When I was in college I would tell my parents that they should be thanking me because instead of spending their money on drinks I was spending it on books. To be honest, they might have preferred me to spend it on drinks given the frequency with which I visited the local bookstores. They probably thank their lucky stars that this was before the widespread use of eBooks came about!
After I graduated and started supporting my own book habit, I realized that I needed to make some changes. But it wasn’t until we had kids and I stopped working that my book purchases really took a hit. The bigger problem was that I still wanted to read! And, honestly, reading is one thing that really decompresses me.
So I’ve searched high and low to find the best ways to find quality books for free or very inexpensively. I rarely ever buy books for full price. The exceptions are authors that I absolutely have to read as soon as their books come out (Melanie Shankle, Sophie Hudson, and Erynn Mangum are some of those). For all others I wait until I can get the books for a reduced price or get gift cards for my birthday or Christmas and then I purchase. I’ve been asked where I find all the books, so today I wanted to share my favorite book resources.
BookBub sends you emails daily with lists of free and discount books. When you sign up (it’s free) you select genre’s that interest you and then they send you one book from the different sections daily. Sometimes the books are hit or miss or most are discounted but still more than I want to pay for an untested author, but I have found some real gems through their daily emails. I included children’s as one of my genre’s and I have gotten a lot of books for my kids through these emails. Kids books like that are great for travel!
The majority of my free book downloads come from this website. You can either receive notifications through Facebook or can sign up for their email on their website. They share an abundance of books of all types (fiction, non-fiction, devotions, etc). Because they are only dealing with Christian books they often notify me of more books than the Christian genre’s in BookBub. If you want to start in one place, this is the place I would start.
This group is more of a conversation focused group where people converse about books they’re reading, enjoying, feedback, etc. There are sometimes sale threads or shares related to free or discount books as well though. I’ve had great success pinging this group when I’m looking for a particular type of book and have a long list of authors that I’m waiting to try from recommendations from group members.
This site is run by publishers and gives you access to free books, often before they are available for purchase. There are a few caveats to this though. One is that you must request the book from the publisher and get approved before you can read the book. Another is that you are receiving the book in exchange for an honest review to the publisher via a form on their site as well as a review on any or multiple platforms (Amazon, B&N, blog, etc). I don’t think that the review publicly is required but I would assume that it would influence your receipt of future books from the publisher. A third quirk is that you are often receiving books before the final edit has been completed so some have rampant typo’s or formatting issues. If you can look past this it’s a great place to receive quality books in basically any genre for free.
Another site that gives you free digital books in exchange for a review but this one is more geared towards bloggers. I signed up for this site but haven’t used it at all so I don’t know all the details or features about it, but if you want to devote some blog space to books this is a good place to look for free ones.
Your Local Library
Libraries are always a great source of free books but it can often be hard to find new releases or find time to get to the library. Our public library has a digital catalog as well as their print catalog and they allow you to “check out” digital books just like you check out printed books. Every library is going to be different but you should be able to find the information about this service on the library’s website and might not even have to go into the physical library to use the service.
An Author’s Social Media Platforms
I often get first notice of free or discounted books straight from authors. I follow some of my favorites on their social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, etc) and they are always quick to notify their fans of any sales or freebies that are coming up on their books. Plus, you get an inside look at their writing process so it’s a win-win!
I find books incredibly relaxing (even when I’m reading intense mysteries and drama’s) and love finding new ones to read. But, my budget doesn’t allow me to head to the bookstore very often and a lot of the free books that are out there if you just look through lists on sites like Amazon can be not very good reads. By using some of these resources I’ve been able to increase the quality of my reading material while also limiting my book related spending. I’d love to know about any other free or discounted book resources. Let me know in the comments how you find books to read!