Finding Free Kids’ EBooks the No Twiddle Twaddle Way

Do you have an electronic reader that your kids love reading on, but little or no quality books (especially picture books) for them to read?

Well, this post is for you. Because, on No Twiddle Twaddle I review and recommend an entire list of free kids’ eBooks almost every day. And, that is a deal that you can’t find last I checked anywhere else on the internet.
how to find free picture books on kindle for kids

First, I want to dispel some free eBook myths:
Myth 1 – You can only download free Kindle books on a Kindle: Nope, if you have almost any type of tablet (other than a Nook {sorry}) or even a computer, you can download the free Kindle app and purchase books on Amaon just like a Kindle owner would.
Myth 2 – All free eBooks (especially picture books) are junk: Yes, some free books are not even worth downloading for free. But, even traditionally published books are now being re-released in eBook form and are often promoted for free. Not to mention, some of the independent authors on Amazon are extremely talented and at times have even been previously published but choose the independent route for the larger share of royalties and freedom from editorial constraints.
Why do I write free eBooks lists?

I wrote a list or two just to share the great books that I was downloading for my kids and was surprised by the excited response on Pinterest and Facebook. After searching Google, I couldn’t find another blog that had a daily list of only kids’ eBooks combined with the personal touch of a real mom who gives her own opinion. So I decided to jump in and commit to writing daily (Mon-Sat) lists in the hope to grow my blog by establishing myself in an unique niche.

I also enjoy reading through many of the free books each day and getting to know some of the authors that write the books. I try to help readers by linking to valuable websites and printables that go with the books that they download. My first interview with an Amazon author will be featured tomorrow, and I hope to do more.

How do I find the free eBooks on my list?

I currently follow three major free kids’ eBooks sites (Kids @ Kindle Nation Daily, EReaderIQ, and Pixels of Ink). Surprisingly, all these sites have slightly different lists. I download almost all the books that are free each morning to my Kindle, weed out any books that don’t fit the criteria below, pick a couple of the best books to feature, and link to my list via Listamania on Amazon.

How do I pick what free eBooks for kids to list each day?

What I try to do is read through as many of the picture books as I can and skim descriptions and reviews so that I can exclude books that:
  • Have consistent bad grammar and spelling mistakes. I know that many of these authors are publishing their work without the extra eyes of an editor. BUT, misspellings in titles or frequent grammatical mistakes will often cause a book to be deleted off of my list.
  • Books by authors who consistently choose quantity over quality. On Amazon, I have noticed a couple of proliferate writers who continue to write and write even though they have not fixed books that have bad ratings for grammar and punctuation.
  • Books with mature themes: including sexually themed or romance novels, paranormal novels, and violent novels. My goal is that my lists would be easy for a parent (or grandparent) looking for reading materials for their kids to navigate, so I choose to focus on books appropriate for a middle-grade audience and below . Of course a lot of what to include or not include is guess work based on a cover and skimming a description, so please don’t assume that a book is okay just because I’ve listed it.
  • Weird, offensive, and gross books. 
  • Books with formatting issues or poor quality images. 

Do I read all the books?

No, but I read a lot of these eBooks. I especially try to read the picture books, so that I can familiarize myself with the authors and know which authors are worth sharing.
Do I get paid to write these lists?

For now, I use affiliate marketing, which means that if you enter Amazon via one of my links (even a free eBook link) and then purchase products on Amazon, Amazon will give me a small commission based on your purchase. I don’t get paid by Amazon for you downloading a free book. I would love for my time spent to eventually be worthwhile from a financial perspective, but blogging is primarily a hobby for me at this point.
Up to this point, I have never been paid to “sponsor” a book. So if I highlight a book, you can be sure I only do it because I believe that you will enjoy the book. I may in the future consider sponsored posts, but my promise to my readers is that I only write about what I care about.

How long do the books remain free?

The author sets a promotion time on Amazon which I can’t see. Typically, the books will remain free until at least until midnight of the current day (the best books often stay free for 2-3 days). Many of the independent authors run a rotation of promotions, so if you miss a book, you may see it again.

Do I work with authors and publishers?

I am interested in forming relationships with the authors and publishers that I feature on my lists. I can be contacted at notwiddletwaddle@gmail.com.
What if you accidentally download a book that is no longer free?

If you accidentally pay money for a book, you can return the book within 7 days on your “Manage my Kindle” page.
And, just in case you are wondering if I really like everything I list. Here’s the nitty-gritty on what impresses me and what does not (I’m not a literary critic, so please just accept this as my personal opinion.):
My personal likes:
  • I love classic literature: fairy tales and myths (and for myself Jane Austen)
  • My favorite picture books are ones where the illustrations and writing complement each other and add to each other.
  • I always enjoy finding new authors that are courageous enough to put a truly creative work forward, especially those who are talented enough to write and illustrate their own work.

