Reading can be an expensive hobby, especially if you like to read books by your favourite authors as soon as they come out. So what about the time in between those authors when you’re still craving a book to read, but don’t necessarily want to shell out $20+ per book? Don’t misunderstand me here, I certainly believe that authors should be paid for their work, and being a writer myself I understand the enormous amount of work that goes into a publication, but I’ve also always been a big supporter of reading and I believe that it should be made available for anyone out there who wants to read no matter their financial standing – thankfully this day in age, with today’s technology, there are many options for low budget reading. You may not always get triple A reading material, but you’ll certainly find some gems.
One of the first things I did when I got my kindle e-reader was browse through the kindle store. It’s pretty easy to get lost, but they have a nice selection of books that are free for you to read, usually the classics. There’s tons of classics out there. If you’re not a fan of using amazon there are other options. One popular one is Project Gutenberg. A good one for free audio books is LibriVox.
Every day I get an email from BookBub and in this email they typically list a bunch of highly discounted books along with one or two free ones. The free ones are not free forever, they’re usually on some amazon deal that lasts a day, a week, or longer depending on the author. This is where you’ll see a lot of “not so great, but hey it’s free” books listed – and it’s a great place to find potential gems. The books are different every single day and this is probably one of my favourite ways to get free books and add to my e-book collection. If you’ve never checked it out before, I highly recommend signing up. One thing to note, if you check off any of the romance books in your preferences, chances are your daily email will be filled with that type of book. It just happens that there’s a large number of them, and they go free pretty often. I’ve got 14 free books in the lats 6 months according to my amazon orders placed, and while they certainly haven’t all been winners, they’re not always horrible and it’s a great way to do some budget reading. There are also a lot of sites like this one that will list all of the current amazon books that are marked as free.
If you’ve got a book review site, a blog, or even just like to write reviews for Goodreads there are even more options for you. You can sign up for a site like NetGalley and apply directly to publishers to read and review the books they have listed. In this case you’re much more likely to stumble across books you will really enjoy since you’re hand picking which ones you review. The books here are all represented by a publisher, and are not self published. Of course the downside in this case is that you may be declined by the publisher, especially if you don’t match the publisher’s requests. There are rules for this type of review, they have to be done in a specific time, and sometimes location is a factor. Publishers may only be looking for reviewers in the US, or in Canada, based on where their book is being released.
I’ve talked about these options before, but if you’re a fan of bundles, there’s the HumbleBookBundle that runs pretty frequently, though you may need to wait until you see books that you enjoy come up. They change each bundle, and the prices are fantastic. There’s also StoryBundle which supports Indie authors. Their bundles are less frequent, so you may want to sign up so you can get notice of when they run.
Another choice that is slowly making its way across cities is of course – your public library. Now this will absolutely depend on where you live. When I was in Ottawa I was able to sign out ebooks from the library web site and download them to my e-reader. Now that I live in a more remote area, I don’t have this available, and I miss it. Not all books will be available this way, and you still have to abide by library rules (they can only lend out as many “copies” as they own, and there may be a queue) but it’s a newer option that I really enjoy seeing come to life.
Have more suggestions for readers on how to get some budget ebooks? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your suggestions below!