A reader has a question about sharing an eBook.

“A friend has bought a Kindle book from Amazon and is wanting to send it to a friend thru PDF. How does she go about doing this?”

Short answer, she doesn’t. Let me tell you why. Converting eBooks from Amazon and other retailers is generally the first step in pirating a book. Book “pirates” will put the books up for free on questionable websites or charge for it and steal the author’s profits.

Converting an Amazon book to a PDF to share with someone also violates the terms of service with Amazon and could cost your friend her account. But there are legitimate ways to share books. Some Kindle books even have a share option that allows you to share with just one friend for a limited time.

Or, your friend could simply purchase a gift copy of an eBook and send it to her friend via email. You don’t need a Kindle or an eReader to read Kindle books. They can be viewed on phones, tablets, and on a PC or Mac using the Kindle App or the free cloud reader.

Another legal option is to use a library option like the OverDrive app. You can borrow and read books on a PC and some of those books are offered in PDF form.

Be very careful downloading a PDF of a newer book from any website that purports to offer free books. Sometimes it’s a trap to get malware on your computer.

There are dozens of free sites like BookBub that can direct you towards legitimate free offers on Amazon. However, just because a book is offered for free by an author, doesn’t mean they are giving you permission to copy it.

I’m sensitive about this because I sell novels on Amazon and my books have been pirated. Most authors are lucky to make a dollar or so each book they sell, so I can’t condone taking that dollar out of our pockets.

One exception is public domain books. There are many works like Shakespeare, Poe, and more available free in PDF form. But there’s no need to convert an Amazon Kindle book. Go to a site like the Guttenberg project to read or download in PDF form. I’ll warn you, you aren’t going to find much from the 21st Century there.

The only person who can legally convert an eBook to a PDF to distribute is the author.

If your friend needs help in finding a legal way to share books, I’d be glad to help her. Just drop me a line.