You don’t have to be a blogger or a librarian to score books at bargain prices or find them for free. If you love reading half as much as I do, you desperately need sources for inexpensive books and free fiction. I happen to know a few.
If you have an e-reader, you should subscribe to two free resources right away. BookBub and Early Bird Books deliver daily e-book deals to your inbox. The books are often previous bestsellers that the publisher has marked down for a limited time to attract new readership. I recently acquired Gregory Maguire’s [simpleazon-link asin=”0060987529″ locale=”us”]Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister: A Novel[/simpleazon-link] for my Kindle this way (still $1.99 as of today). Known for his fractured fairy tales for grown-ups, Maguire’s bestselling novel Wicked became a wildly successful Broadway musical. His latest book, After Alice, is being released in October prompting the publisher to discount Confessions by 88%.
Most authors have websites, Facebook fan pages, and Twitter accounts where they offer giveaways. If you want to know the latest deal, I suggest subscribing to their e-newsletter. Recently, author Emily March informed her readers that the [simpleazon-link asin=”0345542282″ locale=”us”]Miracle Road: An Eternity Springs Novel[/simpleazon-link]in her Eternity Springs series was on sale for $1.99 for a limited time (still true as of today). Had I not received her e-news, I would have missed it.
For print books, I have several favorite haunts. If you don’t mind occasional trips to the post office, Bookmooch and Paperback Swap offer trading programs. The accounts are free, but to earn points for trading, you must offer some of your own books. This is a great way to weed your collection, by the way. With points, you can then request books from others. You can search for specific titles or you can browse to see what you discover. The only cost to you is the price of shipping which isn’t much if you use media mail.
I also stalk the local Goodwill every week. Recent bestsellers and book club picks can be found in good condition and in abundance for a song. Within the last month I’ve purchased books by Greg Iles, Bill Bryson, Nick Hornby, and Patrick Taylor. I’ve also filled in my Janet Evanovich collection. You’ll often also find me at Friends of the Library Sales. Libraries receive way more donations than they can reasonably put on the shelves. For example, our library had at least 20 copies donated of Memory Keeper’s Daughter. I bought one for one buck and brought it home. When I was visiting Anderson, SC, I bought a copy of Nick Horby’s About A Boy for a dime. A DIME!! Seriously. Friends sells these books and all profits go to support the library. It’s a win/win.
If I’m looking for specific print books at cut-rate prices, I often turn to BookOutlet.com. Again, I subscribed to their newsletter for special deals and coupons. My book club is reading The Rosie Project, so I bought it through BookOutlet along with 2 other hardcover books, a paperback, and a book of crossword puzzles for $20. I had to pay shipping, but it was nominal. Normally, I hate paying shipping costs, but for deals like those at BookOutlet, I find it’s worth it. In the case of this particular Book Outlet Haul, I had a coupon code for $10 off a $30 order. They send coupons like this often.
Finally, you don’t have to be a blogger or a librarian to request advance reading copies of books. If you join – For FREE – these two fantastic sites for readers: LibraryThing and Goodreads, you can request review copies in print or electronic format (depending on the offer). Your name goes in a lottery of sorts, and the odds vary. If you win a copy, you’re asked to post a brief review on the site in exchange. The more books you review, the better your odds of winning still more books. In most cases the books are prepublication copies which means you get to be among the first to read them. Over a five-year period, I’ve won 37 books from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. One, the Orphan Master’s Son, went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, and I was among the first to review it!
For most book deals, the key is patience. As with new release movies that land on Netflix or at the $1 cinema in time, books are discounted in many ways in many places after their initial run. I’m always behind on my To Be Read (TBR) stack anyway, so unless I’m after a first edition, first printing and/or a signed copy, I don’t mind the wait. In the meantime, publishers, authors, and bloggers (me included) often run deals and giveaways. Be sure to throw your name in the hat whenever possible. I won three books this week alone. Not as a blogger, but as a reader. Now if I could just win some free shelves!
Additional Discount Sites: