How to Store Your eBook Library Online On the Cheap

11407100023_b222f61cc5_hAfter stripping the DRM from their ebooks, the biggest concern for any ebook lover is how to store an ebook library so it is safe, secure, and easily accessible. For many that means storing their library online so it can be accessed from anywhere.

There are many options for online storage, including (as a reader reminded us yesterday) buying your own NAS and setting it up a file server on your own home network. One could also set up a LibraryBox, but that is more of a local solution than an online one.

And in any case, I for one prefer to look for the cheapest options available. And since I am looking for a solution this weekend, I thought it would be useful to share my notes.

So here's a quick survey of the free service tiers for the major cloud storage providers. (Please let me know if I missed one, or if there's a question I forgot to ask.)

The tl;dr version is that Amazon, Google, and each give you 15GB of storage. Some limitations apply, so when you start browsing for a chosen platform, you should first ask yourself what exactly you want to do with it. Do you need an automatic sync? the ability to store huge files?

I just need a space to put my files so I can sync them every once in a while, but not everyone is so easy.

Amazon Cloud Drive

amazoncloud[1]Amazon only has the two paid tiers. The first costs $60 a year and offers unlimited storage for anything and everything, while the second costs $12 a year and lets you store as many photos as you like as well as an additional 5GB.

As for free service tier, Amazon only gives free storage to their existing customers:

  • Fire tablet owners get 5GB of storage to use as they wish.
  • Amazon Prime subscribers get the $12 a year plan included in their annual fee (5GB space plus unlimited space for photos).

Apps - You can access the storage from most web browsers, as well as Cloud Drive apps for iOS and Android or the third-party Windows/OSX app oDrive.


dropbox-logo[1]Dropbox lists a single paid tier on its website: $99 a year for up to 1TB of storage.

  • It also offers a free 2GB of storage to all users.

Apps - The storage can be accessed through a web browser, or through Dropbox apps for iOS, Android, OSX, or Windows. There's also a host of third-party apps which add unique features and support for other devices.

Microsoft OneDrive


Microsft recently changed their offering update the CS pages. The bold sentences are the new terms which will take effect in early 2016.

Microsoft will also sell you 100GB of storage for $2 a month (or 200GB for $4 a month). Starting in early 2016, the only paid storage will be 50GB for $2 a month.

The storage space is cumulative, and not concurrent (which means free plus paid storage plus freebies equals your total storage).

  • According to my account management pages, MS gives everyone 15GB of free storage. This will be reduced to 5GB in early 2016.
  • You can also sometimes get an additional 100GB of storage when you buy a Windows 8 tablet.
  • If you are an Office subscriber they'll give you 1TB of storage.

Apps - You can find apps for Windows, OSX, Android, iOS, and XBox. The service is also accessible through most web browsers.

Google Drive

google_drive_logo_3963[1]Google sells storage at 100GB for $2 a month or 1TB for $10 a month. There are more costly tiers as well as a different set of prices for Google Apps users.

Edit: A reader has pointed out that Google Drive mangles calibre's folder structure, and so the two are not compatible.

  • Anyone with a Google account gets 15GB of storage for free.
  • Last year Google also gave away a free 2GB bonus storage to anyone who filled out an online security review checklist.

Apps - Google has apps for Windows, OSX, Android, iOS, and Chrome.


This company is more business oriented, so it has more business plans than personal plans, but the paid consumer tier costs $10 a month for 100GB.

  • The free tier gets you 10GB, and a file size limit of 250MB.

Apps - You can find Box apps for Windows, OSX, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Touchpad, Windows Phonem and more. There are also third-party apps.

copy comBarracuda is a hard disk maker, but they also have other services, including cloud storage.  Its business service is known as CudaDrive, but the consumer-focused cloud storage can be found at

  •'s paid tiers start at $50 a year for 250GB ($100 a year for 1TB).
  • All users get a free 15GB, to start.

Apps - The files can be access through apps for Windows, iOS, Android, OSX, Windows Phone, and Linux.

image by perspec_photo88


About Nate Hoffelder (11222 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

18 Comments on How to Store Your eBook Library Online On the Cheap

  1. I am a newbie at this and would appreciate some help using the free space. I would like to be able to put my non-Amazon books (e.g. from Gutenberg, etc.) on the frees space so I can access them on my Kindle or a Kindle app on my Android tablet.

    Some questions about the services you mention:

    How do I upload my ebook files to the service.

    How do I access them from my Kindle or a Kindle app?

    • @ Bob

      The nice thing about the Kindle platform is that Amazon will let you upload your own ebooks and will host them for you. The ebooks can be downloaded from inside the Kindle app or the Kindle.

