10 Websites Other Than Amazon to Find Great Kindle Books
Amazon is comfortably the world’s largest bookstore. But it doesn’t have all the books in the world (yet!).
Of course, the list of niche books that are missing is endless. However, there are also plenty of popular titles that are not on the platform, often because of licensing and agreement issues with the various publishers.
If you own a Kindle and want to grab some new titles to read, it makes sense to broaden your search. Here are some of the best websites other than Amazon to find great Kindle books.
ManyBooks has been around since 2004. It offers more than 50,000 free ebooks for you to download.
While it was originally a repo of out-of-copyright books, the site’s mandate has since expanded. Today, it is also a platform in which authors can self-publish their own titles, meaning new books are being added to the site’s collection every day.
Make sure you also keep your eyes peeled for ManyBooks’ “Daily Deals”. You will find many popular books being given away for free. The deals change every 24 hours.
Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks (yes, even bigger than Amazon). Authors can use the platform to self-publish their works then distribute the books to retailers and libraries.
The site offers more than 400,000 books in total, of which more than 70,000 can be downloaded for free.
To take full advantage of Smashwords, you need to make an account. Doing so means you will be able to start searching on the site, as well as use the site’s excellent ebook library management tools.
The Internet Archive is well-known for its selection of free content across a number of different media formats. Many people do not realize, however, that the site has created a spinoff service called Open Library.
The concept behind the project is to make a page on the site for every book ever made. For literary geeks, that’s going to be great. However, from the standpoint of a regular reader, the site has a Classic Books section where you can download more than three million Kindle books for free.
As well as the classic books, the site has a section where you can borrow modern books for free.
Project Gutenberg is a perennial favorite on lists of this nature. It boasts more than 60,000 free ebooks that you can read on your Kindle.
You can’t download the books directly onto your Kindle from the site, so you will have to be comfortable using an ebook management app like Calibre.
However, given that the site boasts hundreds of titles that are not available anywhere else, we think it is a small price to pay.
On the downside, you’re not going to find the latest ebook releases on Project Gutenberg. It primarily stocks older titles that are no longer covered by copyright protections.
Most public libraries in the US have a subscription to OverDrive. It lets you borrow free ebooks from your library in the same way that you would borrow a regular physical book.
The beauty of OverDrive is that you will never need to worry about returning a book. Once your allotted time expires, the book will be automatically removed from your Kindle, meaning you will never have to pay a late fee again.
You don’t even need to visit your library in person to use the service. OverDrive has made a free smartphone app (available on Android and iOS) called Libby. It lets you borrow ebooks remotely.
The sharing economy is a big thing right now, and Book Lending has tried to port that to the world of borrowing books.
Not only does the app let you borrow books, but it also lets you loan out your own books. This is perfect if you have some rare titles in your collection that you think other Kindle owners would enjoy.
All book loans made via Book Lending are only available for 14 days, so make sure you start reading soon after you make your decision to borrow a title.
Centsless Books offers free Kindle ebooks across a wide range of categories. Some of the most popular categories include sci-fi, biographies and memoirs, self-help, teen, comics, parenting and relationships, and travel. In total, there are more than 30 categories for you to dig into.
The site is exceptionally easy to navigate. Just click on the category you want to explore in the left-hand menu, then browse the thumbnails to find a book you want.
eBooks.com is one of the largest ebooks sellers on the web. It has more than two million books for you to choose from, with a variety of free and paid titles.
Sadly, ebooks.com does not sell ebooks in the MOBI or AZW format. You can only download in EPUB or PDF. That means you will need to use Calibre to convert your ebooks before you add them to your Kindle device. Online ebook conversion sites are also available.
If you want to buy Kindle books written for and aimed at women, Harlequin is probably the best store you will be able to find.
The site is a project by publishing behemoth HarperCollins and thus has a steady flow of new (and more importantly, high quality) content. Around 100 new books are made available on the site every month.
The main categories on Harlequin are romance, thrillers, suspense novels, small-town dramas, and paranormal stories.
Blackwell’s is a great place to buy Kindle ebooks if you live in the UK and do not want to use Amazon’s store.
The site has both an ebook section and a physical book section, with sections such as Computing, Languages, Reference, Sports, Music, Medical, Business, and Art.
We especially like Blackwell’s ebook collections. Shared with readers in the form of articles, they are curated lists around a theme. For example, at the time of writing, there are curated lists available for “Back to University” and “Autumn Highlights.”
