Obvious ways to get free or cheap books would be to check them out from the library or purchase from discounted book retailers, thrift stores, etc. But what happens when you’re stuck at home? Here are some simple ways to get books for free or cheap, so that you can read more at home!
How to Get Books for Free or Cheap
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Read From Your Own Stash
This may seem obvious, but some of ya’ll (and *ahem* me) may need the reminder. Check your bookshelves, nightstand, desk, and that random place you store things. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find an entire stack of books just waiting to be read. I still have several of the books off my list of 30+ Books to Read in 2020, waiting to be read, that I already own!
Swap Books with a Friend
So, I actually met one of my best friends IRL by arranging to meet up and exchange books we’d already read with one another. I’ve also had a friend drop off an entire box of books she’d read. It was like Christmas! In the same way you’re scouring your shelves for books you haven’t read yet, go through and do a purge. Be honest with yourself about authors you’ve outgrown; books you won’t read again, and don’t want to keep for aesthetics. 😉 Then offer to exchange them with local friends or, when you’re able, drop them off at your local used bookstore for store credit (yay!).
Organize a Virtual Book Exchange
Another idea, if you’re stuck at home, is to arrange a virtual book exchange. Organize a small group who is committed to sending a book (or more) to another person on the list. I’ve joined these types of book swaps, and they’re really fun! Who doesn’t love happy mail?
Listen to Discounted Audiobooks with the Chirp Books App
If you enjoy audiobooks, you’ve got to join Chirp Books. Use my affiliate link and get 20% off your first purchase! They send daily emails with audiobook deals, but you can easily change your notification settings to weekly or not at all. Enjoy deep discounts on quality bestsellers! I love audiobooks because I can listen to them while I’m doing chores around the house or going for a walk!
Request Book Review Copies from Publishers to Share Online
Okay, so for this one you actually have to have some sort of online presence. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you do. 😉 I’m not sure if you know this, but many publishers will send you free review copies of books that they want press coverage and publicity for. You can search directly on a publisher’s website or apply through sites like NetGalley. Be sure to thank the publisher and disclose online that you received the book(s) in exchange for your honest review. If you follow authors on GoodReads (Let’s be friends!), their PR team will sometimes offer free copies as well. Share on a blog and/or social media with appropriate brand/publisher/author tags and disclosures.
Get Free and Cheap Kindle Books with Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited
There are different ways you can enjoy free and cheap Kindle books through Amazon. The first is to have an Amazon Prime account. If you do, visit Prime Reading for a list of novels, comics and magazines, Kindle singles, and more, available for free! You can also search Kindle Book Deals for deeply discounted and free books. If you really enjoy reading like I do, there is a subscription service called Kindle Unlimited, where you can enjoy unlimited reading and listening! You get the first 30 days free and then it’s $9.99/mo. after that.
As I mentioned above, I LOVE listening to books as much as I love reading them. By signing up for Audible you can get 30 days FREE and then pay monthly depending on how much you listen. Audible books are great for multitasking. Listen while you exercise, clean, do puzzles and more.
Download Free E-Books
There are just about 50,000 free eBooks on Manybooks.net, most of them classics. Check out their guide to the most popular eBooks on Manybooks.net. Another site where you can “borrow” eBooks, is the Internet Archive, Open Library.
Buy Secondhand Books from Instagram Book Accounts
Did you know that there are people who run book sales on Instagram? I follow several great accounts! You can search hashtags like #booksforsale or #booksale to find them. Just make sure they’re in your country (high shipping fees would defeat the purpose), have an engaged following, and hopefully reviews. We’ve filled our bookshelves with so many beautiful “living books” this way!
UPDATED: Book Resources for Kids
I am adding to this section as I hear about new free resources being made available for kids during this time.
- Scholastic Learn at Home
- Bookflix by Scholastic – Children’s books and video storytimes
- Tumble Book Library
- Storyline Online – Video Story Time
- All You Can Books – Unlimited audiobooks and e-books. Free for 30 days!
- Vooks – “Storybooks brought to life”; 1 month free.
- Story Time from Space – See astronauts read your favorite children’s books.
I hope you’re able to find a ton of great free and cheap books to read and listen to, through these resources! Happy reading!
This post was originally posted is March 2020 but has been updated to fix some links and add resources.