One of my real-life friends asked me on facebook last night where I get all of the books I read and review. The answer is a lot of places! Some are free, some are cheap, and some are not. Here’s my breakdown:
First and foremost, I do purchase most of my books. Typically I buy them through Barnes and Noble because I have a membership with them (it’s $25 a year and you save at least 10% on most items) and I get free 2 – 3 day shipping (normally $3.99). I do bargain shop, though, because sometimes I can get better deals through Amazon, even with shipping factored in. Also, I know the authors I like and I tend to read all of their new books when they come out in hardcover. This can get pretty expensive, considering several authors I like all release their books in March and April, so I almost always preorder them. The price is usually really good, around that of a trade paperback, so it ends up being about 50% off. The only bummer is that I don’t usually get the books on the day they’re released; rather, I get them a few days later. That’s all right, though. I know I need to finish whatever I’m reading on release day to make way for the newbies.
If I feel like I’ve been spending a lot of money on books, I try to either pick something at home I haven’t read yet or I’ll buy something to read on the nook/my iPad nook app. These ebooks usually run around ten bucks and while it’s not the same as reading a real book, it does declutter my apartment and save me a little bit of money.
I love using sites like Goodreads Swap. All I do is pay the cost of media mail shipping, which is usually $4 or under — it depends on the size and weight of the book and the distance it travels. You are allowed to have a certain number of requests at any time (I believe the max is 15). If you request a lot but don’t send to others, then the amount you can request drops, which is fine with me. The system only works if you swap your books, too! Every ten books you send and others receive earns your one free shipping credit. There’s a lot of incentive there to share! I’ve read some books I really wanted to read this way and also gotten rid of some books I really didn’t like/didn’t want anymore.
Every few months I try to hit up Friends of the Library sales in my city. It’s amazing the books you can find here! I’ve found a lot of best sellers and fairly new releases for super-cheap prices, usually ranging from 50 cents to $3. I always try to give them a little more money because some of my best childhood memories took place in libraries in the town where I grew up (which is where I live now). Along the same lines, I’m not a big yard-saler (who wants to get up that early?!) but if I happen to drive by one and see they’ve got books, and I have a few bucks in my pocket, I get out and check it out. You can find some great books there!
One thing that I think benefits me a lot is that I have friends who are also readers. My mom is, too, so even if I read every single unread book that is on a bookshelf in my house right now, I would be able to borrow their books. We love to share!
I do get some free books. I’ve listed the sites I use on the right, in the links section. You can do a search for blogging for books or free galleys. A lot of galleys are done online now, so you have to be willing to read on a computer. Not an iPad or an ereader, but an actual computer. And the two companies I blog for that send me real books are Christian companies. In all of these instances, there may or may not be a wide selection, and there may or may not be books I like. But if it’s free, I’ll try it — it’s nice to be able to read something outside of what I might normally read!
You’re probably surprised I didn’t mention checking books out of the library. I wish I did this because I’d save a lot more money, but I am a terrible library patron. I forget to return books all the time and I rack up fees like crazy! It’s just easier for me to buy the book and own it outright sometimes. But I am a huge fan of local libraries!