How can I get books for free? Any reader on a tight budget has probably asked themselves this question. Books are nice, but food is a necessity.
What’s a reader on a budget to do?
Well, have you tried your local library?
Not every community has a supportive library system – but for those communities that do, the local library is a must for free books. All you need is your library card – which might come with a $2 fine to help sustain the library – and then you have access to thousands and thousands of free books. (And, depending on the library, e-books.)
Not only are libraries free, but most librarians are passionate about their jobs and love to help people connect with the titles they want. If there’s a book you want that your local library doesn’t have, you can often put in a request for it to be purchased. Odds are, if you want it, somebody else in the community may, too.
“Libraries buy books. Lots of them. And there are tens of thousands of libraries around the country. That is good for me and good for my book[s],” wrote John Green in a Tumblr post on libraries.
And if you can’t get a library card? No worries. The library won’t stop you from coming in, sitting down and reading their books for as many hours as you want.
Like free e-books? Some sites give them away.
If you prefer your books a little more digital, there are sites that let you access dozens of books for free. While almost everybody knows of Project Gutenberg – which allows access to any classic available in the public domain – fewer people know of sites like PulseIt.
PulseIt is part of Simon & Schuster’s teen division. They release full books (or very extensive excerpts) from their recent titles on a weekly basis, and when the holidays approach, they do special daily releases on titles. All you need is a computer and an email address and you can sign up for the program.
Some individual authors offer their books for free. Cory Doctorow, for instance, offers Little Brother for free in a huge variety of formats.
Want a physical book? What about giveaways?
One of the cool things about the Internet is that you can enter a giveaway for a very real, very physical book from the safety and sanctity of your bedroom. A possible free book and no need for real pants? Count me in.
Many blogs and websites work with publicists to give away books to their loyal readers. We here at YA Interrobang host them whenever we can, because life is expensive and free things are nice. Young Adult Book Central (YABC) often hosts them as well. Keep an eye out on your favorite book blogs for the opportunities for free books!
Many publicists use Goodreads to give away free books.
What if you only have $3.47 to spend on books?
The Twitter account @FreeYABooks rounds up daily YA e-book deals and Tweets them to the public.
I don’t recommend pirating books – or any media, for that matter. Besides it being sorta kinda really illegal, when it comes to books – and especially new and upcoming authors – pirating a book can be detrimental to that author’s success in a way that makes it ridiculously hard for them to publish a book again.
“Artists and authors need to eat. If our books won’t feed us, we’ll stop writing them. Yes, yes, we’re capitalist swine. Just the same: no, really, we need to eat. And pay bills. Which is why we’d like it if you bought our books instead of just, y’know, plucking them out of the ether,” wrote Chuck Wendig in his excellent post “25 Thoughts On Book Piracy”.
How do you get free books? Do you have any tips on entering giveaways or finding daily deals?