Yesterday was national reading day! After a few years of not reading very much at all, I’ve been voracious for the past few months. I read almost everything – chick lit, YA, short story collections, memoirs, true crime (of course.) As much as I would love to go out and purchase physical copies of everything, I don’t have that kind of spare cash. I’ve found a bunch of ways to feed my desire at a much lower cost other than the traditional library trips. There are a lot of ways to read a lot for free, or at least for a very low cost!
Library: Okay, I know I said ways other than going to the library, but they’ve really advanced with technology. You can drive over to the library to pick up your “to read” list, but you can often check out digital books online as well. Chicago Public Library partners with Overdrive, which allows you to check out eBooks for your tablet or Kindle. My favorite is that they also have eBooks you can read from your computer as well! I know there’s nothing like snuggling in bed with a physical book, but sometimes when you’re tired of reading all the bad news out there it helps to just pop open a new tab and go to a different place.
A lot of libraries also have partnerships with Hoopla, which I’ve spoken about plenty in the past. Hoopla features eBooks, audiobooks, music and TV and movies in their app. I discovered my favorite book and author on Hoopla, listening just because I liked the cover! This app alone let me hit my Goodreads book goal for 2016 because I would listen on my long drives from Nashville to Michigan to Chicago.
Riveted Lit: If you’re a YA fan, Riveted Lit is awesome. Every week, they put up free full-length books you can read on your computer or mobile device, and the selections change every Monday. They have a variety of genres within the YA space so whether you’re looking for a light read or something dystopian, chances are good they’ll have something for you this week. They also post extended excerpts of their upcoming releases and host giveaways as well.
Simon and Schuster: Along with other publishers, Simon and Schuster offers a free eBook when you sign up for their mailing list, which brings me to…
Glose: This is the service that Simon and Schuster use to fulfill their free eBook offer. It’s compatible with desktop and mobile devices, and offers an app for Apple and Android. In addition to the paid books you can purchase on the platform, they also have a library of free books (mostly classics) accessible in their library.
Noisetrade: Started as a way for musicians to connect with their fans, they recently expanded to offer audiobooks and eBooks in exchange for email addresses. There are a ton of books in a lot of different genres by both new and established authors.
Enter Giveaways: At some point in the last month, I entered a giveaway from Riveted Lit. By entering it, I agreed to recieve newsletters from all of the authors involved in the giveaway. All of them that I’ve recieved emails from have sent at least one free eBook – though none of them have been my speed, if you’re open to reading anything, this could be a way to stockpile fast! Amazon also has a giveaways section – they have products there, but also a ton of books for both e-readers and physical copies.
Goodreads: There are a couple of ways to save on Goodreads – the first is their Deals section, where they post discounted book prices and email you when something on your “to read” list is a match. They also have a Giveaways section – they’ll email you when something you’re interested is listed here, too, but you can also page through and enter to win anything you might be interested in. I’ve actually won two books here!
Scribd: I used to be a super avid user of Scribd, but their model has changed a bit. They used to offer a lot more books and audiobooks per month for their subscription fee, but now you can check out three books and one audiobook per month. They offer a lot of books that aren’t on Hoopla yet, and if your library card doesn’t get you in to Overdrive, it can be a great way to access digital books.
Subscription Boxes: If you can’t sacrifice the feel of a physical book in your hands and struggle with finding the best thing to read next, there are tons of subscription services out there that will deliver books to your doorstep every month. Uppercase Box is geared toward young/new adult books, and Quarterly offers two options based on the type of books you’re interested in. These are just a few – a quick Google search can turn up even more!
Amazon: There are a couple different ways to save on books on Amazon, and it’s not just the significant discounts most of their books carry. Their Kindle Unlimited program lets you borrow books, read magazines, and stream audiobooks from the Kindle app for $10/month. Prime also offers a similar program (even including audiobooks now), if you’re a member ($100 annually.) There are also plenty of free eBooks in the Kindle Store as well!
OpenLibrary: An online lending library, OpenLibrary has a wide range of books that can be read as PDF or ePub files. Focusing mostly on classic titles, they do have some recent, more modern books available as well.
Used Bookstore: I love having copies of my favorite books, so I’ll always try to hunt them down in used bookstores. It’s also a great way to roam around and find new books that could be your next favorite!