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I had no clue how many books I owned until I organized my entire book collection in Goodreads.
But even more surprising was the number of free books I had accumulated compared to the ones I purchased!
As much as I label myself a bookworm, the thrifty side of me doesn’t want to spend all my hard-earned money (or clutter up my bookshelves) on a book I’m probably going to only read once.
So anytime I see a limited time promotion pop up on various sites or email newsletters, I flood my Kindle with as many $0.00 titles as I can. Within reason, of course. There are plenty of books I skip! When it comes to my book collection, I’m still a minimalist who prioritizes quality over quantity.
If you’re a fellow bookworm who wants to feed your bookish addiction without spending a dime, the following ideas and websites are ones I’ve collected and bookmarked as my absolute favorites.
They include not just free eBooks, but free audiobooks and free paperback books too!
1. Borrow Books from Friends and Family
This option is totally undervalued but a great way to read free books. If you have a title you want to read, ask around to make sure no one else has a copy of it before you buy. I know I personally could have saved so much money over the years if I had only checked with my friends first!
2. Start a Book Blog (or Bookstagram)
Paperback, Digital, and Audiobooks
Bloggers can get hundreds of free books to review from various publishing companies. I once had a book blog for this purpose, and it fueled my reading habit for years!
If I were starting an online book business today, I would definitely go with a blog as apposed to an Instagram account. It’s much easier to link to books through the Amazon or Bookshop affiliate programs, which help you earn a small commission via anyone who purchases through your link.
Learn how to start a blog in less than 15 minutes (and for super cheap!), then sign up through these companies to request your free books.
Let’s be Bookstagram Friends
Psst… I have a Bookstagram account (a book Instagram) just for fun! I’m @theunclutteredbookshelf if you’re interested in following my reviews and updates about all things books.
3. Participate in Book Loyalty Programs (They Offer Free Paperback Books!)
Paperback, Digital, and Audiobooks
Who doesn’t want to be rewarded with free books?
Some online bookstores and publishing companies offer incredible loyalty programs just by purchasing books through through their websites or completing other small tasks. When you earn a certain number of points, you can redeem those points for free books!
Here are the most popular programs right now:
- Every 500 points earned at ThriftBooks (a used online bookstore) gives you a $5 credit for a free book. Most books are under $5, so you’ll have plenty of options. You earn points by purchasing books from their website, sharing with friends, and doing one-time actions like adding your birthday to your profile and shopping through the mobile app.
- Christian-based publishing house Tyndale offers My Reader Rewards Club. While similar to ThriftBooks, you can also get free books without purchasing anything at all! That’s because you have the opportunity to participate in surveys, share social media graphics, give feedback on excerpts you’ve read, and refer friends for points. Once you earn enough points (100 minimum), you can redeem them for free books and Bibles from Tyndale. Get 25 points just for signing up HERE.
- Penguin House Reader Rewards awards 10 points for every book purchased. You can purchase a qualifying title through their website or at a brick-and-mortar independent bookstore. Just upload your receipt for proof of purchase. When you earn 120 points (12 books total), you can redeem them for a free book.
4. Bookmark Websites Sharing eBook Deals
Finding quality free books online is all about knowing where to look. There are plenty of independent and self-published databases offering free downloads, but I always find their selections lacking. (And let’s be honest, even though you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I often do!)
But this list is worth checking out. While I can’t vouch for every book promoted, you’ll definitely find higher quality options more often than not.
- Book Bub – This is a newsletter sign-up that lists mostly $1.99 and $2.99 books. But if you scan their emails carefully, you’ll see some freebies!
- Project Gutenberg – A digital library filled with classics.
- Kindle Store – A Top 100 Free section with Amazon books from a variety of genres.
- First Reads – Amazon Prime members who are also part of Kindle Unlimited get one free Kindle book per month with this program. They also send out an email to remind you which options are available.
- Riveted by Simon Teen – This Simon & Schuster program offers free eBooks every month.
Many websites provide daily and/or weekly updates of free eBooks, so you’ll want to check in often to see their rotation. I highly recommend creating a new bookmark folder to your favorites. That way, you’ll never miss a free book!
5. Sign Up for a FREE Trial of Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited typically costs $9.99 per month but offers unlimited books to read on your Kindle. So how is that free, you ask?
Well, when you sign up for their 30-day trial, you can read as many books as you like! Just make sure to set a reminder on your phone to cancel if you don’t want to continue with the monthly fee.
However, sometimes, you’ll receive a special offer to extend your membership for 6-12 months at a deep discount. If you love reading and read books fairly quickly, this program might be worth it for you. It is for me! Many books that have longer wait times at my library are available right away on Kindle Unlimited.
Similar to the Kindle Unlimited offer, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Audible. During this trial, you get two free credits to redeem for audiobooks. 1 credit = 1 audiobook. So you can access two free books!
I’m not an audiobook fan personally, but I have plenty of friends (and a husband) who love them. So if you prefer listening rather than reading, or you find yourself strapped for time and like to do something productive while “reading,” audiobooks are the perfect option.
7. Take Advantage of Your Local Library
Paperback, Digital and Audiobooks
The library is an obvious one, but they offer so many options and formats to read or listen to free books. Even if they don’t have the book you want in stock, they will often transfer it from a different library or buy a copy for their own shelves if you request it.
Now that I’m traveling full-time and can’t borrow books from a physical library, I use the Overdrive app to download books to my Kindle. You have 21 days to read the book, but here’s a secret if you won’t finish it in time. Just turn on your Kindle’s airplane mode to keep the book from disappearing. Then you can finish it at your own pace!
Hoopla is a similar app to Overdrive, where you have 5 Instant Borrows a month to use in their vast catalog (which extends beyond your library’s stock!) and 5 Flex Borrows you can redeem for books your library has immediately available. For books available via Instant Borrow, you don’t have a wait time either!
8. Follow Your Favorite Authors
Last but not least, make sure you’re following your favorite authors on the social media channel you use most or by signing up for their mailing list. Authors let their readers know exactly when books are FREE for a limited time, but you have to be following them to find out!
NOTE: If you want to take advantage of these FREE eBooks and don’t have an eReading device, you can always download this free app, which lets you read Kindle ebooks right on your PC, tablet, or smartphone right away.
So Do I Ever Buy Books?
Of course! Just not as often as I used to.
I keep an eye out for Kindle deals and scour bargain bookstores during our travels. I also love to preorder books to help out other authors (preorders count as the first week of book sales, so they really do make a difference!).
I’m also more likely to purchase non-fiction books over fiction novels. I get more out of a book when I interact with it—sticky flags, notes, highlighter, etc. The only way I’ll purchase a fiction novel is if it’s deeply discounted so if I don’t like it, I don’t mind passing it on to Goodwill.
But like I said before, I enjoy keeping quality books on hand over quantity. Hence, my Bookstagram name, The Uncluttered Bookshelf. 😉
I hope you enjoyed these new-to-you options so the next time you want to find a new book to read, you can do it for free!
Where do you find FREE books?
I’d love to hear all about your favorite sites and ideas. I know there are some I probably missed!
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Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.