      I wrote a post on how to upload files to your Kindle account. Please let me know if you have any questions about it, or if it’s not clear.

      Downloading the ebooks from inside the Kindle app is as easy as opening the “Docs” menu in the app and selecting the ebook you want.

  2. MS needs to do a lot more than update the CS pages. They need to issue a real apology and explanation.
    They blamed it on a few user who were using 75TB. Apparently they didn’t read the definition of “unlimited” in the dictionary before advertising it.
    And how this justifies changing the free plan from 15GB to 5GB is not explained. They also appear to have forgotten all the early SkyDrive users who were grandfathered into a 25GB free plan (which I think will now be going down to 5GB).

    There user voice page says: “we will respond to every suggestion that gets at least 100 votes”. Last I checked 71,204 is more than 100, yet they have not posted any response.

  3. You know, you should probably include a Dropbox referral link in your article, if you’re going to link to Dropbox at all. I did that on TeleRead, and now between those links and the extra few gigs you get for enabling digital photo sharing, I’m up to 21.88 GB without paying a cent. 🙂

  4. Actually, if you are a little tech savvy (not much, 2-3 hours of effort at most would get all of this done from the start for the most ignorant), you could easily rent a VPS with 50-60GBs of storage for $10 or so yearly.

    After that, you just need to install COPS on the VPS, and setup a syncing system (I use rsync) locally. This is the result:

    I can connect from my Kobo and iPad. It even includes an online reader.

    This, I believe, is the best way to store an ebook library online. You are not just storing your calibre library files, you actually have an online library here.

  5. You need to add a warning about Google Drive – it can destroy your library if you use Calibre. See this post on MobileRead.

  6. You’re welcome. It’s been a problem since 2012 and it affects more than just Calibre. If you name any files ending with a number in parentheses Google Drive will change that number because that’s how it does its versioning.

  7. I didn’t care for Microsoft’s bait and switch. I had 10 free for loyalty, on top of the 15gb they give you free. I’m unsure if the new policy means they are snatching away anything they’ve given for loyalty too. Before that there was the Dropbox thing where people were loosing their accounts for sharing ebooks. Things like this and me not wanting to pay Dropbox 10 a month (at that time) lead me to pick up WD Mycloud. It’s mine and I’ve had it over a year and a half to where it’s paid off as far as paying the money to Dropbox.

  8. One more for the list – Copy/CudaDrive. 15 GB free storage, 250 GB for $5/mo, 1 TB for $10/mo. Windows, Mac, iOs, Linux and Android clients (not much in the way of 3rd part apps I’ve noticed, but the native ones work fine).

  9. An hour ago I transfered my Calibre Library from Dropbox to OneDrive. I then created a Symbolic Link back to Dropbox. So now my Calibre library is synced to two cloud providers at the same time, without increasing occupied space in my hard drive.
    Please note:
    a) I use Macintosh (you can create symlinks in Windows Vista or newer, but I have never done it)
    b) A Symbolic link is a special kind of alias(direct access). I use the program SymbolicLinker, available from MacUpdate ( The program is no longer developed, but it worked for me in Yosemite and now El Capitan.
    c) Please note: the link must be from OneDrive to Dropbox and not the other way round. OneDrive does not accept symbolic link

    • I’m planning to have my ebook library mirrored to several services as well. I already have my calibre library set up in the dropbox folder, and I had planned to install the apps for Amazon,, and Google Drive and point them all at that folder.

      Now I might just use a symlink instead. Thanks!

  10. I am going on vacation t a sort of remote place in the Philippines. I bought a Tablet thinking that this way I wouldn’t have to carry 50lbs of books with me, I thought the Tablet could somehow store books as Ebooks. I got an app from Project Gutenberg. Am trying to learn how to read books from Gutenberg but I don’t understand if I have to be Online to read the books? Because there may not be computer access in my cabin, there is electricity so I can charge battery.
    So I want to know if I can store these books I want from Gutenberg & call them up when I want to read them? How do I do this? Or is it possible? If not possble then do I put the books into PDFs & bring them onscreen that way? Do I have to worry about how much storage I have if I do this (how much storage does the Morte d’Arthur take up, for example?
    I can’t seem to find any information about how this thing works, I really need basic info. At least I was able to operate the Gutenberg app (if that’s what it is.
    I would really appreciate it if somebody could guide me through this, I am having a hard time with the Tablet in the first place, & am completely lost about wht to do

    • I would not recommend the app you tried – there are better options.

      What type of tablet is it? iPad, Android, Windows?

      I ask that first because I need the info so I can recommend an app.

      In any case, I also suggest that you try a different site for ebooks. PG does not make pretty ebooks. Here are five sites with free ebooks you should consider.

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