Free (or nearly free) books? Yes, please!

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve experienced something of a blog writer’s writer’s block. To make up for my absence here is a short article on where to find books for free (or nearly free). It’s astonishingly easy and I’ve even won some free books, myself!

So I was going to do the whole save the best for last thing but I wanted to make sure you all read about BookCrossing. This was an unfamiliar site for me when I first started researching this blogpost but basically the coolest thing ever and perfect for fans of Geocaching. A bit deal was made the other week when Emma Watson hid books on the NYC Subway. This is a literary trend. Check out and support: Our Shared Shelf. Follow @emmawatson and @oursharedself.

Have you heard of ALA’s Banned Books Week? DC has its own spin on Banned Book week dubbed UNCENSORED. “No literature should be banned,” said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director of the DC Public Library. To combat censorship and celebrate this year’s theme of “diversity”, Reyes-Gavilan and his team hid banned books throughout the city this summer.

Also check out the book-share libraries cropping up throughout DC. They look like little treehouse with glass doors. Take a book, read it, return it or replace it. Simple. Read more about Little Free Library here. Maybe you’ll be the first one in your neighborhood to set one up. Be a visionary! Follow @ltlfreelibrary.

OK BACK TO BOOKCROSSING: It’s pretty easy to wrap your head around. Create a login, enter your location and find your free book. There are 3 books to be found in DC right now (not counting one on National Park land). One is in a Little Free Library, one in a local coffee shop and one in a famous hotel. I’ve never searched out a book before so I’m unsure how often this is updated but it sure sounds like fun. And it operates globally, so you can continue your hunt abroad. The US has 3,269 books to find, followed closely by German at 5,631 and then the Netherlands at 1,697. The tagline is “Go Hunting!”

Amazon Freebies:

This here is a FABULOUS list of out-of-print classics (among other books) that are free, free, FREE! These are the cornerstones of modern literature, people.

Here is a list of 100 free Amazon Kindle books that is constantly updated.

Here is a list of Kindle books for $2 each.

Goodreads has one of the largest (if not the largest) book giveaway site in the world. You can even win books signed by authors but, since the site is so popular, your chances are slim to none. I once won a book from Goodreads before, Oy, Caramba!, an anthology of Jewish stories from Latin America. But, there are some things you can do to up your chances of winning books on this site. Create and login and write book reviews for books you have read, especially books you have previously won. Goodreads in primarily a book review website and they use an algorithm for their giveaways that favors members who leave book reviews.

You can sort by popular authors, recently listed, most requested and ending soon. It may work to target books that are ending soon and don’t have a lot of requests. Prepare to be patient, a lot of books are designated long giveaway periods, up to a month in some cases. Books on giveaway now are: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (25 copies available, 6697 people requesting), Swing Time by Zadie Smith (5 copies available, 5,240 people requesting) and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (3 copies available, 2511 people requesting).

Don’t forget to sign up for emails to receive daily Goodreads emails for discounts on books, books, books.

Book Riot:

Check out Book Riot for a kind of hip alternative to Goodreads. Its got a definite cool kid vice and the qualities of its giveaways are better, if fewer. Be sure to sign up to get kindle book deal emails. A great example of the book deal of the day for $3.99: Your Heart is a Musical the Save of your First by Sunil Yapa. No worries if you missed 11/29 because it seems that the deals are ongoing and offered through Amazon but without Book Riot, you may never have found them. Book Riot also sends giveaway emails. Today’s giveaway is Searching for John Hughes by Jason Diamond. You can enter for that here. Also be sure to follow them on instagram @bookriot for my fun giveaways, book deals and general indulgent bookiness.

Penguin Paperbacks:

This one is insanely easy. Follow Penguin Paperbacks on Facebook. Every Tuesday they post their giveaway and all you have to do is comment in the comments section for a chance to win a copy. I won’t The Slow Waltz of Turtles by Katherine Pancol.

Freecycle & Craigslist:

This is old school but check out Freecycle and Craigslist for book swaps or book giveaways. You can find everything from used GRE prep books to the Twilight Series.

Internet Archive:

I can’t believe I’ve gone 28 years without having learned more about Internet Archive, which is provides free access to topnotch college and university online libraries, JSTOR, the Library of Congress, the Boston Library Consortium and the Getty Research Institute (among others) + 100 million.






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