I’m a bookworm. But the life of a bookworm can be an expensive one. Popular novels tend to be priced anywhere from $6 to $20. That’s a pricey prospect for readers who tend to power through five, ten or more books every month.
Throughout elementary school and college, I controlled the costs of books primarily by utilizing my public library. I haven’t stepped foot in a library in three years, yet I still tend to pay less than $10 every month buying books. The large majority of my reading time is spent downloading and reading free ebooks. Here are five smart reading hacks that can eliminate your monthly book expenses entirely.
1. Sign Up for Kindle Family Library
Kindle Family Library is a handy feature that allows you to link up to two adult and four child Amazon accounts. Once the accounts are linked, you have access to all the eBooks that the individual has purchased in the past. This can provide months of free reading.
Once you have read all of the books in your shared library, you can then separate your accounts, wait 180 days, and then sync up with another family member or friend for access to their library.
The only downside of linking accounts is that you will need to authorize the other individual to utilize the credit and debit cards you have on file. You need to trust the individual not to go on a wild shopping spree on your Amazon account.
Read More: 8 Smart Ways to Save on Audio Books
2. Borrow ebooks From Strangers and Friends
Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble allow individuals to lend the books they bought for 14 days. This can allow you access to more books without directly linking up your accounts.
You can supercharge your ability to borrow books by signing up for an online book lending community. Websites like booklending.com (Kindle), Lendle (Kindle), and eBookFling (Kindle and Nook), all allow you to borrow and lend books to strangers.
However, many of these lending sites (Lendle and eBookFling in particular) do expect you to lend books to other members in order to continue to borrow books yourself. If you don’t already have a library of lendable books, or you don’t plan on slowly expanding your library, you might not be able to utilize many of the online lending communities.
3. Read Non-Professional Stories Online
There are hundreds of solid stories self-published online for free on a variety of websites. Budding writers flock to sites like FictionPress to in order to practice the craft of writing. In exchange for an occasional review of a chapter or story, readers have the ability to dive into a potentially good book for free.
Another non-professional option for the more geek-inclined is to start reading fanfiction. Fanfiction, for those who don’t know, are stories that utilize the characters and setting of already existing television shows, movies, comics, or books. If you do delve into the world of free reading by devouring fanfiction, I would suggest starting with either Fanfiction.net or Archive of Our Own.
But there are a couple potential downsides of utilizing sites like FictionPress or Fanfiction.com to find good books.
- You can expect to find some sub-par writing due in part, to the fact that individuals of various skill levels publish on these types of sites. Try to choose more popular novels based on how many reviews, favorites, or follows they have.
- The majority of writers publish in these forums as chapters are completed. This process often leads to many writers abandoning stories mid-way. So search for completed stories when doing searches for potential novels.
If fanfiction is for you, utilize an application within Calibre (a free eBook organizer) called FanFicFare to download the books onto your computer as either an ePub (Nook), a Mobi (Old Kindle), or an AZW3 (New Kindle) file.
4. Read Public Domain Books
You can keep your electronic bookshelf well stocked by simply sticking to reading books that are within the public domain. This means that anyone is free to use or re-use the book. You can find older classics like Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen or Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens as part of public domain.
Some of these books you can find for free on major eBook publishing sites. Others, you can locate on one of these 25 different free public domain publication websites. Many of the free-to-use websites allow you to choose which format (ePub, mobi, HTML) you would like to download the novel in.
If you’re unsatisfied with the file option available on the site you choose, you can always upload the file to Calibre and convert that file to one of your choice.
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5. Check Author Websites for Free Short Stories and Novels
You might want to scope out your favorite author’s websites for free novels or short stories. Many authors publish their older novels or short stories online as a gift to fans or in an attempt to attract new readers.