Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ten Ways to get Books for FREE (That are Legal)

Get More Free/Cheap Books – Read more than your budget allows?

Nate Bolt
Every now and then I scroll through questions on Yahoo Answers to try and share my wisdom with the world, and there’s one question that people (specifically teenagers) seem to constantly be asking. How can I get books for free?

Often times these questions are greeted with snotty responses about how you should pay for your books, or if a person is looking for a website to download books from, then someone will reply with a not so friendly reminder that pirating is illegal and that they should buy their books. And, while I agree with all of this I feel that this doesn’t really help people who are truly interested in reading, but maybe don’t have the funds to keep up with a voracious reading appetite. So, this post is all about how to get books for FREE, and how to do so LEGALLY.
Readers should never use an illegal pirating site to acquire a book, and while the following suggestions may not provide a way for you to get a specific book you have your eye on, they will help keep you busy reading while you’re saving up for that special book.

1.   Even if you don’t have a Kindle or some kind of E-reader, download the free Kindle App. I’ve known people to use this app to read on their smart phone, but even if you don’t have one of those you can use it to read right on your laptop. Amazon offers up thousands of free books every day in every genre. Books will be available to download for free for anywhere from 1-5 days. Use sites like Pixel of Ink to help you know when a title you might like will be available for free. 
Kindle App for Android

2.   Enter Goodreads and Librarything giveaways. Authors and Publishers on Goodreads are giving away paperback copies of their books every day, many signed copies, and Librarything hosts giveaways for paperback and e-books. All you have to do is enter. You can also use both the Goodreads and Librarything forums to find information on when Authors and Publishers may be having sales on their books.

3.   Search the web and follow book bloggers who blog about books in your preferred genre. Authors and Publishers, or sometimes just the bloggers themselves will use blogs to hold contests and give away free copies of books, gift cards, and other prizes. Again all you have to do is enter.

4.   Sometimes all it takes to get a free copy of a book is to show your love. Contact the Author or Publisher by e-mailing them or their publisher and letting them know that you’re really excited about the release of their next book. Even feel free to be bold enough to ask for a free copy. I’ve given out both paperback and electronic editions of my books simply because someone sent me an e-mail saying they’d love to read it. Just make sure to be polite and understanding if the Author or Publisher doesn’t want to send you a copy.

5.   Become a book blogger and start a free blog with sites like blogger and wordpress. If excited fans can get books for free then just think about the books you could get in exchange for a review. As a reader seeking free books you have to contact the author/publisher yourself, and you can still do this as a blogger, but just by having a blog with followers some authors/publishers will contact you requesting reviews.

6.   If you prefer paperbacks over the electronic versions odds are you have a few lying around your house that you’ve already read. Swap your books with people. The following sites will help connect you with others who may have books you’d like to read, and they’re willing to trade.

7.   Download public domain books. If you’re looking to read the classics (Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserables, Dracula) you might find that many of the titles you’re looking for are listed under public domain and can be found on the web. Check out the following sites to help.

8.   Check out the “Free” Section on Craigslist where people are giving away all kinds of things, including books.

9.   If you’re really just psyched to read, check out sites like Wattpad, Scribd and Fictionpress where anyone can upload a story. These armature works can sometimes be a little rough, but there are always great stories to be found and authors are always looking for feedback.

10.  And of course there’s always the public library, or even a nearby bookstore, where if you can’t afford to rent/buy the book you want you can still pull up a comfy chair and read it there.

Whatever you do don’t use pirated sites to download illegal copies of books. Not only is this illegal, and may put your computer at risk of viruses, but it also seriously hurts the writing and publishing community, especially indi authors.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy The Piracy Plague, Why it Hurts (Not Helps Authors)


Indie Book Goal 2018