The best free Kindle books on Amazon Prime

If you’re an existing Amazon Prime member, did you know you already have access to Prime Reading? Whether you’re a self-confessed bookworm or just like to read on your morning commute, Prime Reading offers unlimited access to a selection of over one thousand e-books, audiobooks, magazines, and comic books to keep you entertained. You’ll find bestsellers from popular publishing houses alongside literary classics from authors like Jane Austen — and the best bit is that all the books are free for Prime members. With Amazon Prime Day on the horizon, it could be a good time to pick up a new Kindle Paperwhite or Oasis — or just download the Kindle app for iOS and Android to start reading for free.

Don’t have Amazon Prime? We’ve also rounded up some of the best free Kindle books — with something to suit all tastes. There’s quite a lot to choose from in the Prime Reading catalog, so we’ve selected our favorite books from a range of genres, including mystery, action, romance, and more.

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Action and adventure

Hard Road by J.B. Turner

Book cover is dark blue with a picture of a man walking up a snow covered road towards a grand old building, with the author's name in large yellow letters above this and the title of the book in white letters beneath

The first in a nine-book series, Hard Road follows black-ops specialist Jon Reznick as he carries out his next hit — a textbook job that’s supposed to look like a suicide. But when the operation is compromised, Reznick finds himself on the run with the man he was meant to kill — a man who’s wanted by the FBI and by a terrorist organization that wants to see the U.S. brought to its knees. When Reznick’s daughter becomes a pawn in the dangerous game, he has to use every trick in the book to stay one step ahead of those responsible. This action-packed thriller is a five-star read that’s perfect for fans of Jack Reacher.

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The Last Tribe by Brad Manuel

Book cover is dark grey, black, moody, with an image of pandemic survivors walking through a city, and the book title in white font at the top

If you’re looking for pandemic-appropriate reading, The Last Tribe ticks all the boxes. As bleak and uncomfortable as it is uplifting, the story follows a pair of pandemic survivors across a post-apocalyptic U.S. as they search for other survivors. It’s not as action-packed and exciting as you might expect — don’t expect zombies, cannibals, or any other monsters. Instead, it’s more about the need for human interaction when all seems hopeless.

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Takeoff by Joseph Reid

Picture shows the book cober with a picture of a plane taking off, the runway beneath it and the sky at night-time, with the book's title in large white letters underneath the plane. The author's name is in yellow letters at the bottom of the cover

The first in a three-book series, Takeoff is a fast-paced, action-packed book perfect for fans of Lee Child and John Sandford. Investigator and former air marshal Seth Walker sets off on his first case: To deliver Max Magic, a female pop star, to the FBI in Los Angeles. It sounds simple enough, but their routine flight ends in a shootout at LAX, leaving Seth and Max on the run. Who can Seth trust, and how will he get Max home safely? And could the dark secrets Max has been keeping have anything to do with it all?

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Mystery, thriller, and suspense

The Other Wife by Claire McGowan

Photo shows the cover of The Other Wife, with a dark blue background showing a picture of a house with lights on in the windows, and yellow text with the book's title.

The Other Wife is one of those books that really gets under your skin, leaving you feeling distinctly uneasy long after you’ve turned the final page. This Amazon charts bestseller follows the story of three strangers who realize they have more in common than they thought. There’s Suzi, who made a mistake and is paying for it, living in an isolated cottage with her jealous husband; Nora, who moves in nearby and quickly becomes Suzi’s friend (but seems to be hiding something); and Elle, who places a high price on perfection while dealing with the betrayal of her husband. When a shocking event brings them all together, their lives will never be the same.

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The Butterfly Garden (The Collector Book 1) by Dot Hutchison

Photo shows a black book cover with a white picture of a butterfly and text in white and red with the book's title and the author name

In the vein of Silence of the Lambs, this horrifying novel — the first in a four-book series — follows the story of the Gardener, a twisted individual obsessed with capturing and preserving “butterflies,” young women he kidnaps and tattoos to resemble various species of butterfly. When FBI agents Brandon Eddison and Victor Hanoverian uncover the garden and bring survivor Maya in for questioning, they’re as puzzled by the girl’s twisting and turning story as they are the existence of the Butterfly Garden itself. The agents can’t help but wonder: What is Maya still hiding?

