It’s been over two years since I last updated this, and I think it is past time for an update to this post a little bit as a few things have changed, but I will also give you a small hint: I’m going to be pointing you to a lot of places other than Amazon for free books in upcoming posts (in other words, get excited!).
There are many places to receive free Kindle books other than the Amazon website – and a couple of you are probably scratching your heads saying, “that’s nice, but how in the world do I get these books to my Kindle?”
Well, here is your quick instruction guide; yes, you may have seen this before, but there are quite a few folks who are new to the blog, just opened up a new Kindle, or acquired a gently used or certified refurbished used Kindle from upgraders.
Transferring Books to Your Kindle
If the only way you have added content to your Kindle is via the Amazon website, and assuming you may have missed the section in the Kindle User Guide of other methods to add content to your Kindle, you may not know how to put content (think books) on your Kindle.
Transferring books to your Kindle is a fairly simple process, and you will be a professional at it once you’ve done it one time. In this section, we will briefly review five ways to put material on your Kindle; this is certainly not meant to be an all-encompassing “how-to” and for further or more-detailed instructions, please consult your Kindle User Guide. There are probably many more ways to transfer books to your Kindle, but the five methods that work best for me are:
- Purchase / download it from the Kindle store section of the Amazon website. I am going to assume you know how to download books from the Kindle store (hey, you wouldn’t be reading this eBook if you couldn’t download it from the Kindle store!);
- Use the free “Send to Kindle” plug-in;
- Transfer the material from a computer to your Kindle using a micro-USB cord;
- Email it to your Kindle with your unique @com email address;
Use the Free “Send to Kindle” Plug-In
Using the free “Send to Kindle” plug-in from Amazon has to be the easiest way to transfer eBooks, mp3 music files, other documents, and videos to your Kindle (please note at this time only a Kindle Fire can play videos). You simply install a small program on your computer, and when you have a file you want to transfer to your Kindle it is as simple as making three clicks of your mouse in order to deliver the appropriate file to your Kindle.
Please note you need to have the file already on your computer in order to use the Send to Kindle feature.
Due to the numerous types of web browsers, computer operating systems, etc., I am not able to list out each set of instructions for each type of web browser, etc. (that would be a book unto itself!). However, you can click here or type in http://smarturl.it/sendtokindle into your web browser to go to the appropriate page on the Amazon website to install this free plug-in; this is pretty easy and straight-forward, and should take you all of 30 seconds to install it.
Transfer Using a USB Cord
Kindle Fire Instructions
To transfer content with the USB cord, here are the simple steps in order:
- Turn on and boot up your computer if it is not already turned on.
- Turn on your Kindle Fire.
- The first generation Kindle Fire did not ship with a micro-USB cord: you will need one to follow the remaining instructions in this section. If you do not have a micro-USB cord and want to purchase one from the Amazon website (hey, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper on Amazon than Best Buy), just click here or type in http://smarturl.it/smallusb into your web browser which will open up the appropriate page on the Amazon website. I like this specific one because it is almost ten feet long, which gives me room to move the Kindle around without feeling squeezed due to a short cable. It’s also less than six bucks.
- Plug the large end of the USB cord into an open USB slot on your computer; if you are not certain where the USB slot is on your computer, please consult the instruction manual for your computer.
- Plug the small end (that’s the micro part) of the USB cord into the open micro-USB slot of your Kindle Fire.
- Slide the Arrow from left to right to unlock your Kindle Fire.
- Open the Kindle Fire drive on your computer. If you are using a MAC, you will use a program called OS Finder; if you are using a Windows-based computer, you will click on “My Computer” or “Windows Explorer.” The following instructions assume you are using a Windows-based computer, but for those of you with a MAC the process is similar. The Kindle Fire drive will appear as a separate external storage device or volume on your computer’s desktop.
- Copy and paste, or drag and drop, the books on to the appropriate folder on your Kindle Fire. You can use the same process described above to transfer material, for example, to your Music or Pictures folders on the Kindle Fire.
- When you are finished transferring files to your Kindle Fire, you will need to (a) press the Disconnect button at the bottom of the Kindle Fire screen and remove it from your computer, and (b) remove the micro-USB cable.
All Other Kindle Instructions
To me, this method is pretty easy – plus, it doesn’t cost a cent to manage your content with the USB cord provided with your Kindle – but it is not as easy as using the Send to Kindle Feature. If you are familiar with moving things around with a digital camera, an iPod / MP3 player, or a thumb memory drive you will find you are already familiar with transferring content with the USB cord. If you are reading this and don’t know what the USB cord is, it is a separate cord for the Kindle 1 and it is the cord you use to recharge the Kindle’s internal battery for all other Kindle editions (see #3 below).
To transfer content with the USB cord, here are the simple steps in order:
- Turn on and boot up your computer if it is not already on.
- Turn on your Kindle.
- Plug the large end of the USB cord that came with your Kindle into an open USB slot on your computer; if you are looking at the USB cord and just see something that plugs into an electrical socket (all versions of the Kindle except for the Kindle 1), the portion that looks like the end to be plugged into an electrical socket can be pulled apart to reveal the USB portion. If you are not certain where the USB slot is on your computer, please consult the instruction manual for your computer.
- Plug the small end of the USB cord that came with your Kindle into the open micro-USB slot on your Kindle.
If you followed the steps above in order, take a look at your Kindle’s screen – it should be indicating the Kindle is in USB mode. On my Kindle, the screen tells me I am unable to read or connect to the Internet, and the specific message is:
“If you want to use your Kindle and continue charging, please eject your Kindle from the computer.”
That’s exactly what we want it to say – you are going to be making additions, etc. to your Kindle from your computer screen and not from the Kindle.
Now, turn your attention to your computer. If you are using a Mac, you will use a program called OS Finder; if you are using a Windows-based computer, you will click on “My Computer” or “Windows Explorer.” The following instructions assume you are using a Windows-based computer, but for those of you with a Mac the process is very similar.
Clicking on “My Computer,” you will see your hard drives and other locations as well as your Kindle; if your computer automatically opened up the Kindle folder after recognizing it after plugging in the Kindle to your computer via the USB cord, that’s okay and you can work from there, too.
Books and other written manuscripts are contained in the “Documents” folder of your Kindle. This is the location you will drag and drop, copy / cut and paste (or whatever process you are comfortable with) the documents you have downloaded from the specific areas we will review in this book. After you have transferred or moved the content to your Kindle, you can disconnect your Kindle from your computer and start reading away at your leisure. The books you have transferred to your Kindle should show up as “new” on your Kindle’s home page.
One important safety note to protect your Kindle: I would not recommend just pulling the USB cord out of your computer or your Kindle without having your computer “safely eject hardware” before disconnecting. If you are not certain how to do this, please consult the instruction manual for your computer.
If you followed those steps – congratulations! You are well on your way to reading the books and other content you have downloaded. Go check out the home page of your Kindle (click the “Home” button) and you should see “New” listed next to each item you just transferred.
Email to Your Unique Kindle.com Email Address
You may already know, or maybe you don’t, each registered Kindle owner has their own unique firstname.lastname@example.org email address, where you and others you grant permission to beforehand can email material directly to your Kindle. This could come in handy for sending Word documents, etc., from work for the “gotta read it” on the plane or hotel room, but you can also use it as a method to transfer books to your Kindle. One word of caution, however: unless you are using the WiFi application vs. the 3G cellular, Amazon will charge the Kindle account holder for each document emailed; I am not putting the price in here as it has changed a few times over the years (and who wants to be wrong?). While these charges may not seem like much they can add up over time.
If you do not know your unique @kindle.com email address, it is easy to find out: log into your Amazon.com account and click on the “Manage Your Content and Devices” link located just underneath the “Your Account” section at the top. Underneath the “Your Devices” section, you will see a list of each Kindle registered to your account as well as the unique @kindle.com email address to send material to each particular Kindle. If you do not like the email address assigned to you, experiment with it and find one you do like – the Amazon server will let you know if that unique @kindle.com email address is available to use.
I mentioned earlier others you grant permission to in advance can send material to your Kindle: if you scroll down on the same page that lists out your @kindle.com email addresses, you will also see the pre-authorized email addresses allowed. I would exercise caution with who you put on this list, or the next thing you know your spouse or significant other will use this method as a tool to send you reminders of chores to do, errands to run, or other emails!
I hope that helps!
Looking for more – or a more reliable – source of free books for your Kindle? You can check out my book, Free Kindle Books and How to Find Them, which has been downloaded over 1 million times if you click here or type in http://smarturl.it/fkb into your web browser!
Download the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog app for your Kindle Fire or Android-based smartphone or tablet – for free, of course – by clicking here or type in http://smarturl.it/fkbtfreeapp into your computer’s web browser from the Amazon App Store or click here or type in http://bit.ly/fkbtgoogle into your computer’s web browser for the Google App Store.