paperwhite to the Oasis. You can even send them to the Kindle app on your phone by finding the Kindle's email address in the same device menu that lists your Kindle.
There are plenty of ways to access free e-books for your Kindle. There's an app called Libby, which is available on Android and iPhone and developed by OverDrive. The app lets you connect your library card and read books that your local public library has on its shelves. You can read them on your phone using the app, or you can use the built-in Send to Kindle system and read it that way.
Project Gutenberg was founded in 1971 and is the oldest distributor of e-books in the world. Its mission is to encourage the creation and distribution of e-books, and it has over 60,000 of them in its library, most of which are classics that fall under the public domain. If you're looking for works like A Tale of Two Cities or War and Peace, you'll find them here free of charge. The great thing about Project Gutenberg is that you can download each book as a Kindle-optimized Mobi file, negating any need to convert it yourself.
Archive.org is similar to Project Gutenberg but focuses on historical and academic books, so this would be more useful for research than reading for entertainment.
Dozens of websites offer free e-books, and you'll find something to read no matter what genre you're interested in.
Given a choice, we'd all prefer to use free Kindle books. But discounts are good too, and with Amazon Prime Day coming up, there are bound to be exciting deals and offers on Kindles and Amazon's e-books and audiobooks. To make sure you find the best deals, make sure you check out our Prime Day Hub for the latest offers.
Zachary has loved writing about Android since he was a teenager and has worked as a freelance writer at Android Police since the beginning of 2020. He specializes in Samsung products covering hardware news, software updates, and deep dives into new features and customizations. While Samsung is Zac’s primary specialty, he has plenty of experience with Pixel devices and Android in general. He’s often among the first to install the latest Android beta or Developer Preview onto his phone. In addition to news and features, Zac often works on buyer’s guides to help readers find the best purchase for their situation. After hours, Zac can be found watching old Transformers cartoons and gaming into the wee hours of the morning, yelling that it was lag that made him die rather than his lack of skill.
Expand your library beyond the Amazon book store