Don’t Stick to Amazon
Amazon is undoubtedly a fantastic resource for ebooks, especially if you are a Kindle owner. However, as this list has demonstrated, it is far from being the only option.
If you want to support smaller companies, find indie writers, or even borrow books rather than buy them, the options we have covered might be better Kindle ebook stores for you.
How to buy Kindle books
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You can find and purchase an eBook in moments on your Kindle.
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There was probably a time when your home was brimming with bookshelves, stuffed to the gills with novels you have already read or yet plan to read. These days, a single Kindle can clear out all that clutter, putting virtually every book you could want to read in the palm of your hands.
But before you can read a book on your Kindle, you need to buy it. No matter which Kindle model you have, that’s easy to do.
How to buy a book on your Kindle
Before you can buy a book on a Kindle, the device needs to be linked to your Amazon account so you can make purchases. Your device is probably already configured; if it’s not, follow the on-screen instructions to complete first-time setup by connecting to your Wi-Fi network and entering your Amazon account information, such as your email address and password. After you’ve setup your Kindle, you’re ready to make a purchase.
Make sure you’re on your Kindle device’s home page. If you’re already in a book, tap the top of the screen and then tap the back button. On the main screen, tap the Home tab at the bottom of the screen.
Now you can browse the Kindle Store. You’ll find books recommended for you, for example, as well as best sellers and other titles you might be interested in. Scroll through the list, or tap the Search Kindle box at the top of the page and type the name of a book or author you’re interested in.
When you find a book you want, tap it. You can check out the book’s details and read customer reviews.
Ready to make the purchase? Tap the Buy for [$ Price] or Buy now with 1-click button to seal the deal. The book will automatically download and appear in your Kindle library, ready to be read with a tap.
Often, you’ll have other options as well. If you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, for example, you get access to more than 3 million select Kindle titles which you can read at no additional cost. In addition, you can often add Audible audio narration for a small additional fee—if you want that, look for the Add Audible narration checkbox under the purchase button.
How to buy a book for your Kindle app on your phone
If you use the Kindle app on your Fire tablet, iOS, or Android device, buying a book is a little different. You can’t buy a Kindle book directly from the Kindle app or Amazon app.
Instead, open the Amazon website in a browser on your iPhone and find the book you want to buy. Select the Kindle version and buy it. The eBook will automatically appear in your Kindle app library (as well as in the library on your Kindle device, if you have one), ready to be downloaded and read.
Interested in purchasing a new Kindle device? Find out which e-reader is right for you.
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Best e-books: ranking 2023
read books for you
Readers use e-ink displays, an “electronic ink” technology that mimics conventional paper printing.
Eyes get tired less from such screens than from glowing LCD matrices. And, unlike smartphones and tablets, the reader does not need to be plugged into an outlet every day: it can work on a single charge for months.
An e-book is lighter and more compact than most paper books, with thousands of titles in its memory. It is convenient to carry the entire library with you at once: read and unnecessary books do not take up space. Well, the readers themselves are in all respects more accessible than paper ones: they are cheaper, you don’t have to go to the store or wait for delivery for new products, and you don’t have to order books in foreign languages from abroad.
Dozens of models of electronic readers from different manufacturers are now on sale, and their average cost is comparable to the price of a smartphone. I studied the latest gadgets in different price segments and took the most interesting ones for the test. The result was a rating of the best readers in five categories.
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To compile a selection of e-books, I studied the range of large retail chains and marketplaces. Over the past few years, I have written materials about dozens of readers, so when choosing, I relied on my experience and feedback from fellow reviewers.
I have identified several criteria that any good reader must meet. If the models we have chosen do not suit you, the list below can be used as a checklist for independent searches.
Screen quality. The display must have a pixel density of 200 ppi or higher so that the letters look sharp and the image is almost indistinguishable from printing in ordinary paper books. Some readers have color matrices, but this is still a crude technology with a large number of problems and shortcomings.
Display size. The larger the diagonal, the larger and heavier the gadget becomes. The optimal size can be considered approximately eight inches.
Screen refresh and response speed. The first e-books responded slowly to controls and loaded each page in a couple of seconds. Modern models of screens and processors make readers much faster and more enjoyable to use.
Housing. The e-book will travel with you around the city every day, and on vacation you most likely want to take it to the beach, so it must be durable, and protection from water, dust and the presence of a complete cover will be a useful bonus.
Control elements. Entry-level models are controlled by physical buttons on the side frames or below the screen, while more expensive models are more likely to have only a touch screen or both. Before buying, you should consider what is more convenient for you.
