Finding the time to read has been tricky lately since I have a new baby. Lately, I’ve really enjoyed audio books since they allow me to multi-task. While I’m running or walking around the park I can also be “reading,” and when I’m folding laundry or editing photographs for our wedding photography business I can check even more things off my ever-growing To-Do list. And while I still have dreams of being able to sit down and read a book it just isn’t something I can do right now.
If you’re a real-life avid reader or if you’re a wannabe avid reader, like me, then you know how expensive it can be to keep yourself immersed in books.
Reading is certainly worthwhile and with summer rounding the corner this is the perfect time to talk about all the amazing ways to obtain free or low-cost books.
Here are my favorite ways to keep your head in the books without going broke:
Get a Library Card
You knew this one was coming didn’t you since this is likely the most obvious choice for free reading material. If your local library is small and you’ve already read all it has to offer (consider me impressed!), then ask about their borrowing policies with larger libraries. Many times the librarian can find the latest release or hard-to-find book that you’re looking for from another library location with no cost to you. This is a great way to get those brand new books that your library just might not have ordered yet.
Sign Up for the Online Deals
If you own a Kindle or other e-reader, find a website that showcases the free or really cheap book deals available each day. By subscribing to their mailing list, you’ll be rewarded with conveniently emailed lists of free book deals of the day. Also, be sure to ask your library if they offer e-book and audio books. Mine does, and I’m so happy they do because I’m able to get my fill of audio books without the expense.
Browse the Bargain Stores
Books are a great item to buy used and the good news is many readers will re-sell or donate their books after they’ve finished reading. Hunt through your local thrift store and don’t forget about all those yard sales that are popping up with the warmer weather. Also, check out the local flea market, keep an eye in the newspaper for book sale fundraisers (our local library here in Denver, has a yearly used book sale and you can score TONS of low-cost books). Often you will be able to get a whole bag of books for just a few bucks! When you find these deals be sure to stock up for you and your kids!
Online Book Swaps
There are several websites that avid readers use to trade books amongst themselves. Each site has their own policies so make sure to read the fine print. You may not even have to pay for the book but you might need to cover shipping costs so be on the look-out for that (which still isn’t that much).
Here are some online book swap resources:
Start a Local Book Swap
Get to know other readers in your neighborhood or circle of friends by suggesting (and organizing) a book swap. An easy way to spread the word (and get more book options!) is to set up a Facebook page. Have everyone bring the books they want to swap and gather at the park on a nice afternoon. This is a great way to keep reading the latest releases at no cost to you and it has the added advantage of getting to meet some new people that you get to discuss your favorite authors and books with.
Buy at Warehouse Prices
Many warehouse clubs offer a significant discount on the latest releases. If you must have the hardback release by your favorite author, you can save up to half off or more by shopping the warehouse shelves. Other discount and dollar stores also carry a small selection of books so don’t forget to check through the inventory every time you visit.
If you don’t have a warehouse club membership don’t get one just to get discounted books; that’d be counterproductive! Instead, ask around to see if any of your friends have a membership most people I know with memberships are more than have to have guests tag along.
Don’t Be Afraid of New Authors
A long time ago I used to work at a book store and we always had zillions of pre-release, sample book copies to read and review before they hit the shelves. If you’re feeling friendly you can ask your book store clerk if they have any sample book they are giving away. And, if you’re feeling daring you can dumpster dive in the book store dumpsters to see what treasures you might find.
I’m sure I’m missing some low-cost reading resources so if you have tips for reading on the cheap that I didn’t include I’d love to hear about them!
Image source: rjp