Welcome to the Fiction Site of A.B.R.
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Free Books for Christmas Readers
Christmas will soon be upon us, and if you have an order in for an ebook reader, tablet, or one of those wide screen cell phones you might be doing lots of reading this winter. Ebooks from the big publishers are not cheap, and even the cost of buying cheaper books from independent writers can add up if you read three or four books per week. Fortunately, there are many options for obtaining free ebooks. Those won't necessarily be the books you most want to read, but you can find plenty of worthwhile reads without maxing out your post-Christmas credit card depression.
Let's start with the classics. If you haven't already done so check out a site called Gutenberg.org Gutenberg started digitizing classics and other books who's copyright had expired decades before Google got into the act. Gutenberg has kept up with changing formats and offers copies in epub or Kindle formats. ManyBooks.net offers many of the same books in even more formats. Gutenberg's editions may or may not have been edited and updated to modern spellings and grammar. Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Sony, and Apple, among others, list free editions of many of the classics, and sometimes more than one edition. Those editions may be copies of the original publication or edited and modernized, so read the descriptions before downloading.
Many writers involved in the burgeoning independent writer movement offer one or more of their novels or short stories for free. Smashwords.com has a large selection and search functions to help you find free ebooks in every genre. Many writers also post their stories on other sites such as Feedbooks.com and Bibliotastic.com All three of those site offer ebooks in the epub, Kindle (Mobi), and PDF formats, so almost everyone can read them. You can often download those and many other free indie ebooks from Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Apple ibooks, Sony, Amazon and a growing list of other ebookstores. Your choice is not restricted to fiction, many free nonfiction titles are available from many of these sites.
More public libraries are offering ebooks to augment their collections of print titles. This is by no means universal yet, and most libraries offering this service do not have extensive collections, in part because of restrictions imposed by the big print publishers. But that is another issue. The main point is that you can borrow some ebooks from many public libraries. And if you really want to read a particular book and can't afford to buy it, borrowing a print copy from the public library remains an option. I still like to read print books and often have a print and ebook on the go.
Not all ebooks are free. In fact, most aren't. But sometimes you can find free copies of paid books. Authors sometimes give away free copies to promote a new title and to get customer reviews. There are numerous ways to source these opportunities. Authors often promote giveways on their websites, blogs, and social media sites. Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads are popular with authors. Other sources include review blogs, contests, book clubs and reader sites.
Goodreads.com and Librarything.com are popular reader sites with millions of members, and both are very useful for sourcing free ebooks and some print books. Librarything runs a permanent service called Member Giveaway, for authors to promote their books through giveaways. These are mostly ebooks, but print books are occasionally offered in specified countries. Ebooks are generally available to anyone regardless of where they live. One of the many groups in Goodreads is called, appropriately, Giveaways, and it is another good source for finding numerous free ebooks. To use these sources you have become a member of the site and the group, but memberships are free and both sites offer many other fun and useful services for readers, and authors.
Neither LibraryThing's Member Giveaway or the Goodreads group Giveaways require recipients of free ebooks to post reviews, but both sites, and most authors, encourage it. If you like writing reviews you should also take a look at services these reader sites provide that require a review in exchange for a free copy. LibraryThing has an Early Reviewer program whereby members can enter a draw (same as the Member Giveaway program) to win ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) from publishers, before the books are available in bookstores. Goodreads has a Giveaways program for print books, but again, only in specified countries. Reviews don't have to be long, sophisticated analyses. Many people just post a sentence or two stating why they liked or didn't like a book.
If you're active in Goodreads there are many other ways of finding out about free ebooks from author events, the blogs of fellow readers or authors you befriend and in the comments of groups you might join. If you read a lot and like social media Goodreads is far more interesting and useful than Facebook, Twitter and Google+, in my opinion.
I left Amazon for last because it is a complicated special case. Amazon's KDP Select program has practically turned Amazon into the largest ebook library in the world. Amazon has its own ebook format for Kindle readers. I've heard about apps to read them on epub readers (the format all other devices use), but don't know anything about those apps. If you really want to read an indie novel from Amazon another option is to download Amazon's free desktop reader.
Amazon's KDP Select program allows authors to designate up to five days per month as free days - days when anybody with an Amazon account can download the book for free. Authors use numerous methods for promoting their free days and their are countless sources of information you can tap into. I'll mention just three of the more popular and useful. One is Amazon's best seller list. It has two columns, one for paid books and one for free books, and both are updated hourly. Yes, hourly. If you want to expand beyond the top 100 there are several web sites that send newsletters to your email account once or twice a day. Some of these sites also list discounted paid books. The two most popular of these sites are Pixel of Ink and ereadernewstoday
As long as it is this is just a brief summary of how you can find free ebooks for any ebook reader or device on the market. You can't find a free copy of every ebook book you might want to read, but you can certainly spend countless hours reading free ebooks, and if you can't afford to buy books you really don't need to. But if you can afford them, buy a book once in awhile to encourage the writers to keep writing. And consider posting a review of books you really enjoyed, the authors like and it helps promote their books.
Happy reading in the New Year.
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Descriptions of my free ebooks and links to all sites for downloading them can be found on the ebooks page.
Searching for A.B.R. or ABR does not work for some ebookstore sites (e.g. Barnes and Noble and Kobo), but does work on others (e.g. Smashwords and ebookstore.sony.com). On Diesel-ebooks it somehow got transposed to B.R.A. (laugh, but don't get Freudian, I'm male). Diesel corrected it for me, though. Thanks, guys. If author searches don't work, please search by title or use the links on the ebooks page.