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Reading can be an expensive hobby, but there are tons of ways to get access to cheap or free books so that you can read as many books as you like while still also being able to pay your bills. Here are a few of my tips to save money on reading:
1. Start with books you already own. This may be an obvious one, but many of us readers buy a lot of books that at the time we think we want to read at some point but that just end up sitting on a shelf collecting dust. Before you take a trip to the bookstore (or Amazon) to find a new book to read, try taking a look at your own bookshelves first; you never know what hidden gems you might find there. (By the way, this totally includes raiding your spouse/partner/significant other’s/roommates’/family members’ shelves; if it weren’t for me digging through my boyfriend’s books, I’d never have read His Dark Materials!)
2. Visit your local library. Seemingly endless books to read for free? What a concept. Sure, you don’t get to keep the books forever, but if you really like a book you’ve checked out from the library you can always buy it later on. And if you don’t like it, no harm done. Plus, many libraries now let you borrow ebooks and audiobooks through apps like Overdrive and Libby in addition to physical books. (P.S. One of the many things Millennials are apparently NOT ruining are libraries! Did you know Millennials are using the public library more than any other generation?)
3. Subscribe to sites like Book Riot or BookBub that send out daily email alerts about ebooks on sale. I love keeping an eye out for great deals on books that I’ve been wanting to read but haven’t bought yet. Just make sure you’re careful about how many of these cheap ebooks you’re buying–they can add up quickly! When you snag a new ebook, try to either begin reading it immediately or at least make sure to add it to your TBR list so you don’t forget about it.
4. Review what you read. If you write reviews on a blog, Goodreads, Amazon, or anywhere else, or are interested in starting to post reviews, try signing up for NetGalley, a site where you can request free advance or new release copies of ebooks from publishers in exchange for an honest review of the book. Yes, writing reviews takes up some time, but you’ll get free books and the satisfaction of knowing you might help someone else decide whether they want to read a book you’ve written about.
5. Buy used. Check out used bookstores near you or the book section at Goodwill. Some bookstores, like Half Price Books, even allow you to sell books to them (which you can then use toward the purchase of other books). Check with your local library too, as many libraries often have used book sales.
6. Get a Barnes & Noble membership. For only $25 per year, members save 40% on hardcover bestsellers and 10% on almost everything else. With these discounts, you can make up the cost of the membership very quickly and then some. Sadly, the discounts do not apply to digital purchases, but if you like to buy print books, especially bestsellers, the discount can add up! Find out more here.
7. Buy from Bookwitty and get free international shipping. Have you signed up for Bookwitty yet? Not only can you order books online for great prices (seriously, I was completely surprised to find books at the same price (or less!) than Amazon) with free international shipping, but you can also create your own reading lists and posts as well as follow what others are sharing.
8. Wait for paperback. It can be very tempting to buy a book right after publication, but the price of all those brand new hardcovers can really add up. Hold out until the paperback comes out, or if you just can’t wait to read this particular book, download the ebook instead since it will likely be much cheaper. (Personally, my favorite kind of books to read are paperbacks–I find them much easier to carry around and more comfortable to hold for extended periods of time!)
10. Borrow books from friends! I’ve found that some of my best reading recommendations have come from close friends–it’s even better when your friend has a copy of the book and is willing to lend it to you! Just do as I say, not as I do, and remember to return the book to its owner within a reasonable period of time.
I hope some of these tips give you some new ideas on how you can maximize your reading while minimizing your spending. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear–let me know in the comments!