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The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

Picture shows a book cover with a navy blue background and a picture of a firefly with yellow text saying The Light of the Fireflies and smaller white text with the author name

Bestselling author Paul Pen’s haunting novel has been translated from Spanish by Simon Bruni but doesn’t lose any of its magic in the translation. A boy lives his entire life underground, confined to a series of rooms with his family, who were disfigured in a fire before he was born. He spends his days reading, with his cactus, or investigating the single ray of sunlight that filters in through a crack in the roof — little things that bring magic to his daily existence. When his sister gives birth, he starts to wonder if his family is hiding something from him. Who is the baby’s father, who does he hear walking on the floor above in the night, and just what is keeping them down there, locked away? The Light of the Fireflies translation has sold over 100,000 copies worldwide — and it’s definitely one you’ll want to read with the lights on.

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In the Dark by Loreth Anne White

The cover of the book is black with yellow writing in a large font for the title, and smaller writing in a white font at the bottom with the author's name - and there are some eerie images of trees - a wood, possibly - in the background

This modern adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None takes place at a remote mountain lodge, where eight lucky strangers have arrived to enjoy a spa retreat. Trapped by a fierce storm and cut off from the outside world, they quickly discover nothing as it seems — and something or someone is hunting them, one by one. This is a haunting tale of suspense that’s best read with a steaming mug of tea while cozied under a blanket or in the tub — but keep the lights on, whatever you do.

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History and politics

What It Takes: The Way to the White House by Richard Ben Cramer

If you prefer your reading a little more political, pick up this book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author Richard Ben Cramer. It’s an intense ride along the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign trail, with timeless insight into this unique moment in history. Get up close and personal with the six presidential candidates: George H.W. “Poppy” Bush, Gary Hart, Joe Biden, Richard Gephardt, Bob Dole, and Michael Dukakis, and find out what makes otherwise ordinary people decide to throw their hat in the ring as candidates for leadership of the free world. While this isn’t a book to dip into on your morning commute, it’s great for those days you have a bit more time to dedicate to reading and offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the candidates.

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Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Whether you’ve seen the 2013 movie of the same name or not, Twelve Years a Slave is a must-read. The 1853 memoir and slave narrative of Solomon Northup, a free-born African American who was kidnapped by slave traders, is a moving, vital account of forcible enslavement — and it should be on everyone’s bookshelf. If you haven’t already seen the movie, we’d definitely recommend reading the book first.

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Biographies and memoirs

A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir by Jason Diakité

The bright pink cover of A Drop of Midnight by Jason Diakite. The book title is in large blue font at the top, under which is a blue and black portrait of the author in profile. The author's name is in white letters at the bottom

If you’re looking for a compelling memoir to read right now, look no further. Written by world-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité, A Drop of Midnight takes you on a vivid and incredibly intimate journey through his and his family’s history. Jason was born to interracial parents in Sweden and is Swedish, American, Black, white, Cherokee, Slovak, and German — with complex family roots that left him in constant search of self and a sense of belonging. Drawing on conversations with his parents, long-lost letters, personal experiences, and pilgrimages to New York and South Carolina, Jason’s memoir paints a vivid picture of ambition, family, race, and discrimination — and couldn’t be more appropriate reading for the era we find ourselves living in. This unflinching look at the author’s own history and that of generations affected by the trauma of the African diaspora, then and now, should be on everyone’s bookshelf.

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Rebooting My Brain: How a Freak Aneurysm Reframed My Life by Maria Ross

The cover of the book shows the title at the top, underneath which there is a picture of a Russian nesting doll with the top taken off, and the author's name in blue lettering beneath

At times funny and at times incredibly touching and heart-wrenching, Maria Ross’s memoir tells the true story of what happens when a crisis changes your life forever. When an undetected brain aneurysm ruptured, almost killing her, the emotional and cognitive challenges she faced along the long road back to health led to her reframing her life, her identity, and her work. This is not only one of the most inspirational books we’ve ever read, but it’s also an insightful look into the answers to the question “How do our brains define who we are?” — and it will leave you with a sense of gratefulness and wonder.

