Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Insider Tips: How to get Free or Cheap Books

Grand opening of a new tab on my blog! I figured I've learned a lot in the almost year of blogging and wanted to share some of these great tips with my loyal readers. So this is the first post of this type. It'll usually be on Tuesdays, just like Curmudgeon's Corner is on alternating Thursdays.

For those of you who have been following me, you know that the initial reason I got into this whole business is to get free books. I loved reading, but I was realizing that I was spending outrageous amounts of money per month on books. So I decided to find ways to make this more affordable, and wanted to share these tips with all of my loyal readers!

1. Go to a library.
I know this sounds trite, but if you have the time and ability to get there, this is a great way of getting lots of books and not having to keep them if they're terrible. Plus, now with the event of e-readers, many libraries have ways that you can download copies for a short period of time for free. That said, there can be waiting lines for some of the more popular books.

2. Write reviews.
This is how I got started. There are several websites that promote free books that will be either sent directly to you via email OR shipped to your house free of charge if you agree to write a review. Some websites that have been very consistent and high rates of getting books:

I. Librarything.com - There are several ways to get books on this site.

A. The first is through the Early Reviewers program. I highly recommend this program, as you can get big upcoming books for free from the publisher in exchange for a review, and you don't have to own a blog or anything. You sign up for the books that sound interesting each month, and you pretty consistently get books every other month. Make sure to write a review though because it counts against you if you don't and you will be less likely to get a book in the future.

B. Member giveaways- this is another aspect of librarything.com where members post their own giveaways. You don't get penalized for not writing a review, but you are more likely to get more books if you do so. This is a hit or miss place-- you get a lot of books, but they aren't usually that good. I spent a large amount of time here initially just because of the volume of the books I would receive, but I admit I don't really use it any more.

C. Sign up for a group for Freebies on Librarything. There is a link to join groups, and there are some that promote free giveaways on a variety of different websites.

II. Goodreads

A. First Reads. Goodreads hosts giveaways on a regular basis from books that are just coming out in their First Reads program. You can sign up for as many as you want and the rate of return is not too bad-- I generally get a book every few months. These also tend to be better quality books.

B. Goodreads Groups. There are a variety of Giveaway book groups, and if you join those and visit them regularly, you'll be alerted to several giveaways. The more groups you sign up for, the more likely you will find good giveaways. Also, sign up for groups in the genre you are interested in. There are usually sections where people list freebies and giveaways in.

III. Amazon

A. Vine Program: I don't know a lot about this, since it's rather a secretive group of people who review. Amazon says that if you have a lot of people who like your reviews, your chances increase to get into the program, as it is still invite only. I think this is a bit of hogwash, as I've seen people in the Vine program who are ranked in the 10,000 range, and I'm ranked close to 500 and still am not in the program. So I think it's a bit random. But if you are lucky enough to get into this program, you'll have your selection of books about to come out and will be able to post your review for these books earlier than other reviewers, which is a nice bonus.

IV. Netgalley

A website where you can download free e-copies of books yet to be published-- your odds are better if you have a blog, but if you write reviews, you can still get books.

3. Visit blogs who regularly host giveaways.
The best way to get new members and interest to your blog is to host giveaways. I usually host a giveaway every week to every other week. There are other blogs that host giveaway hops, which are a very popular way of getting both a lot of attention for individual blogs AND letting people sign up for many giveaways at once, increasing the odds of winning a book. The best place to find the best giveaway blog hops is at the wonderful blog, I Am a Reader, Not a Writer Blog.

4. Amazon Free Books
There are tons of free books on Amazon, especially the "classics," which is nice to get a copy for your kindle on books that you loved.

5. Amazon Daily Kindle Deals
This is a terrific way to get a book you've been wanting to read at a highly discounted price. The new YA books usually run around $10, and if you sign up for Daily Kindle Deals, you can many times find a book for $2-3. 

Hope this helps you guys find some great free and cheap books! If you have any other tips, please comment and I'll add it to the post and check it out myself!


  1. This is great! I'm fairly new to the blogging community and I'm still getting the hang of things. Thanks for writing up this post.

  2. Great information. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This helps me a lot! I am seeing that blogging does take a lot of money so I'm trying to get free books or ebooks to help out. I know I'm too new to receive ARCs so any other way to get free books would be great ;D

    This new column of yours is awesome!

    1. I'm so glad all of you found this helpful! :-)

  4. Hey sis-- I have another couple of sites for you that you might want to put on your post (or on another post).

    Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/) has a WHOLE LOT of classics (expired-copyright), more than amazon, and you can download them all in kindle or other format (epub for those who don't have kindles, or html if you want to read on your computer screen, or just plain text)

    archive of our own (http://archiveofourown.org/) has fanfic that can be downloaded in kindle, epub, or other format.

    http://kebooks.com/ aggregates the free/cheap books on kindle. A lot of times Amazon only has them free (or cheap) for a very short period of time, so this is helpful to grab those before Amazon decides to make them pricey again!

    (kebooks is where I've found a bunch of the books I've bought for us :) I mostly find the cheap books way better than the free ones, but every so often there's a gem of a free book.)

  5. Funny I'm part of LIbrary Thing. I have consistently asked for books every month and have not gotten one book from them. What am I doing wrong? LOL! I get most of my ARCs through Net Galley and Edelweiss. In any case, great post!

    1. Brooke: Oh yes, I forgot about Edelweiss! I have to say I only tried once, but didn't receive an ARC there. I'll have to try again!

      As for Librarything, that's odd! The two things that seemed to help me (this is just speculation), is the first one I received was an e-book since those are easier to win. Also, since I changed my name to include genre (YA), and then request YA books, I get one every month. Just a thought.

  6. Thanks so much!!! I've been thinking about blogging and hosting giveaways on my site, but I didn't really get to, given my mom and dad's aditude about me reading books 24/7. The only time I acutally get to get books are from giveaways (which are impossibe to win), or actually earning it. THANK YOU!(: