Free Theology Books for the Kindle
I have spent the past few days putting books on it. I have not bought any books from Amazon – all the good books are old enough to be free. Here are the best sites to find free books:
- Amazon.com – there are a few good books you can find for $0 here. I downloaded G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy, the first book I have read cover-to-cover on the Kindle. They did not have Chesterton’s Heretics, so I had to go elsewhere for that. Other books I got from Amazon are Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason; Plato’s Republic, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, and Timaeus;Aristotle’s Ethics; Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion; Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus; Luther’s Concerning Christian Liberty; Aquinas’ Summa, and the complete ESV and HCSB bibles. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still get yourself all these great books by downloading their Kindle emulator for the PC. That’s how I decided I wanted a Kindle in the first place.
- Project Gutenberg – While Amazon has some public domain books for free, they also sell a lot of public domain books. If you don’t know better, you might think you have to buy them. Think again. Project Gutenberg has tons of public domain books formatted for the Kindle. Stuff I got here includes Seneca’s On Benefits; Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and Brothers Karamazov; Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Nietzsche’s The Antichrist; and the complete KJV Bible.
- The Internet Archive – This is a really cool site. They have the text of classic books, but the original title pages and covers are scanned in as images. So I downloaded B.B. Warfield’s own copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species. I also got J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism here. Machen’s book, I am told on good authority by folks at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (where I attend as a seminary student), is a book everyone really ought to read. And now you can because it’s completely free.
- Mobipocket Creator – Not a site with books per se, but this is the site that makes the Kindle all worth it. Download this software and you can turn any text, html, Word, or PDF document into a regular Kindle book. That means you’re not limited to the regular layout of a PDF document, which the newest generation of Kindles can read, but you have to zoom-in and scroll around on the page. It’s a real hassle to try to read a book this way. But with Mobipocket Creator you can resize the text so it fits perfectly on the Kindle. Sa-weet!
- Christian Classics Ethereal Library – this is the most likely site to have the best theology books, like the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Unfortunately they are all in Text or PDF format, so you will want to run them through the Mobipocket Creator software (#5 above) first.
- The Septuagint (LXX) – To me, one of the most useful things about knowing Greek is not reading the New Testament in its original language, but reading the Old Testament in the language of the early church. Unfortunately I was not able to find a free version of the Septuagint that has breathing and accent marks. Jeff, who runs the site, promised in 2008 that he would try to add all accents, but it doesn’t appear to be available yet. Nevertheless, when run through Mobipocket, it is a fairly readable version. If I have any problems, I can always consult the old paper edition.
- The Psalms of David in Metre – I had to cut-and-paste these into a Word document, and then convert them. It was more work than the others, but it was worth it. I recently discovered this translation of the psalms from the Scottish Presbyterian church, done in 1650. The language is a little archaic, but it makes it really easy to sing the psalms for personal prayer.
The new Kindle has all kinds of additional features, like an experimental web browser and a very basic mp3 player. It is set up so that you can clip quotes from a book and post them directly to Facebook or tweet them on Twitter. The only major thing it’s lacking is a basic notebook program for writing down notes. But overall, I feel as if I have been given ownership of the world’s greatest theological library for just $139.