Borrow a Kindle Book for Free from Amazon

I’ve been meaning to finish and publish this post for a while now, but it’s been a hectic couple of weeks at the Gallagher household between chasing kids from activity to activity, I’ve brought a little work home to complete, etc. Yes, the best laid plans go somewhere else.  Besides, with the posts about the bonanza of free books lately I figured I’ve popped up enough on your Kindle and / or computer screens enough over the past few weeks!

I’ve started, stopped, started, and stopped (you get the picture) on a series of three posts related to various ways to borrow books from third parties that you can read on your Kindle.  This one focuses on being able to borrow books from Amazon and read it on your Kindle, all at no direct cost to you.

Notice I typed in “direct cost,” which is a key phrase: Amazon will allow you to borrow one book per month for free and allow you to read it on your Kindle, but you have to be a Prime member.  There are two ways you can be a Prime Member:

  • Pay $79 to Amazon for a year’s membership
  • Order a Kindle Fire, and you receive a month of Amazon Prime for free

What is Amazon’s Prime Membership?  To summarize the benefits of joining (of course, this is not an all-encompassing list):

  • You receive free two-day shipping; or just $3.99 for next day shipping, on all purchases fulfilled by Amazon.  That includes more than just books and CD’s, but the really heavy items like power tools.  I bought some woodworking equipment at 3:30 from Amazon last year that weighed over 100 pounds, and I paid $3.99 for it to be here before noon the next day.  Not only did Amazon have the lower price, but the next lower priced dealer wanted $150 to ship it in 7-10 business days, so it paid for itself in one purchase.
  • You are able to watch a couple of thousand movies and TV series for free via Amazon’s streaming video product.  Personally, not many of the movies have appealed to me but I am watching Season 3 of 24 for free right now.

I am sure there are other benefits, but the two above are what I use it for – as a guy, I hate to go to the mall or other stores, and I seem to purchase nearly everything off of Amazon because of the low price and free two day shipping with my Prime membership; as an accountant in “real” life, I rationalize it a lot like a Sam’s Club membership.

If you would like to get a free one month trial subscription to Prime (see, you knew I would tell you about something free vs. spending $79) or learn more about the Prime membership option, here’s a quick way to get to the correct page:

  • Go to the Kindle Fire page by clicking here or typing in into your computer’s web browser.
  • Right below the price, there’s a box called “Prime.”  Click on the “Learn More” link under the “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library” section, which will open up a new pop-up box.
  • Underneath “Prime Membership,” click on the “Start Your One-Month Free Trial” link.

Why not try the free one-month trial now, and have all of your Christmas packages sent to you via two-day shipping for free?  If it works out – great, if not – cancel it before they charge you.

Anyway, I appear to be getting off-topic again….

As I was saying earlier, you can now borrow one book per month from Amazon…before you get too excited, you can’t borrow every book they have in the Kindle inventory: as I type this, there are a little over exactly 5,165 titles available in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.  Seeing as how there are 1,066,115 book titles in the Amazon Kindle store right now, we’re really not talking about a large percentage of the population here.

So, how do you peruse the titles available for lending?  While I am sure there are other ways to do it, here is how I just did it:

  • Press the “Home” button on your Kindle.
  • Press the “Menu” key.
  • Select the “Shop in Kindle Store” option.
  • Underneath the “Books” section, scroll over to the right and select “See all…”
  • Scroll down to the last option and select “Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

You will now see a list of the books available for borrowing for free from Amazon.  You can also change the sort option to view by the various subcategories (mine initially showed up by the bestselling) if there is a particular genre you want to peruse.

One thing I don’t like about doing it this way is you can’t type in the name of a particular book in the lending library and have it show up – on a few test searches I did for various authors, the results displayed were for purchase only.  In other words, you’re going to be doing a lot of searching and hitting the next page button which is a little bit of a pain in the neck.

Anyway, back to how I borrowed my first book from Amazon…

At the listing of the books by bestselling, I just kept hitting the next page button until I saw something I liked.  In this case, I selected Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (click here or type in into your computer’s web browser to see this title for sale at $8.29).  The next screen is what I would call the regular information page about a book on my Kindle but in addition to the “Buy” button , right below that was a “Borrow for Free” button.  I selected the “Borrow for Free” button, and the next screen that popped up looked familiar:


Thank you for borrowing this title.  We are sending your item and it will automatically appear in your Home screen when the download is complete.

It took less than 10 seconds for the book to appear on my Kindle, and I just saved $8.29.

I pressed the Home button and found the book, then selected it with the 5-way controller, where my Kindle then started me at the book’s preface.  One thing to note – there is no distinction or “warning” sign that this is a loaned book, it all looked the same to me.

So, there’s your short tutorial on borrowing a book from Amazon.  Here’s hoping they (a) get a lot more titles, and (b) it becomes searchable!

Hope that helps!


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Filed under Kindle Tips

5 responses to “Borrow a Kindle Book for Free from Amazon

  1. Anne

    One little detail-there is no Kindle Users Library for Australian kindle users (perhaps all outside US)! So no borrowing for us. Hope we do get it one day!

    • Michael Gallagher


      I did not know that, so thanks for sharing with the group. Hopefully, this will be an Amazon initiative for all of their sites.



  2. TheGem

    If I may add: as far as I have heard the titles checked out don’t have an expiration date; they simply disappear when you check out a new one (in a month or more). This makes it really easy for those of us who have WAY too many books we’re reading at the same time and tend to forget some of them.

    If you can’t remember which of your books is checked out through Amazon, it shows up on your Kindle Library (via Manage your Kindle on Amazon’s site) with the Prime logo.

  3. Also, if there IS a particular title you were hoping to check out for free, you can look it up in the Kindle Store either on your Kindle, or on the computer through Amazon, and it will have a “list price” $0.00 prime if the title you are looking for is one of those 5, 165 books available for free checkout. That’s a lot easier if you have a particular title in mind, rather than scrolling through the entire library hoping to see it.

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