In these current economic times, things are tough. Those who want to read face a conundrum at times – do we buy books or do we spend our money on true necessities? So what do you do if you want new books to read but don’t have the money to purchase books?
First, don’t pirate them! Stay away from websites that offer free epub or pdf versions of books. You’re not helping the authors any by pirating the books. And do NOT pirate books for “cancelled” authors either… I see this a lot on TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram – people telling others that if they really want to read a book by a cancelled author, just find it on a pirating website so the author doesn’t get credit. Sure, the author doesn’t get credit or get paid, but you’re still doing something illegal. Just don’t.
Instead, try the following options for legal ways to get books without paying for them:
Local Public Library (Physical)
Utilize your local public library. If you don’t have a library card, get one. You might have to wait for the book you want to become available, but that’s what holds are for. Just put the books you want to read that aren’t available on hold. If your library doesn’t have a book you want to read at all, ask about requesting they purchase it or get it through interlibrary loan1Be careful with interlibrary loans – in some cases you might be charged a fee, but in others it’s free..
If you have a library card but aren’t keen on having to drive to your local library to pick books up, try the Libby app. Simply connect your library card and you’ll find a plethora of books and audiobooks. My library actually has more books as eBook and audiobooks through Libby than they have physical books in their physical libraries!
Little Free Libraries
I know that not everywhere has these, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention these. Little Free Libraries are great – take a few books you’re not interested in reading or interested in keeping, put them in the Little Free Library and if there are any books that interest you, take them. Easy as pie!
Edelweiss+ is a service that you obtain books in exchange for reviews. You don’t necessarily have to leave a review on a blog – you review the book on the Edelweiss+ website, and can then review on Goodreads, Bookhype, Amazon, B&N, or wherever you choose to leave your review. Just be aware that you may have to “apply” for the books and you may get declined. But there are books that are just ready to download without “applying” for them.
NetGalley is like Edeweiss+ – you obtain books in exchange for reviews. You’ll need to say that you’re a reviewer to get started and you’ll have to leave a review at least on NetGalley’s website, if not other places. As with Edelweiss+, you’ll have to apply for some books and others you’ll be able to download and read immediately.
BookSprout is another service like Edelweiss+ and NetGalley – but their books have deadlines on when you need to have them read and reviewed by. You’ll need to review on other services like Amazon as well as they’ll ask for links to other places.
BookSirens is yet another service like Edelweiss+ and NetGalley, but a bit different. Here you review on their website and whatever other websites the author prefers reviews on. In some cases you need to request the books, in others you can just download the books. You’ll be limited to one book at a time at first, but as you write reviews, you’ll “unlock” the ability to have more books at a time.
So there you have it. I’ve given you four websites, an app, Little Free Libraries, and your own local public library to source books from that won’t cost you any money. So now tell me, why would you ever bother to pirate books?