Five Ways to Get Books for Free

5 Ways to GetBooks for Free

Kristen left the following comment on my book post yesterday:

Where do you get your books inexpensively? I’m always a fan of the library, but they don’t carry all the books I want. I’ve tried requesting some on paperback book swap, but it seems some of the lesser known books are hard to find on there. I’m guessing you use swagbucks for Amazon, but just curious. Thank you!

I basically never pay for any book. I just can’t justify it when I have found other ways to get books for practically free. Would you like to know how? Well, here are my top five ways to get books for free:

1) Request Review Copies From the Publisher

I used to do this a lot back when I had my other blog and was writing regular book reviews. If you’re a blogger or review books for another type of media, you can fairly easily obtain free review copies from the publisher. Just search for the publisher of a book (you can often find this on Amazon) and then find their website and look for contact information for review copies.

Most publishers state their review copy policy right on their website and many are extremely generous in their willingness to send review copies to bloggers. However, please do not take advantage of this. Only request books you are truly interested in, and which you will write a review on your blog about.

Many publishers are also more than happy to do a giveaway along with your review and see this as extra exposure for them. So it never hurts to ask, if you’re sure you’ll like the book!

I no longer actively ask for review copies, but I do receive a few each month from various publishers who are wanting me to review their book on my blog. So occasionally, some of the books I read come compliments of the publisher.

2) Request Books on PaperBackSwap

PaperBackSwap is one of my favorite resources for getting books inexpensively–or even free! You only pay postage to swap books you already have on hand for books you’d like to add to your library.

You start out by adding 10 books to their system. Once you’d added your 10 books, you’ll get 2 free credits. And then every time someone requests a book of yours and you send it out, you’ll get another credit. Most books only cost one credit–even big hardcover volumes.

I recommend that you add books to your wishlist, instead of looking through the books they currently offer. You’ll get an email notification when the book is available and have 48 hours to respond and request it. I’ve been amazed at some of the really nice almost-brand-new $20 and $30 books we’ve added to our library this way!

If you want to keep your costs down, stick with only listing books that are lightweight. Also, the more popular your book is, the more likely it will get requested–which means another credit for you!

In addition to listing extra books you already have around your home, you could pick up 10 cent books you find at thrift stores or garage sales and list these as well, if you’re needing more credit.

3) Check Out Books at the Library

Of course, no list of ways to get free books would be complete without a mention of the library! I’ve checked out countless books from the library over the years; it’s an invaluable resource!

If you have a relatively small library that doesn’t have a great selection, check and see if they offer Inter-Library loan. Most libraries do, and this offers a much, much broader selection. You have to request the book and then wait for it to come in, but it’s free–which usually makes it worth a bit of a wait!

You can also suggest books for your library to purchase. They might not heed your suggestion, but it’s always worth a shot.

4) Borrow Book from Friends

I’m always swapping books with friends–and this is a great way to keep your reading materials varied! Just be sure that you keep track of what books you’ve borrowed and loaned out. And return the books in the same condition they were loaned in. Otherwise, your friends might not be so excited to loan you books again!

5) Buy Books With Swagbucks

If there is a book I really want to add to our library (not just borrow) and I can’t get it in PaperBackSwap, then I usually will save up my Swagbucks to “buy” it. Swagbucks offers a great deal on the Barnes and Noble gift cards so I often request those as rewards. And then I try to wait until Barnes and Noble runs a free shipping deal, and I have a coupon code. Combining that with shopping through a cashback site, I can usually get a great deal on a book I really want–all for free because Swagbucks is covering the tab!

What are your favorite ways to get books for free? Tell us about it in the comments section.

photo credit: uitdragerij

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  1. says

    I do all of those except paperbackswap and swagbucks. I’ve had pretty good luck with the library so far even though sometimes I have to wait. I just got The Help yesterday and have had it on hold for about 3 months. I also check GoodWill once in a while for cheap books.

  2. Lisa Augustine says

    A great way to get new books very inexpensively is to host a Usborne Books Home, Catalog or Electronic Show (or all three). It is a great excuse to get your friends together for a snack and talk about your favorite things: kids, literature and bargains! And the products are amazing and come with a guarantee! A hostess pays just $2 plus tax for her earned books. You can visit to find a consultant near you.

  3. Angie says

    For kids – – Dolly Parton started this in her home county in TN and it has spread nationwide. Just register your children and if your county participates, your child gets a free book every month until they turn 5 – completely free! I’ve heard they they do periodically send requests for donations, but you don’t have to pay to continue to participate.

  4. says

    Thanks so much for these valuable tips – I completely agree on not paying for books if they can be borrowed or swapped. The same goes for my son’s play station games. I am attempting to teach him to not spend money but using various places online to swap, or use thrift stores or garage sales. Not always he wants to listen.

  5. says

    thanks for all the tips! sharing with friends is SO useful, im at the point where i’ve basically started my own library system to keep track of which friend has which books because we share so much!

    i have yet to try it but i’ve also heard entering book giveaways is fairly successful because they generally have low entry rates.

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