Where to Find Thousands of Free & Deep-Discounted Books to Add to Your Home (& Digital) Library

March 16, 2020
Updated July 2022

At the beginning of the pandemic, families pounced on our local Barnes & Noble Booksellers, purchasing books, puzzles, and games, in preparation for staying at home. It reminded me of when I was young when I would visit the library to stock up on books when a predicted blizzard was imminent, knowing it would close down our small town for a few days.

As avid readers, there is nothing worse than not having something good to read when we want, or need it. In our digital age, we are fortunate that there are many outlets for building up our home library that does not require spending much (if any) money. With a smartphone, iPad, or other reading devices, you have a plethora of fun choices. 



FREE BOOKS:
The best place to start is OverDrive, an online public library with thousands of books accessible with your local library card. The Libby app from Overdrive allows you to read on your portable devices. Just as in the library, books are available in all genres, including new books, children's and middle-grade books, and audiobooks. If you see a book that checked out, waiting lists are available just like the physical library. Reserve a book, and when you are next on the list, it will show up on your "shelf"! This service is free, simple to use, easy to browse, and provides an introductory tour.

If you want to read more of the classics, visit the Gutenberg Project, a fabulous website with "a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world's great literature here, with a focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education."

Who isn't an Amazon Prime member nowadays?  But did you know that if you are a Prime member, you can borrow books free through Prime Reading? Accessible through your Kindle app, click on "Discover" at the bottom of your Kindle library screen to see current Prime reading choices. Another bonus as a Prime member is First Reads, an opportunity to see Editors Picks and choose a FREE Kindle book each month from a choice selection.   

BOOKS BY MEMBERSHIP:
My favorite way to read books right now is with KindleUnlimited, offering many more excellent book choices than Prime Reading. (Although as a Prime Member with a Kindle Unlimited membership, you have access to both). With this service, you'll wish you had more hours in the day to read! Kindle Unlimited offers a free one-month trial, with $9.99 each month after that. If you are primarily a digital book reader, this may be a good option if you want to read and return.  

BOOK DEALS:
If you prefer to purchase digital books because you are a re-reader, check Kindle Deals for popular books offered for a low price for a select time. You can scope the deals by genre, and even use the "low to high" filter to discover any free books in that category. So you don't miss any deals, I recommend signing up for the newsletter (link at the top of the Kindle Deals page).

Book Bub is another opportunity to build up your digital book library. Sign up for a free account, select your interests, and get the daily (or weekly) email with the latest deals. Book sale prices range from free to about $3.99.

Early Bird Books is similar to Book Bub, listing free and bargain ebooks that match your interests. Sign up for free, read the books on any device, and the books are yours to keep.

If you already write reviews and blog about books, NetGalley may be fun for you. The more social media influence and reach you have, the more opportunities you have to attain new book previews to review. If I don't qualify to read the book before its release, I often have the chance to download an advance reader's copy to read and review after the book's publication.  Read "NetGalley for Members" to know what's required.

Kobo (now part of the Rakuten network) is a site all its own for digital books.  Purchase from their store and get rewarded with Super Points to use toward future purchases. Kobo has a page with free ebooks to get you started when you sign up for a free account. 

If you want to venture further to find free ebooks, I also found Free-Ebooks.net (be sure to include the hyphen). With thousands of books, readers can discover new authors in the writing world. Claiming that they have "lots of books, 100% free," ManyBooks has the vision of providing an extensive library of books in digital format for free.  

AUDIOBOOK DEALS:

Many people know about Audible, which offers two plans for audiobooks.  Audible Plus gives a new customer a free 30-day trial, then it's $7.95 per month. With this plan, you can listen all you want to a selection of included originals, audiobooks, sleep tracks, meditation programs, and podcasts. With Audible Premium Plus, there is also a free 30-day trial, and then $14.95 per month. You enjoy everything in the Audible Plus package, in addition to one title per month from an extended selection of best sellers and new releases that you can keep forever. My husband likes to purchase the entire year at one time, so he gets his 12 credits immediately to use when he wishes. 

Chirp Books is a free service I found with amazing deals on audiobooks. You purchase what you want when you want - no subscription fees! Just create an account, purchase your books from their huge library (including New York Times bestsellers), then stream or download using their free app. I have already purchased a good selection of bargain audiobooks from my favorite authors. Be sure to sign up for their email list to be notified of limited-time deals. 

With all these choices, you can easily fill your digital bookshelf with titles you have been wanting to read! 

Where do you find deals for free or bargain digital books?


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