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Classic literature

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

Cover of the book shows a picture of a man standing on a chair to make an announcement at a table full of other men. The book title and author name are below the picture

The Pickwick Papers was actually Charles Dickens’ first novel and became the world’s first publishing phenomenon, with merchandise related to the book, theatrical performances, and bootleg copies. Originally serialized in monthly installments, today it remains one of Dickens’ most popular works, with its popular characters Sam Weller and Mr. Pickwick bringing no end of delight not only to fans of Dickens but lovers of classic literature the world over. If you’re looking to combine classic literature and humor, this is the perfect read — many of the quotes are laugh-out-loud funny.

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Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Picture shows the cover of Vanity Fair, which is divided in two diagonally - the top section is cream and the bottom a bottle green. The title is at the top and in the middle is a circular image showing two men and two women in period clothing dancing

If you can get past its daunting size — at 720 pages, it’s going to keep you busy for a while — William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair is a book everybody should read at least once. A sharp, witty look at the upper-class Regency world, as seen through the eyes of Becky Sharp and the rather more retiring Amelia Sedley, it looks at the position of women in a male-dominated society. Here, everybody strives for things that are not worth having, and Miss Becky Sharp is more determined than most to climb to the heights of English society. The 2018 TV series starring Olivia Cooke and the earlier 2004 movie with Reese Witherspoon as Becky are both worth watching — once you’ve read the novel.

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A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

Picture shows the book cover which has a dark red background, The book's title is in a large white font at the top, underneath which is a table setting with a plate, knife and fork. On the plate is the quote "Infants' flesh will be in season throughout the year..." and underneath is the author's name in white font

A classic you may not have heard of, A Modest Proposal, by the author of the better-known Gulliver’s Travels, may be short at just 25 pages long, but its satirical take on the divide between rich and poor in 18th-century Ireland ensures it’s an entertaining read. Nowhere else will you hear an author suggest — however humorously — selling poor Irish children as food to the wealthy. Pick up a copy for a friend before reading, as it’s a book you’ll definitely want to discuss.

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Persuasion by Jane Austen

Photo shows the cover of Persuasion by Jane Austen with a picture of a man and woman in period dress embracing and the title in white font on a dark blue background above the image

Pride and Prejudice seems to be the most popular of Jane Austen’s books, but Persuasion features one of her most reliable, mature heroines. Part fairytale, part social commentary, the book tells the story of Anne Elliot, single and past her prime at the age of 27, with a broken engagement to Captain Frederick Wentworth in her past and a seemingly bleak future. But after a chance opportunity to reconnect with her former lover, could Anne have a second chance at romance, on her terms? If you read one Jane Austen novel, this should be it.

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Historical fiction

One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow by Olivia Hawker

Photo shows the cover of the book with a view of the Wyoming countryside and the title in red font

Wyoming, 1876, the middle of a harsh winter — the setting for Olivia Hawker’s American frontier tale, a powerful story of two families doing their best to survive and thrive in remote conditions. Following his wife’s betrayal with their neighbor, Ernest Bemis’ jealous rage leads to the man’s murder — and he’s sent off to prison as a result. Meanwhile, the two families come together in his absence, raising their children and working the land. But when love blossoms between their children, their relationship is once again tested — can they trust each other, or will they lose everything? With vividly crafted descriptions of Wyoming, well-developed characters, and a slow-burning plot, this is a book to curl up with as the night draws in.

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Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim

Photo of the book cover shows two women in period dresses, one green, one red, with a backdrop of a grand country house surrounded by trees. The title of the book is in a dark red, historic font

Set in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War, Mustard Seed tells the intertwining stories of Lisbeth Johnson, a privileged white woman; her nurse, Mattie; and Mattie’s son, Jordan Freedman, born into slavery. The unlikely bond between Lisbeth and Mattie forms the heart of the story as they return to the plantation they both once called home after Lisbeth discovers her father is dying. You’ll come to really care about the characters and the injustice they face in this novel that transports you to 1868 Ohio — and if you enjoy this book, you should also check out Yellow Crocus, the author’s debut novel.

