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Do you love reading but also want to make sure you don’t break your budget with book purchases? 😉 Reading doesn’t have to cost very much money at all, I promise! This post covers my top tips on how to get FREE books!
Marlena emailed in and asked the following question:
I’m motivated by all the books that you read! I’ve made me a list of (just) TEN books for this year for myself. My library only carries two on my list. I can’t afford to go out and buy all these books. (I doubt you do the same). How can I find all the books I want to read on my tight stay-at-home-mom budget? Thanks for ALL you do! -Marlena
Way to go on making reading a priority, Marlena! I promise that you won’t regret it.
How to Get Free Books
I’m constantly on the lookout for new book ideas to add to my crazily-long list of Books I Want to Read. Since I read so voraciously, I’ve had to come up with some creative ways to feed my reading addiction without running us out of house and home.
Not all of my ideas may work for everyone, but here’s a list of eight tips I’ve used to get books for free or almost free throughout the years:
1. Earn Free Books from MyReaderRewards
My Reader Rewards Club is a site that gives you the opportunity to earn free books and audio by filling out surveys, referring friends, and more.
It’s very easy to earn a free book — without even having to refer a friend!
My Reader Rewards Club offers Christian books from Tyndale, including Nonfiction books, Fiction books, Parenting books, Kid’s books, Audiobooks, Ministry Resources, and more! They even have Adventures in Odyssey audios and books!
Our family has gotten a number of free books from them over the past few years and I have loved being able to get brand-new books completely free!
Read more on how to easily earn books with MyReaderRewards.
2. Download Free Audiobooks from Libby
It’s no secret that I absolutely love books. And I try to invest at least a little bit of time in reading every single day.
But on really full days, fitting in reading time can be a challenge. Which is why I’m so grateful for audiobooks! They are the perfect solution to making reading a priority — even if you aren’t able to physically sit down and read a book.
Psst! Do you struggle with finding time to read? Read this post, plus check out these practical tips on how to find more time to read each day!
However, if you buy audiobooks online, they are often quite expensive — typically more than you’d pay for the paperback or hardback copy. Which is why I’m a fan of finding ways to listen to FREE audiobooks.
Back in 2016, I told you about 8 Ways to Get Audiobooks for FREE. If you haven’t read that post, you’ll want to go read it right now.
I talked specifically about the Overdrive and Hoopla apps in that post — apps that allow you to “check out” audiobooks for free from your local library. Most libraries have since switched over to the Libby app, an app that is much more user-friendly and less clunky to use. And I have become a huge fan of it.
I liked the Overdrive app and the Hoopla app, but I LOVE the Libby app! There are so many different audiobooks to choose from on it and they are all at my favorite price point: FREE!
Read more on how to listen to free Audiobooks with the Libby app.
3. Check Out Free Books at the Library & Through Inter-Library Loan
Of course, no list of how 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 Free Books 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.
Also, it goes without saying, but 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. Download Free Ebooks
If you have any sort of mobile device — an iPhone, iPad, iTouch, or other mobile device — there are dozens upon dozens of free books you can download on a daily basis. We even post free eBook round-ups to make it easy for you!
You don’t need a Kindle tablet to read the free eBooks. Just download the FREE Kindle reader app to access your free eBooks on any mobile device or computer.
Tip: Most public libraries also offer free ebooks on their site that you can borrow and download to your device for a few weeks.
6. Check Thrift Stores, Used Book Sales, and Garage Sales
Thrift stores, used book sales, and garage sales can be a goldmine for book lovers. Best of all, they’ll often have fill-a-bag sales where you can fill as many books into a designated bag as you’re able to — all for a few dollars.
You can also find bargains on hot titles that you can swap/trade on PaperBackSwap, at a Little Free Library, or at your favorite local book store! This is an easy way to get titles you want for very little money out of pocket!
7. Sign Up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Station
Okay, so this one is for kids, but I still had to share it! If you have a child between the ages of 0 to 5 and your local area participates, you can sign up to get free children’s books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
We’ve never personally used this, but I’ve heard from others that they send nice, high-quality books really regularly.
There are participating communities within the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Republic of Ireland. Check to see if your area participates here.
8. Buy Used From Amazon or Barnes & Noble
When I do actually “buy” books, I use my Swagbucks credit to buy them. Swagbucks offers a great deal on Barnes & Noble and Amazon gift cards, so I often request those as rewards.
Not sure how to use Swagbucks? Read this post on how to earn Swagbucks gift cards.
However, I usually do not buy books brand-new, unless I’m buying them to support an author (which I’ve become pretty passionate about doing after releasing books myself!). Instead, I typically purchase the book used from Amazon or Barnes & Noble Marketplace. I’ve been amazed at how much money I’ve saved just by being willing to go with a book that has a little wear and tear on it!
In addition, Barnes and Noble sometimes runs free shipping deals or I’ll find 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!
Bonus Idea for Bloggers: Request Review Copies From the Publisher
If you’re a blogger or review books for another type of social media, you can fairly easily obtain free review copies from publishers. 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 don’t take advantage of this. Only request books you are truly interested in, and those that you truly plan to actually review on your blog.
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 week from various publishers who are hoping I’ll mention their book on my blog, social media, or podcast.
What are your favorite ways to get FREE or cheap books? I’d love to hear your ideas!