Monday, December 31, 2012

Being More Selective When Choosing Free Kindle Books

I was on Goodreads yesterday looking at who had a copy of my books. You know, a sort of vanity search. I was surprised when I found one person who claims to have more than 8,000 books on her Kindle. I'm not sure of the book limit for a Kindle, but I know you don't have to have all your books on the physical device.

For months now I've grabbed every free Kindle book that even came close to something I may read one day. As of today, I have 945 books. That's counting short stories, research books, fiction, and nonfiction. I read three books at a time (two fiction and one nonfiction), and it takes me about a week to finish them. Many of the ones I read are sent to me by publishers and aren't counted in the total. They are automatically deleted after a certain time.

In addition to the free books, I occasionally buy books for several reasons. One, the book is on my book club's reading list or two, it is a book I want to read.

The bottom line is that I don't need any more free Kindle books. To limit the number of books I get and to improve the possibility that I will actually read a book downloaded, I've come up with a method to find free books. Here's how it works.

Instead of subscribing to the electronic newsletters announcing free books, I periodically (weekly is probably best) look for books I like to read. My favorite fiction is Christian Thriller/Mystery/Suspense. So, I select a book in that category, M.K. Gilroy's Cuts Like a Knife, for example, and find it on Next, click on Kindle Edition, scroll down to where it says "Look for Similar Items by Category" (near the bottom of the page). Look for the tag that matches your interest. In this example, it will look like this:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Fiction > Suspense

Each item separated by > is a link. If you want to see all Christian Fiction, click on it. But, in my example, I would click on Suspense. This will take you to a page showing a long list of books in the Christian Suspense category. Look on the far right side of the page where it says "Sort by" and select "Price Low to High" from the pull-down list. When you do you'll see the list sorted with the cheapest books on top. Naturally, the free ones are shown first. If you decide to "buy" one, make sure it is still free when you get to the page to buy it. If you already own it, Amazon will warn you before you buy it.

Oh darn, I just ordered ten more books while I was there researching this article. And, here's something else to watch out for, the last one I ordered was $.99 and I didn't notice. I can ask for a refund, but for a buck it's hardly worth the effort.

Have fun.

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