I love my ebook reader, but owning it is a lot like living in a bookstore. By being able to buy almost any book I think of immediately, my book habit can get quite expensive. I used to spend more than I’d like to admit on ebooks, but these days I have many techniques for reading them for free.
Hit up the library
Libraries offer a ton of ebooks that can be borrowed on most reading devices, and I am very impressed with my own library’s selection. Of course, I can only keep a book on my ebook reader for a few weeks, and there is often a wait for more popular books. I still love this method of getting free books, and I use it often. A lot of the more expensive ebooks are available at my library, and I probably save at least $20-$40 a month checking out these books instead of buying them. And if I need a quick reading fix, there is usually some book that interests me to check out immediately.
The only cautionary tale I have about library ebooks is that the most popular software system, Overdrive, can ban you temporarily if you check out and return too many books in a small period of time. If you’re like me and a super reader, this may happen on occasion. It’s nothing to worry about, as you won’t get in actual trouble. If you are banned from checking out new books, you can still read the books you have already checked out. It’s still a bit of a pain though.
Be a borrower and a lender
If you buy your ebooks from a larger online vendor, then you may have the ability to lend out some books to friends. And of course, they can lend books to you. Before ebooks came around, I was not big on lending or borrowing books, as they never seemed to get returned. While you can’t read an ebook you’ve lent out, it expires after a few weeks. This guarantees that the lender gets the book back, and it sets up a great system for sharing with friends and relatives. There is not a charge for borrowing or lending ebooks someone already owns, and depending on how much people you know read, it is a great source for getting some free reading in.
Check out freebies
Almost every place that sells ebooks has a few or more free ones at any given time. I check bigger online sites as well as smaller publisher to see what sort of free ebooks they are offering. While a specific book I’m looking for will rarely be free, free ebooks that I find can be quite entertaining and interesting. Some of my favorite reads from the past few years have been books I found for free online.
Go public domain
I love reading classic literature, and there are so many great public domain books already converted into ebook format. I browse Project Gutenberg for free ebooks, and I discover new authors all the time there. I also look for public domain books on bigger ebook stores, as they are often free there as well. The only downside to free public domain ebooks is that they can be poorly formatted. Sometimes I may have to download a few different copies of a certain book before I find one with nice typography and minimal errors.