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Science Fiction and Fantasy

Split Second by Douglas E. Richards

Michael Crichton fans will love Split Second, a near-future thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Wired. Time travel novels seem to be everywhere these days, but this is a unique take, posing the question:

“What if you found a way to send something back in time? But not weeks, days, or even minutes back. What if you could only send something back a fraction of a second? Would this be of any use? You wouldn’t have nearly enough time to right a wrong, change an event, or win a lottery.”

Physicist Nathan Wexler thinks he’s found a way to send objects back into the past — but only by a split second. There’s no time to confirm this, though, as he and his fiancée soon find themselves battling for their lives. They’re about to realize that time travel to an instant earlier isn’t as useless as it seems.

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Bone Music by Christopher Rice

The first book in The Burning Girl trilogy, Bone Music is a gripping thriller about Charlotte (Charley) Rowe, who is abducted by serial killers after her mother’s brutal murder. But the nightmare doesn’t end when she’s rescued — she’s exploited by her real father who sells her story to the tabloids. Fleeing her past and hoping to put it to rest, Charley is soon swept into a new, terrifying series of events after being secretly dosed with an experimental drug that bestows new powers upon her. Pursued by a shadowy corporation bent on controlling her, Charley uses her extraordinary abilities to fight the evil in her life, becoming a weapon hell-bent on vengeance and taking on predators not unlike those responsible for her harrowing childhood. We found ourselves unable to put this book down and devoured it in one sitting. Luckily, the third book in the trilogy has just been published, so you won’t have to wait to find out what happens.

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Quantum Space by Douglas Phillips

Book cover is black with a picture of space craft and planets, and the title in large gold letters, with the author name at the bottom in white letters

The first book in the Quantum trilogy, Quantum Space tells the story of a Russian Soyuz capsule — with three astronauts on board — beginning its re-entry. There’s a shimmer, a blinding flash of light, and the capsule vanishes. But what really happened? When a communications facility on the other side of the world picks up a transmission that could be from one of the astronauts, it’s clear that lives are on the line. NASA operations analyst Marie Kendrick and government science investigator Daniel Rice must work together to track down the cause, plunging into the bizarre world of quantum physics. One for fans of Arthur C. Clarke and Greg Bear, this book has its roots planted firmly in real science, with a believable yet out-there plot and characters you’ll be rooting for.

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The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg

The book cover is black with a picture of a Russian nesting doll and the title in large white letters

Fans of the Paper Magician Trilogy will love Charlie N. Holmberg’s latest offering — and if you haven’t discovered her books yet, this is the perfect place to start. One for lovers of modern fantasy, it follows the story of Matrona, who lives life in an isolated village and is focused on pleasing her parents and being a good daughter. One day, her life changes entirely when she discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls in the local tradesman’s house — one for every villager. Upon opening the doll with her father’s face, her father begins acting strangely, and Matrona realizes the dolls are far more than they seem.

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Romance

Regretting You by Colleen Hoover

Admittedly, we’re not the biggest fans of romance novels, but we’re happy to make an exception for Collen Hoover’s Regretting You, which is far too easy to lose yourself in. The No. 1 Wall Street Journal bestseller is a heartwarming tale of love, family, betrayal, and grief. Morgan Grant and her 16-year-old daughter, Clara, are the typical mother and daughter — they want nothing more than to be nothing alike. While Morgan is determined her daughter won’t make the same mistakes she did — getting pregnant and marrying young — Clara is adamant she won’t follow in her mother’s footsteps. Constantly arguing and struggling to coexist, it seems the only one who can keep the peace is Morgan’s husband and Clara’s father, Chris. But when Chris is involved in a tragic accident, Morgan and Clara struggle to rebuild their lives, Morgan finding comfort in the last person she expects, and Clara turning to the boy she’s forbidden to see. As resentments and secrets build and mother and daughter grow increasingly further apart, will they ever fall back together?