Additional features. Many modern readers can do more than just open text files. Some allow you to install third-party apps, listen to music and audiobooks, translate using the built-in dictionary, open a browser, write notes, and more. Additional features affect the price and autonomy, so sometimes a more primitive solution is more convenient.
The best e-books according to our assessment
After studying the range of stores and customer reviews, I chose 13 models that meet the selection criteria:
- Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 is the best option.
- Onyx Boox Lomonosov.
- Onyx Boox Volta 4.
- Digma K1 is the best for the budget conscious.
- Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2 is the best of the best.
- Pocketbook X.
- Onyx Boox Leaf.
- Pocketbook 617 – no bells and whistles.
- Onyx Boox Darwin 9.
- Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus – large screen.
- Pocketbook 740 Pro.
- Onyx Boox Poke 3.
- Onyx Boox Edison.
|The best of the best||Best option|
|Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2||Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021|
|Clear display with fast swipe, good battery life and full Android. You can install third-party software, like on tablet||Lightweight reader with the latest generation screen and no unnecessary features – you can only read books. There is protection against water|
On the official website – 26 990 R;
on Yandex Market — 26 990 Р
|On Yandex Market – from 13 990 R|
|Large screen||No bells and whistles|
|Onyx Boox Note 2 Air Plus||Pocketbook 617|
|A powerful reader for Android 10 with a huge screen. Suitable for large tables, notes and more. There are speakers||Compact 6-inch reader without additional features. Not the fastest, but it has a good backlit screen|
In DNS — 55 999 Р;
on Yandex Market — 55 990 Р
In “M-video” – 9899 R;
on Yandex Market – from 9209 R
|Best for Thrifty|
|Saved on backlight, build quality and processor. But the screen is the best in this price range|
In “M-video” – 5999 R;
on Yandex Market – from 5420 R
Best of the Best
Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2
Clear display with fast swiping, good battery life and full Android. You can install third-party software, like on a tablet
On the official website – 26 990 R;
on Yandex Market — 26,990 R
The best option
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021
Lightweight reader with the latest generation screen and without extra features — you can only read books. There is protection against water
On the “Yandex market” – from 13 990 R
With a large screen
Onyx Boox Note 2 Air Plus
Powerful reader for Android 10 with a huge screen. Suitable for large tables, notes and more. There are speakers
V DNS – 55 999 R;
on Yandex Market — 55,990 R
No bells and whistles
Compact 6-inch reader without additional features. Not the fastest, but it has a good backlit screen
V “M-video” – 9899 R;
on Yandex Market – from 9209 Р
The best for economical
Saved on backlight, build quality and processor. But the screen is the best in this price range
V “M-video” – 5999 R;
on Yandex Market – from 5420 R
But we do not distort or embellish the reviews. The choice of specific things does not depend on whether we receive a commission.
Product reviews in Tinkoff Magazine are independent. We make a verdict based on reviews of things and devices that we carefully studied, or how these things performed during editorial tests.
For reviews, we either request goods from the manufacturer for testing, or we buy them ourselves, or we study reviews in other publications and user opinions. Our reviews are subjective, but honest and expert: opinions are written by authors who have more than one review behind them. The editorial team of Tinkoff Magazine double-checks the texts, proofreads them and conducts fact-checking.
All prices are at the time of publication, but we update them periodically to keep the reviews up to date.
The best of the best – Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2
Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2 – the top Android e-reader. The proprietary shell gives easy access to the library, and otherwise it is a full-featured tablet that can only play videos.
From Google Play, I immediately downloaded Yandex Music, Litres for legal downloading of books, and an office suite for documents. Through the cloud, you can download files from a PC or phone wirelessly, and thanks to a normal browser, the reader is great for slowly studying long-read articles.
The latest generation black and white electronic paper with high resolution is installed here. Image clarity meets the 300 ppi typography standard, making letters look like printed. We tell you more about what screens are and how they differ from each other at the end of the article.
The display size is 7.8 inches, which is noticeably larger than most classic readers. In addition to books, on such a screen it is convenient to open PDF with technical information, read comics and view articles on websites.
The screen updates the image almost instantly – this is especially important for an Android reader, because on a regular slow e-ink, typing, entering passwords and scrolling pages in the browser turns into torture due to delay. By the standards of readers, Kon-Tiki 2 is very powerful: Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 and 3 GB of RAM open and scroll through even large PDFs without slowdowns. There is even a Bluetooth for connecting headphones, which is exotic among e-books.
The display is covered with tempered glass to protect it from scratches and abrasions. The body is made of matte plastic, and the Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2 comes with a handy carrying case.
