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Where to get Sherlock Holmes for Kindle for free

In planning to re-read all the Sherlock Holmes books, I hoped to find a beautifully formatted, complete version at zero cost. Here are the options I uncovered.

The complete Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories can be downloaded for free from several websites. Sites such as Project Gutenberg, Standard Ebooks and others. There are also free books available in the Kindle store itself. The method of sending it to the Kindle depends on its file format.

Exhibit A. Sherlock Holmes novels on the Kindle. And a puzzle about the highlighted text below from A Study in Scarlet. Clues are marked in this post with {!}

We don’t want to sacrifice our precious time trying to scour the internet for high-quality free copies. And then filter those with the features we are looking for. So we’ve done the research hoping to save you time.

The following sources vary in the file formats offered and also have differences in the actual content of the ebook. The features we’ll be looking for include:

  • Completeness (4 novels and 5 short story collections in the official canon)
  • Having covers
  • Having a table of contents
  • Chapter breaks
  • Paragraph indentions
  • Straight quotes vs curly quotes
  • AZW3 vs MOBI file formats (affects how we send to the Kindle)
  • Is the book searchable?
  • Can we highlight and export notes?

100% free sources for Sherlock Holmes eBooks

All the ebooks in these websites are searchable, can be highlighted, and notes exported. Most of them though are inconsistent with displaying covers in the Kindle’s home screen.

Most of these websites will require you to download the file to your computer and send it to the Kindle. See this article for detailed steps on how to send files to the Kindle. It’s the same for PDF and non-PDF files.

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Project Gutenberg

This is one of the most popular and comprehensive sources for free ebooks. It’s also the oldest. Founded in 1971, it currently hosts over 60,000 free ebooks. 

As of this writing, all 4 novels and 4 short-story collections can be downloaded from the website. Only the last short-story collection, “The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes” isn't available.

This version shows a table of contents both as the first few pages, and in the Kindle’s Go To menu. 

It doesn’t seem to display italics compared to the others in this list.

Most of the ebooks are in English, but there are also quite a few in different languages. 

Project Gutenberg lists down different versions, including some with illustrations embedded inside. This is the only one on the list that explicitly indicates whether illustrations are included.

Here’s a shortcut to the Arthur Conan Doyle books from Project Gutenberg.

Sherlock-holm.es

This is a website dedicated solely to the complete canon of Sherlock Holmes. As of this writing, all 4 novels and 5 short-story collections can be downloaded. They have a single file version of the entire canon, as well as individual files per story.

This version looks well formatted, including curly braces and italics. Also, the page margins and chapter breaks look similar to the print edition.

The table of contents doesn’t appear in the first few pages. And the Kindle’s Go To menu shows fewer entries, instead of a way to jump straight to a chapter.

Click here to visit the Sherlock-holm.es website.

StandardeBooks.org

This website has one of the most well formatted ebooks available. Their goal is to produce ebooks that rival commercially available books in typography and formatting.

They even have a dedicated page describing how StandardEbooks is different.

There is a way to download thumbnails of the cover so it will appear in the Kindle’s homepage. However, I have not been able to get this to work consistently. Nonetheless, the cover is not really the original one, nor is it precisely relevant to the story. So not much loss there.

The table of contents don’t use up the first few pages, and instead is easily accessible via the Kindle’s Go To menu.


Formatting is beautiful, including curly braces, italics, page margins and chapter breaks. Such attention to detail is demonstrated here: https://standardebooks.org/manual/

Perhaps the biggest challenge with Standard EBooks is the fact that they only have the newer .azw3 file type for the Kindle. Not the older, albeit more popular .mobi file type. Strangely, Amazon won’t allow us yet to send .azw3 files to the Kindle via the usual send to email method. We would have to connect the Kindle to the computer and manually upload the files.

More details about how to upload .azw3 files here.

And here’s a shortcut to the Arthur Conan Doyle books from StandardeBooks.org.

GlobalGreyEbooks.com

According to their website, they have over 3,000 quality eBooks available. This includes all Sherlock Holmes’ 4 novels and 5 short story collections. 

Amongst the other sources listed above, I’ve only been able to show the covers from GlobalGreyEbooks.com on the home screen consistently. 

Table of contents are displayed both on the first few pages and the Kindle’s Go To menu.

However, formatting doesn’t have the same chapter breaks and paragraph indentation. Italics and curly braces also don't show.

Here’s a shortcut to the Sherlock Holmes series in GlobalGreyEbooks.com

100% Free from the Kindle Store

The Kindle store itself also has some free copies of Sherlock Holmes stories. However, it’s quite limited. As of this writing, only the Valley of Fear novel and the short stories of The Last Bow collection are available.

You can find them by going to the Kindle store and clicking on Advanced Search.

Enter “Sherlock Holmes” in the Keywords field and “Arthur Conan Doyle” in the Author field.

Then select “Price: Low to High” under “Sort Results By.”

Hit Search.

Here’s a shortcut link to the search results page in the Kindle store.

The results page will show you a list of Arthur Conan Doyle books starting with a price tag of $0. 

Kindle Unlimited books will show up as well, though not technically free because you have to pay for the subscription.

The advantage of these books compared to other sources is it's very easy to download them straight to your device. No issues with the covers not showing up, and the formatting is guaranteed to look good on the Kindle.

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Near Free from the Kindle Store

Continuing the search that you did above, you’ll find that there are several Sherlock Holmes books priced at $1.99 or below. 

The prices are always changing, but here are a few examples as of this writing:

Hopefully that saves you time so you can get started reading right away. As always, if you have other Kindle questions you need investigated, please do not hesitate to drop us a line.

P.S. Here's the answer to the puzzle in Exhibit A.

Posted By
Ian
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