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Shadow of a Century by Jean Grainger

If you like your romance with a dose of history, Shadow of a Century from Irish author Jean Grainger is just the ticket. Telling the stories of three women across the span of a century, against the backdrop of the Irish rebellion, this beautifully written book has been billed as more than your typical love story. One to keep you up at night turning its pages, Jean Grainger has written a sad yet uplifting story set in Ireland and New York — and it’s definitely a book you’ll want to re-read once it’s all over.

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That Month in Tuscany by Inglath Hooper

Book cover has a picture of a bright red building with green windows, in front of which is parked a grey scooter. The book title is in white letters to the center

Part of the Take me There series, this is the perfect book to read during the ongoing pandemic, when you’re stuck at home after canceled travel plans. Written by RITA Award-winning author Inglath Cooper, the book follows the story of Ren Sawyer, a rock star with a secret, and Lizzy Harper, a regular woman who has been stood up by her husband before their anniversary trip. When they meet on a flight to Italy, Lizzy literally drops into Ren’s lap, and despite their differences on the surface, there’s undeniable chemistry. As they explore the hills of Tuscany and the streets of Florence, the adventure will change them both forever.

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Comics and graphic novels

The Essential Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Photo shows the cover of The Essential Calvin and Hobbes with illustrations by Bill Watterson

Calvin and Hobbes need no introduction, and whether you’re a long-time fan of Bill Watterson’s colorful characters or new to this brilliant comic strip, this is sure to delight. It’s worth noting that this can only be viewed on color tablets, not on your desktop PC or black and white e-reader, but don’t let that deter you. Following the imaginative adventures of Calvin and his tiger, Hobbes, this collection brings together the first two Calvin and Hobbes collections, Calvin and Hobbes and Something Under the Bed Is Drooling, as well as an original, full-color, 16-page story.

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The Boys Volume One: The Name of the Game

Picture shows the black and red graphic novel cover of The Boys: Volume 1

We’ve finally finished watching season 1 of The Boys on Amazon Prime Video and can’t wait for season 2 to start — but if you’re missing the antics of Homelander, Starlight, and A-Train, this graphic novel should keep you entertained until it drops on September 4. With an introduction from Simon Pegg, this collects issues 1 through 6 of The Boys — but don’t expect it to be anything like the TV show. Garth Ennis’s graphic novel is delightfully depraved, with gore, cursing, and a cliffhanger of an ending that will leave you rushing to read volume 2 — also available for free on Prime Reading. It’s an introduction to this dark and grimy world that’s essential reading for fans of the show, although if you haven’t seen season 1 yet, we’d recommend watching it first to avoid spoilers.

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Self-help

The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Picture shows the book cover which is half blue, half white, with the title in large white letters at the top and the author's name in smaller letters at the bottom

This year, we’re more into wellness than ever before, so no list of books is complete without a couple of self-help titles. Captivating readers for over 25 years, Stephen R. Covey’s book is just as relevant and popular today as it was when it was first published. Its easy-to-understand infographic format helps you to be more effective and successful, guiding you through each habit step by step, from Habit 1: Be Proactive to Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw. This inspiring, insightful book can help you broaden your way of thinking, improve your problem-solving abilities, and help you to be more successful in both your business and personal life. If you’re just getting back to work after lockdown or want to make the most of 2020, this is definitely a book you should read.

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To-Do List Formula by Damon Zahariades

Picture shows an orange book cover with a black bar at the top with the title writting in white and orange letters. Beneath this is some text in white that says A stress-free guide to creating to-do lists that work. There are three circular pictures of to-do lists beneath this, and the author's name in black font at the bottom of the cover

Yes, some of us are those people who love to make lists. If you’re the same, then Damon Zahariades’ To-Do List Formula is going to be right up your alley. Juggling a hectic workload and personal life isn’t always easy, so if you find yourself getting frustrated that you never manage to tick off every item on your to-do list — we’ve all been there — this is the book you need. The author teaches a simple yet effective approach to creating to-do lists that actually work and make your life easier as a result, with step-by-step instructions for creating the perfect list and tips for how to keep your to-do list system running smoothly. Designed to help you be more productive, reduce your stress levels, and enjoy more free time, this book is a must-have if your goal this year is to be more organized and productive.

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Editors' Recommendations