My personal blah free eBook moments: 

  • Sing-song rhyming books (especially with predictable rhymes or words that only rhyme if you mispronounce them). But, I list them anyway because I know that they don’t bother everyone.
  • Stories based off of stock photo graphics. I list them too. But, they really drive me batty when the story seems forced by the pictures or the pictures don’t really fit the story (eg. the animal rescue worker dressed like she was going to an office job a week ago.)
  • Books that really aren’t amazing but have 20 5-star ratings that say they are. Often, once I look at the reviews, it becomes obvious that the author (or the author’s mom) wrote them all.
  • Authors that write descriptions of their own work that say something like “Funniest book ever” or “Greatest classic since Goodnight Moon“. It’s fine to be proud of your work, but please don’t take it over the top. 
  • Authors that publish a new book a week (instead of fixing the mistakes in the books that they have already published. 
  • Picture books that include swear words, insult common mothering choices, or only choice of humor is poop and farts. Yes, these books are out there! 

Do I think that eBooks (especially free ones) can replace traditional picture books?

Probably 95% of the books that I read my kids are physical books from the library not eBooks. But, eBooks are great for when you are on the go or want a quick new book to entertain a child. Usually each day, one or two books are free that are of equal quality to books that you might purchase at a store. 

My goals for my free eBooks list:

I would love to see my blog develop into a community of people who love books. I hope that as my blog grows the number of people who talk back and tell me what they think of the books I feature will grow too. In any case, if my lists helps even a couple of kids develop a love for reading then I consider that success!

How can I follow your lists:

If you want to see the lists while the books are free, RSS feed or Email is the best choice. The email is sent by Feedburner everyday (Mon-Sat) around 5-7 pm.  

I also am on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+. I update all these networks with different content, so you will find a slightly different version of No Twiddle Twaddle everywhere you choose to follow me.

Want to see my latest list? Check out: Free Kindle Books for Kids 

Thanks for reading! Now it’s your turn. What do you think of my lists and how can I improve them?

Bethany

Comments

  1. says

    My 4 yr old and 7 yr old sons and myself absolutely LOVE your lists! I have the app on my iPad and the cloud reader through Google Chrome so we can read anywhere. My 7 yr old is a struggling reader and it has been helpful to find a wide-range of books to read to him to try and peak his interest in reading. My 4 yr old even “reads” a couple of the picture books I’ve gotten from your lists. Thank you so very much for all you do!

    • says

      Thank you. I think a lot of people don’t realize that. As more and more people get tablets, I predict that the books on Amazon will get better and better.

  2. says

    Hello!
    Thanks for all you do for you site. I have to say though, as much as I love your site now, I’d love it more (and I mean way way way more, maybe even willing to pay to use it!) if you followed more of your criteria. Bad grammar, poorly chosen pictures, fake rhyming words, ARE twaddle. I’d rather not see them suggested at all, even if that meant your list was only 5-10 books a day. For a blog titled “NO twiddle Twaddle” it always surprises me when I see twaddle suggested on your list. Twaddle should be free, since most of it is worthless garbage. I wanted to encourage you to go the route that it sounds like you truly want. You should love every book you share, and if the stock photos and sing song bather you then I think you should be true to yourself and not share them. Your blog would be better for it! And that isn’t just my opinion, for one reason, your blog will always be better if you’re being true to yourself!

    • says

      Hi! Alicia! Thanks for your comment. I think that you have several valid points, and ones that I have thought about a lot even before you brought them up here. The problem that I’ve run into is that many of my readers enjoy some of the books that aren’t books that I naturally gravitate toward. In fact, I would suspect that if I only featured books that were truly not “twiddle twaddle” my lists would shrink down a lot smaller than 5-10 books.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to try to hit a middle road on my free eBook lists. I constantly am trying to exclude more and more books, but there are a couple popular authors and books that I include because I want my lists to truly reflect what is available each day not just what I like. I also run into a time problem, which is, to put up this list I have to read these books very rapidly which makes it difficult to really assess the books fairly. I am sort of a free junkie (the type of person who will take almost anything for free) so I suspect that these lists actually reflect that side of my personality more than even my love for reading.

      What would you think if I: 1) continued to try to gradually tighten my standards of what makes my list. 2) created a code that would represent when I think a book is of exceptional quality, so that readers like you could cherry pick the best books off of the list without wasting time on “twiddle twaddle.”

      I also might pose a survey question to my other readers to see if they want less books too!

  3. says

    I enjoy looking at your lists. I like how you give your honest opinion (if you aren’t happy with something on the list, you often tell us). I also appreciate that you feature a couple of books. This is very helpful in deciding which books to look into. We don’t do a whole lot of ebooks for the kids, but I have found they are very helpful for cartrips, or doctor’s office visits. They are also a nice “treat” to give my son for some down time. He’s only 4, so I imagine as he grows (and the likelihood of his breaking an iPad/Kindle decreases), we will use them a bit more.

    • says

      Thanks, Carolyn. We use eBooks in much the same manner in our home as an occasional treat since my kids love being able to use the Kindle. My preschooler also likes to flip through the pictures in the books on his own. I’ve gone back and forth on knowing how “honest” to be since I don’t want to make readers who like things that I don’t feel bad or offend too many authors. I think though based on your comment and the one above, I will try to be even more honest and just try to be nice about it.

  4. says

    Thanks for such a great explanation of your lists and what you are trying to achieve with them. You are working so hard to bring these lists to your readers each day and we all appreciate it. Thanks for linking up to The Weekly Kids
    Co-op. I’ve pinned this to our Pinterest board and will be featuring this post on our FB wall tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what you link up next week.

  5. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the awesome lists. I really think your idea of creating a code or maybe even giving a book your own star rating is a good idea.

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