The reader itself weighs 265 g, the cover adds about 100 g more. With a screen diagonal of 7.8 inches, Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2 can still be called compact, it will not take up much space in a backpack or bag. The design is minimalist. Only the power button is located on the body, and the frames are relatively thin, but it is convenient to hold on to them.
Despite using Android OS, Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2 does not need to be recharged too often. Thanks to a powerful battery, the reader works up to a month without being connected to a power outlet.
- on the official website – 26 990 R;
- on Yandex Market – 26 990 R.
Alternative. As an alternative, you can consider the flagship reader Pocketbook 740 Pro. It also features a 7.8-inch display and audiobook support. At the same time, it is cheaper, protected from water according to the IPX8 standard and holds a charge for more than a month.
But in terms of technical characteristics, Pocketbook is much inferior. It works slower due to a weak processor, and the previous generation e-ink Carta matrix is inferior in speed and clarity. For charging, downloading books from a PC, and even connecting headphones, the outdated Micro-USB connector is used, and the closed OS does not allow you to install applications.
On the other hand, it works two to three times longer on a single charge – for a reader, this can be a much more important feature than the ability to listen to audiobooks online or download files from any cloud.
What kind of books do Russians read?
The best choice is Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 is imprisoned exclusively for reading books. It does not have additional features like a full-fledged audio player or easy access to cloud storage. There is a browser, but not the most convenient among readers. Paperwhite 2021 formally supports audiobooks, but you can download them only from the built-in Amazon store, where there are no works in Russian. In addition, it is impossible to pay with Russian cards there.
MOBI used to be the main book format for Kindle readers. But since 2022, the manufacturer has declared it obsolete – now Amazon e-books accept almost all other popular formats like PDF and EPUB. Documents of any format, except for FB2, can be sent to the reader from a computer through a proprietary online service – you just need to log into one Amazon account in the browser and on the Kindle itself. At the same time, MOBI on Kindle cannot be downloaded via the Internet – only by wire.
The gadget uses a modern black and white display with an image density of 300 ppi. It is as fast and clear as the more expensive Onyx Boox, and the backlight is adjustable in 24 levels of brightness and temperature.
The book is compact and weighs just 205g. The matte rubberized plastic housing is IPX8 rated and can be submerged in water up to two meters deep for 60 minutes. Waterproof readers are rare. But there is no glass to protect the screen from damage.
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Amazon introduced the fifth generation of e-readers Kindle Paperwhite
Pages are immediately redrawn, the response to clicks is instant. In my opinion, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 is even faster than the Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2 despite having a weaker processor. A full battery charge will last for five weeks with an hour of daily reading.
Amazon readers are not officially supplied to Russia, but they can be purchased in gray retail. The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 lacks features compared to other devices in the selection: you need to convert the library, you can’t listen to audio books, you can’t install third-party software.
But at the same time, the gadget from Amazon is equipped with one of the best screens on the market, it is perfectly assembled, works fast and holds a charge for a long time. It’s also significantly cheaper than more sophisticated competitors with the same screen like the Onyx Boox Kon-Tiki 2.
- on Yandex Market – from 13 990 R.
The best with a large screen – Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus
Large format e-books not so much, and Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus is one of the most sophisticated among them. On a 10-inch screen, it is convenient to view documents with complex layout: magazines, scans, notes and much more. Spreadsheets and PDFs with many small elements can be read without magnification.
In terms of filling and capabilities, the device is closer to modern tablets. There is a stylus in the kit, and the screen received an additional touch layer from Wacom – you can make notes, handwritten notes or drawings.
The reader runs on Android 11, on top of which a proprietary shell is installed. A split screen mode is provided, in which a book opens on one half, and a translator, calculator, mail, and any other application can be on the second.
There are no complaints about the image quality: due to the large diagonal, the image density is one and a half times less than on more compact readers, but this can only be noticed with close comparison. The backlight can be adjusted by color temperature and brightness.
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The case is made of metal – a rarity for e-books, which are usually made entirely of plastic. The screen is covered with tempered glass that protects the matrix from damage. The model weighs 450g without case, comparable to the latest iPad Air.
Onyx Boox Note Air 2 Plus is equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even a speaker. All applications and files open almost instantly, response to clicks and page redraw is as fast as on Kon-Tiki 2.
With an average brightness of the backlight, you can read for about a month if you spend an hour a day behind a book.
How much it costs:
- in DNS — 55 999 R;
- on Yandex Market – 55 990 R.
