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Best free books for Kindle: classics to read for free

Brush up on your classics with these best free Kindle books.

Best free books for Kindle: classics to read for free
03 May 2024

We love Kindle ereaders because they make reading so clutter-free. There's no need to fill your house or flat with paper books, and you don't have to wait days for them to turn up in the post either.

There's another mega benefit too. Loads of classic reads are available to read on Kindles, for free.

This is because the books have come out of copyright, meaning they can be reproduced freely. You'll still see plenty of out-of-copyright books selling for money, but a great many can be downloaded for free, including plenty of flat-out classics.

In the list below you'll find our selection of the must-not-miss literary classics, from the likes of Charles Dickens and the Brontë clan, as well as some slightly newer picks.

Brush up on Stoker, lose yourself in some of the best children's stories from E. Nesbit and Anna Sewell, rediscover a classic you've avoided since school days or stumble on a new favourite. It's time to get downloading.

Please note: these are all free on the UK site - please check your country for availability. Some of the free titles require you to have a Prime subscription.

Best free Kindle books

Best free Kindle books

1. Robinson Crusoe, By Daniel Defoe

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Another title that fits the "What do you mean, you haven't read it?!" list. In addition to being a trader, journalist and spy, Daniel Defoe (no, not that Spider-Man guy) wrote several hundred novels - of which this is the most famous. Fleeing his parents' wishes for him to have a dull career, Crusoe boards a boat bound on a sea voyage from Hull. There follows a shipwreck, cannibals and the original wanderlust adventure.

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Best free Kindle books

2. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

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You don't have to save this story for a turgid December (though it clearly befits a winter setting). A tale of moral improvement, social lessons and ghosts (he had to get the readers in somehow), A Christmas Carol is as relevant in the success-driven world of contemporary Britain as it was in 1843.

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Best free Kindle books

3. Frankenstein, by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

FREE (With Prime)
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Beginning to notice a theme here? The Victorians had a thing for supernatural yarns - and there are few better than Mary Shelley's timeless man-made monster. Philosophical, melancholic and downright terrifying, the idea for a twisted creature created from the flesh of the dead came to her when she was just 18-years-old.

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Best free Kindle books

4. The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde, By Robert Louis Stevenson

FREE (With Prime)
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Another from the gothic canon, Stevenson's tale of a scientist who pushes the laws of nature too far still manages to grip modern readers. And it's a lot less camp than countless TV and film adaptations have made it.

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Best free Kindle books

5. Dracula, by Bram Stoker

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The definitive vampire novel, Stoker's seminal work has a hand (or fang) in pretty much every blood sucking story you've ever encountered. A monster of a book, even if it does tail off towards the end.

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Best free Kindle books

6. Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Be honest - you're more familiar with the Muppet version than the original aren't you? Well now you've no excuses: Stevenson's tale of treasure, pirates and exploring the unknown still ripples with addictive prose and vivid imagery. Immediate escapism.

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Best free Kindle books

7. The Great Gatsby, By F Scott Fitzgerald

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If you've been meaning to read the novel that inspired last year's glitzy big screen adaptation, now's your chance. Fitzgerald's novel plays out a little more mutely than Luhrmann's lavish offering, but it's still a superb window into the stale state of the 1920's American dream.

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Best free Kindle books

8. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville

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An American monster - Captain Ahab's obsession with the great white whale consumes his entire existence, leading to him putting his own life and that of his crew in danger as he hunts Moby Dick across the seas. A pub quiz necessity.

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Best free Kindle books

9. The Raven, by Edgar Allan Poe

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Less book, more "narrative poem" (or so our GCSE English lessons informed us), The Raven is a pillar of gothic literature. An unnamed narrator sits alone in his chamber when a rapping at the door heralds the entry of the eponymous raven. A lyrical read to add some atmosphere to your daily commute.

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Best free Kindle books

10. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

FREE (With Prime)
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Wilde's only novel is a dark, twisting affair, offset by his familiarly flowery prose. Pages drip with wit and intelligence, allowing readers to escape to the glow of Victorian high life before shattering them with some supernatural skulduggery. The only frustration of the ebook edition is that you can't dogear the pages with the best quotes.

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Best free Kindle books

11. The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling

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No, it's not a kid's book. Well - it is - but it's a seriously dark, poetically magnificent one thoroughly deserving of your mature attention. You play Pokémon GO for goodness sake. The story of Mowgli, the young orphan raised by wolves, is brimming with philosophical musings and ethical ponderings that are still razor sharp all these years on.

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Best free Kindle books

12. The Railway Children, By E. Nesbit

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The Railway Children is a classic children's story originally serialised back in 1905, but was then published as a book in the same year. It has since been adapted several times too, as a film, radio play and TV series. It follows the story of three siblings, Roberta, Peter and Phyllis, who move to the countryside near a railway line when their father is wrongfully imprisoned.

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Best free Kindle books

13. The Complete Works of Shakespeare by William Shakespeare

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You can pay for the complete works of Shakespeare, or just download this free version. This is largely a collection of plays, rather than novels, but with more than 5000 pages from the most famous writer of them all inside, it will keep you busy. Classics to start with include Othello, Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth.

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Best free Kindle books

14. Black Beauty, By Anna Sewell

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With more than 50 million copies sold, Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time. This classic novel is narrated by a horse, Black Beauty. The story follows his tumultuous life, from his early days as a carefree foal to a hardworking cab horse in Victorian England. He has different owners over the years, some kind and some cruel. The book is poignant, teaching readers about care for animals and empathy, which is why it's a fantastic book for all ages.

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15. Death in Venice, by Thomas Mann

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The most famous of all of Thomas Mann's works is a novella in which a 50-year old man pursues a 14-year-old boy. It's a book about homosexual passion, and while it contains some autobiographical inspiration, Mann was in his 30s when the book was published.

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Best free Kindle books

16. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

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Not read Wuthering Heights? Rid your mind of the sloppy period romance you're no doubt conjuring up - Emily Brontë's dark, bold story of love and jealousy is a heart-wrenching brute of a novel. You'll need to schedule in a trip to the Yorkshire moors once you're done.

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