I am a semi-broke college graduate and someone who reads a lot. And honestly, there is no way I could read so much if I had to buy every single book. The average book now costs about $10 (whatever that is in different currencies), and some books are up to $20 to $30. I read an average of two hundred books a year, which would mean if I brought every book I read, I would be spending at least $2000 on books every year (and have no room in my room).
Luckily, I actually rarely spend money to buy a book. At most, I spend less than a hundred dollars a year on books (probably lower in an average year).
So today, I wanted to share with you guys the resources I use to get free books. Also, I should elaborate and emphasis legal ways to get free books. Many of these, I think, are rather obvious, and yet few readers actually take advantage of these resources. Two of these are going to be places to borrow books and the other two are to own books.
Your Local Library
This is the most obvious answer. From libraries in Ancient Egypt and Ancient China to national libraries that we know of today, libraries have been a way for people to access books for free. Well, technically a library is not free; it’s supported by local taxes. So you are paying for it when you pay your taxes (at least in America), but you’d pay for it whether you used it or not.
Not only can you order books in high demand (this is how I get the newest releases), but you can also borrow Kindle books to be read immediately on your phone or computer (I use this feature frequently when I travel). Now only that, but you can get a lot of books that you wouldn’t want to own but still want to read once.
This is my #1 free book resource.
Link to the website.
This is similar to your local library, and yet it is an online resource that anyone in the world can access. It tells you books that are available for borrowing from an actually library, but it also gives the option of only choosing Ebooks, which gives you access to books immediately.
I confess, I only use this when my library does not have a book (or author) I’m curious to read. However, Open Library is a little difficult to navigate. However, it’s a great resource for borrowing old books for the 40s through 80s that are not in most libraries.
From free access to books to borrow, we move onto books to own. Amazon Kindle is free to download on any computer. While some Kindle books are pricy, there are thousands of books that are free. Usually, if I want to find the free books, I got to the Kindle store on Amazon and go to Advanced Search. Then I merely sort by Price: Low to High. Then the first numbers on the list will be the free ones.
With this, you may not to getting the best books (after all, most anyone can publish on Amazon). However, it’s a great opportunity to be introduced to smaller, lesser known authors. And so many books are free!
Link to the website.
This is actually a sister website to Open Library. However, most of the books here are in the public domain (they also have tons of audiobooks and videos as well). This means that you can access these books for free at any time (either on the web or download them onto your computer). These are for people who love classics. While they are some free classics on Amazon Kindle, this one has hundreds of thousands of newspapers, classic books, and books that cannot be found anywhere else.
It’s probably the best resource I have found for doing historical research (thus why I included this in my Top Resources for Researching a Historical Novel post a few months ago). If you’re not a fan of classics, than this website is probably not for you. But I love it!
There are tons of resources on the web that I do not use as well. For example, at Net Gallery you can request new books coming out for free from publishers, in return for doing a review on your blog. Also, there’s websites like Libravox (for free audiobooks) and ReadPrint. Here’s an article that talks about more free sources. However, because I don’t use any of these websites, I cannot really endorse them.
What are your favorite resources for free books? Let me know down in the comments, follow my blog for more madness, and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,