Alternative. A simpler reader – Onyx Boox Lomonosov. It also has a large 10-inch backlit screen and Android OS. Saved on case materials: plastic is used instead of glass. The filling is a little weaker: a simpler processor and less memory. And there is no support for the stylus, which has significantly reduced the cost.
The models are comparable in terms of screen quality and functions. There is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth for connecting headphones and a speaker for listening to audiobooks or music. Despite the simpler hardware than the Note Air 2 Plus, the response to pressing is quick, the page redrawing speed is high. The device is comfortable to use even in atypical tasks by the standards of readers, such as scrolling through pages in a browser and entering passwords.
- in DNS – 32 499 R.
Best Budget Pocketbook 617
The Pocketbook 617 is one of the most affordable backlit readers. It does not even have a touch layer, so you will have to control it exclusively with physical buttons. Because of this, you will have to get used to navigating through the menu and the table of contents, but turning pages is even more convenient.
No savings on the screen: the gadget is equipped with a six-inch e-ink Carta display. The density is 200 ppi, comparable to Onyx Boox Lomonosov. The backlight is uniform, with flexible brightness adjustment. It is possible to adjust the backlight temperature, as in more expensive models.
The case is made of velvety matte plastic, which is almost free from fingerprints. The gadget is light and compact, weighing only 155 g.
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There is a Wi-Fi to work with a branded service for downloading books and synchronizing them between several devices. For example, you can start reading on a smartphone, and then continue on the reader. Or just transfer your entire library from one reader to another – just log in to your account on a new device. In addition, you can upload files using Dropbox and via email.
Browser and audio books are not supported, but the system recognizes 18 e-book formats – from FB2 and EPUB to ZIP archives and document scans. Almost any text found on the Internet will open without problems. You can customize the font, text size, indents, and a dozen more options. Several dictionaries for machine translation from several languages are built-in.
Page turning is slower than top models, and only 8 GB of internal memory, albeit with the possibility of expansion using microSD cards. From one charge Pocketbook 617 will work up to one and a half months.
- in M-video – 9899 R;
- on Yandex Market – from 9209 R.
The best for the most economical – Digma K1
If you need the cheapest, but high-quality e-book, you should look towards Digma K1.
This is “just a reader” without screen backlight, touch layer and Wi-Fi. The plastic case without additional protection creaks a little when pressed. But with its main task – reading books – Digma copes well. It is convenient to turn pages with the keys on the side frames: they are duplicated on both sides.
The e-reader has a high image density of 200 ppi for its class. Digma K1 produces a high-quality picture, which is almost as good as more expensive devices. There is support for all necessary formats: FB2, EPUB, PDF, DOC and others.
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4 GB internal storage can be expanded using MicroSD, but the device does not accept cards larger than 32 GB. The reader is thoughtful: ordinary books can open for 5-7 seconds, heavy PDFs are loaded before opening for 20 seconds, and sometimes even longer.
Autonomy is also not encouraging: the owners on the forums note the high self-discharge of the battery in standby mode. It is recommended to completely turn off the e-book after use – then, with daily reading, it will last two to three weeks. The reader turns on in about seven seconds, so this will not be a big problem.
- in M-video – 5999 R;
- on Yandex Market – from 5420 R.
e-ink screens are different
E-ink displays for all brands of readers are manufactured by E Ink Corporation. The technology is constantly being improved, but old screen models do not go out of circulation for a long time. Therefore, it is important to check what exactly is used in the device that you have looked after.
One of the main characteristics of e-ink displays is the screen size to resolution ratio, or ppi, the density of pixels per square inch. The higher the ppi value, the sharper the font will be. For books with illustrations, contrast is important, which determines the number of shades of gray available for display.
In the second generation, called Pearl, the pixel density and resolution remained the same. But on the other hand, they pulled up the contrast to 10:1 and accelerated the response to clicks.
E-ink Pearl HD. Improved version of Pearl with increased resolution and density already at 211 ppi. The contrast has been increased to 12:1.
E-ink Mobius. e-ink Pearl HD variant with plastic backing. Typically used in large screen readers to increase display strength.
E-ink Carta. Today’s penultimate generation of electronic paper. It has a relatively high contrast ratio of 15:1 due to a lighter background. Power consumption and speed have also been improved, and the pixel density has increased to 200-300 ppi.
E-ink Carta HD and e-ink Carta Plus. The current generation of technology in black and white. The HD version is used in Amazon readers, and the Plus version is used in Onyx Boox. They have similar characteristics, and the main difference from Carta is faster page redrawing.