Free! Books!

Do you like to read? Do you like free stuff? Did you know that there are a zillion free books available for you to download to an e-reader? Here are four places to check:

David C. Cook. You’re probably familiar with their Sunday School curricula, as well as their Christian books. Did you know they often offer one or more new selections from their catalog for free? Simply visit their website. Today’s offering includes four books: Marriage Matters: Extraordinary change through ordinary moments, by Winston T. Smith, What’s Your Secret? Freedom Through Confession, by Aaron Stern (one of the pastors at our church!), truereligion: taking pieces of heaven to places of hell on earth, by Palmer Chinchen, and Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas, by John Blasé.

By the time you read this, these deals will likely be over, but new ones are posted every few days. (I listed them here to give you an idea of the wide variety of books available. At the moment, three of the same titles are available at Vyrso.com, below.) You can sign up for email notifications whenever new free books become available, so you don’t have to keep checking back.

You can choose which electronic version you want to download. I happen to get mine from Amazon, as I have Kindle software on my PC.

Vyrso. This division of Logos Bible Software, the guys who bring you all those Bibles and excellent Bible study references, sells Christian ebooks. To see what’s free, go to their website, sort the books by price, lowest to highest, and feast your eyes on all the options. When the first few pages offered only “inspirational romances” (not my favorite genre), I got worried, but then I found some science fiction, fantasy, and suspense. They also have some free non-fiction. As I write this, they’re giving away 69 different titles! I’m downloading as fast as I can.

Of course, their hope is that you’ll download and read a free book, then come back and buy something similar. Click on any title and they give you a list of other books by the same author and other books in the same genre. They have a terrific selection.

I should warn you that in order to read Vyrso ebooks, you have to have their ebook reader. Yup, another one. (I’m getting quite the collection.) They have apps for both iPhones and Androids, and compatible software for most ereaders. Since I want to read my books on a computer, I have to go to the Logos website and download their reader for Windows.

Amazon.com. Of course we know that Amazon sells ebooks for their Kindle. Did you know that many are free? Out-of-copyright classics make up the bulk of these titles. I picked up The Wind in the Willows, Tozer’s The Pursuit of God, Anna Karenina, and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for starters.

Some authors write a trilogy (or series) and, in order to get you hooked, give away the first book. Ted Dekker has done this with Identity (Book One of his new series, Eyes Wide Open). I’ve read enough of his other books to know that once I read this volume, I’ll succumb to his marketing strategy. That hasn’t stopped me from downloading it.

Finally, a number of authors have likely been rejected by publisher after publisher. Still, they believe in their book, and want readers so badly that they’re giving the ebook version away for free. I’ve tried a few of these and, to be honest, I can see why they’re free. Still, if you’re willing to take a chance, the price certainly can’t be beat!

If you have a Kindle, you’re all set. Don’t have a Kindle? You can add free Kindle software to a smart phone or computer (that’s what I did).

Your local library. With so many places to buy books, we tend to forget that the library has a wide selection for free. Now that they carry ebooks, I can browse the collection from home, then download my choices for instant gratification. They offer a number of different formats depending on the publisher, from Kindle to Overdrive to Adobe’s library version of pdf. Each one requires a different reader; happily they’re all free downloads.

Libraries vary by region, but ours is quite responsive to requests. For example, when I didn’t find Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully) Short Book about a (Really) Big Problem, by Kevin DeYoung, in the catalog, I asked them to buy a digital copy. It arrived within the week. (And that’s a worthwhile read, by the way.)

Well, that’s enough for now. The weather gurus are telling us to expect sub-freezing temperatures as a storm front moves through over the next few days. I’m all set with my new books, a fuzzy blanket, and my nice, hot Irish Breakfast Tea. Let it snow.

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