How to Read Kindle Books and Why Are Kindle Books Free?

January 19, 2016

I’ve recently done some posts where I listed Kindle books that were available for free at the time the post was written.

These posts have led to two prominent questions. One of my relatives thought it may be a scam. I’ll explain below the reasons that authors make their books free. I also want to explain the many ways you can read a Kindle book as you can do it on many devices.

Why Are The Books Free?

The only way to know for sure is to ask each author the reason they decided to make their book available for free. Since I’m unable to do that, I’m going to provide some general reasons.

First, the books are typically only free for a short period of time. So I’m sure there is the hope that having a book promoted for free will bring attention to the book and some people will purchase it if they missed out on the free period.

If an author is not well-known, making a book available for free can expose them to a large number of potential readers. Even a “free” order can move a book higher on the best-seller lists and can lead to positive reviews. Most authors who offer a book for free will have several other books available for sale. The hope is that readers will like the free book enough to purchase other books from the same author.

There is definitely no scam involved. I’ve have ordered the free books of interest to me and have read several of them. It is just a marketing strategy that works for authors.

How to Read Kindle Books

While Amazon does sell devices with Kindle in the name, you do not have to have one of those devices to read a Kindle book. I can almost guarantee you already have a device that can read Kindle books.

Let’s start with your computer! Simple go to the Read Everywhere page on the Amazon site and you’ll be directed to the software that allows you to read Kindle content. It is free! While there are occasions I read on my computer, it is not my preferred platform.

I’m sure a large percentage of you have a smartphone. Go to the store on your device where you get apps and get the Amazon Kindle app. Yes, it is also free! Even with the large screens on some of today’s smartphones, this may not be the ideal reading experience. Though keep in mind that the app does allow you to adjust the size of the text so it is just right for you.

kindle-book-tabletMany of you likely also have a tablet. You can just as easily download the Amazon Kindle app on your tablet and read books on there in addition to all of the other things you do with your tablet. The picture at right is me holding my tablet reading one of the Kindle books I’ve promoted in a previous post. I find the tablet to be the best way for me to read the vast majority of the time.

It is very nice to bring my tablet with me knowing that it holds a whole library of books for me to read. I don’t have to decide in advance what books to bring, I can instead choose based on my mood when I’m ready to start reading. Is the experience the same as reading a real book? No. In some ways it is better (I can read in the dark) and in some ways it isn’t as good (doesn’t feel like a real book).

Of course the last reading method is to purchase a Kindle device from Amazon. Some serve only as a tool for reading books while others are a special flavor of tablet from Amazon that can run many other popular apps since they are Android based.

If you don’t already have a tablet, getting one of the Kindle-flavored tablets can often be the least expensive route and it does most of the things you can do with other Android tablets.

One more option is to have the Amazon Echo read books to you. This is just one of the many things that Echo can do for you. Read my previous post Amazon Echo Responds to Your Commands for more info on this cool device.

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