Hacks For Scoring Inexpensive (Or Free!) Books
by Julia Seales
Originally Published: 
Bookshelves filled with rows of books at home, defocused for use as texture or background
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Every avid reader reaches a point where they have to figure out how to score cheap reads, because oops — you spent your paycheck on books. Again! Getting an overdraft notice every time you visit the bookstore is a clear sign that you need to figure out a way to score inexpensive books or books for free.

But there are other warning signs that you have a book buying problem. For example, it’s virtually impossible for you to walk into a bookstore without leaving with a bag of books. You buy new titles on your Kindle, even though your TBR pile takes up half your apartment. You burn through your monthly Audible credit the minute it shows up. You buy every book in the Confessions of a Shopaholic series, and find that you relate a little too much to Becky, only with books as opposed to clothing.

But don't give up hope just yet: there are ways you can keep up your monthly reading routine without sacrificing the rent check. There are plenty of discounts out there for bookworms to score cheap, or even free, books. Here’s how you can add to your collection and still have plenty leftover from your paycheck… to use to buy more books, of course.


Paperback Swap

On PaperBack Swap, you can list books you're willing to swap with other members, then trade them for what you'd like to read. If you have a ton of books that you're willing to lend in return for new books, this is the perfect service for you.



Book Mooch is another service like PaperBack Swap: you list what books you have available to trade, mail them out, and then search available books or request what you're looking for.


Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg offers free ebooks of works in the public domain. You can download kindle and epub files of all your favorite classics for free.



If you are a "reader of influence" (for example, a blogger who does book reviews and recommendations), you can get digital galleys (AKA advance copies) of books for free from Net Galley.


Free (or Discounted) Nook and Kindle Ebooks

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Both Barnes and Noble and Amazon offer free and discounted nook and kindle books. They often update their deals, and you can find books of every genre at reduced prices.


Podiobooks And Librivox

If you'd rather listen to audiobooks rather than read a physical book, there are discounts available for those, too. Podiobooks and Librivox both offer free audiobooks of novels in the public domain, so you can listen without breaking the bank.


Your Library and Overdrive

Your library is a great source for renting books — you can also rent digital copies, so if it's hard for you to make time to physically go to the library, you can still make it work. Just download Overdrive to start renting ebooks today.


Buy Used

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You can always trade in your books at used stores for cash, and find discounted used books to add to your collection. If you don't have a big selection of local used stores, there are also online used bookstores so you can get those novels delivered right to your door.

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