Everyone wants to read more, but books get expensive very quickly. When you are on a budget, spending money on books can be really difficult to justify. While everyone wants to read more, making sure you have enough money in your budget for necessities is more important.
However, even if you are on a tight budget you still have plenty of options for finding quality books for free that don’t involve making a trip to your local library. Here are my favorite ways to do that.
If you have a Kindle then you have access to Amazon’s daily deals list. This includes free as well as discounted books. Along with the daily deals, they publish monthly deals, countdown deals, and offer a newsletter signup so you can receive email alerts.
If you prefer a Nook over a Kindle, Barnes & Noble has a free book list as well. Comic books, fiction, poetry, children’s literature, and more are all available for free.
If you own a Kindle, many of the books you own can be loaned to other Kindle users… which means, you can borrow other Kindle books as well. The caveat is that Kindle books can only be loaned one time.
When you loan a book, the recipient gets 14 days to read the book. Then, at the end of the lending period, the original owner automatically gets that book back in their Kindle library.
Many people might own the same book, so if you have a particular book that you really love, you could borrow it again from someone else. Sharing books this way to friends or family would also be convenient.
The best part of this service is that all loaned books are managed for you. Borrow, lend, and it is all handled automatically through Amazon’s lending program, managed by BookLending. Never worry about not getting your books back.
On the website, you can choose to borrow, lend, or both. It’s a convenient interface and works well if you want to access a particular book that your library does not carry.
This volunteer project focuses mainly on older works in the public domain. Many pieces of classic literature no longer have a copyright since they are so old. So, they can be accessed for free by anyone.
All the books are sorted into categories, and the list is extensive. Within each category, the individual books are displayed in various formats. Kindle, PDF, EPub, and other formats are available, although not every book is available in every format.
Offering over 57,000 books, this website is completely free. They do not charge any fees and you do not need a library card. Simply browse the online bookshelves and access the digital files. The website is available in English, Portuguese, German, and French.
If you like the idea of reading public domain books but prefer an audiobook format, Librivox might be a great solution for you.
A cousin to Project Gutenberg, this site is exclusively audiobooks read by volunteers, and all the works are in the public domain. So, more recent or popular books would not be available.
With over 12,000 titles to pick from, you’ll be able to listen to audiobooks for quite some time. If you enjoy listening to audiobooks but find them to be expensive, this is an excellent resource.
Additionally, the format that Librivox uses allows you to listen on your computer, mobile device, or burn the files onto a CD.
Lendle allows you to easily access and read Kindle books, similar to BookLending. Lendle works on a credit basis. You must join and have books to share first. Once you share those you will be allowed to borrow from others.
Again, as seen with BookLending, you can only lend Kindle books one time. Since you can borrow copies of the same book from multiple people, you can still find the books you want to read fairly easily. Even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can use the Kindle app on devices to be able to read the books.
If you really love Lendle, they offer a one-time upgrade to become a Patron. This costs $25. Upgrading gives you more features and allows you to earn more credits which can be used towards borrowing more books.
If you don’t feel like searching through a bunch of ebook directories, check out BookBub. Sign up, then receive emails with hand-picked books based on your preferences.
Some books are free, while others might be discounted from the normal retail price. Hold out for the freebies and it’s an excellent way to score ebooks that match your preferences.
Sometimes it’s hard to find free books in certain niches, such as how-to guides or cookbooks. With BookBub, you choose the categories that interest you, then those books are what you’ll be shown. It can save you lots of time, and keep your device free of books you aren’t really wanting to read.
Publishers advertising their deals through BookBub, so you’ll sometimes see discounted books, not simply free options. However, they advertise free books frequently, so it’s a really good way to get curated offers.
This site focuses on mysteries, thrillers, and other types of fiction. Different from other sites, you can easily find different series of books in several different genres, not just the books individually. The entire series may not be free, but it is still nice to have the whole series in one place for reference.
There is a daily post of a featured free book, and you can sign up to receive email offers for free books in your inbox. They pull these offers from the daily Kindle deals featured on Amazon.
Sometimes, the daily deals are only good for that particular day. So, you’ll have to jump on a deal if you see one. Always double check when downloading since some books will no longer be free if you check a few days after the deal was posted.
Playster is an incredible ebook service. They offer unlimited audiobooks every month, and their books are the newest, most current available. Plus, you can access classic literature, along with music, movies, games, and more.
They offer a free 30-day trial, so you would only be able to get books for free during that time. If there are specific books you want to read and can’t find anywhere else, this would be a great way to access those. They also offer a community you can join to connect with people who have similar interests.
If you want to continue with Playster after your free trial, they have several plans to choose from, depending on your needs and budget. But, you can access books for free for 30 days, so it’s risk-free to try it.
This amazing tool allows anyone to create beautiful story books in an online format. Digitally flip through the books available in the online library and listen to them being read if you want to.
Covering many different topics, all of these books are unique, fun to read, and animated. Most have an option to purchase a hard copy if you find one that you just cannot live without.
But, you don’t have to purchase anything to access the library and books. This would be a fun site for teachers needing a quick activity or parents wanting a fun way to introduce ebooks to their child.
My family loves this wonderful program. Children from birth to age 5 are eligible to receive a free hard copy book every month if they live in a participating location.
Local chapters organize the mailings and check the eligibility of families who apply to the program. If it is available in your area, your child will receive books that are age-appropriate and change as the child grows. They take care to cycle the books to avoid repeats.
Some titles we personally received were: Following Papa’s Song, Maple, and Llama, Llama Red Pajama. All the books we received are phenomenal and have quickly become some of our family’s favorites.
If you like unique books for your children, check this site out. Authors generously provide PDF versions of their books and they are available for you to download completely free.
Covering a variety of topics, these books are all linked to the hard copy version where you could choose to purchase if you really like a certain one. However, the organization encourages you to print the PDF first to see if it’s a book you’ll read regularly.
The books cover a wide range of topics, including emotions, birthdays, conversation, dinosaurs, puzzles, and much more. They even feature books that are written in fonts meant specifically for readers with dyslexia. Teachers and parents should definitely take advantage of this resource.
A fun way to both explore your neighborhood and read new books, this project encourages people to find hidden books, then leave a book for others to find.
Once you have hidden your book, you can use their website to track where it travels, read journal entries from those who found it and enjoy the community that is being built around something you shared.
Search for hidden books around you and enjoy them for free, before sending them on to a new reader. If you have a book you want to share, register it on the website and label the book using the provided materials.
Then, simply leave it anywhere you travel… a park, playground, or other location. When someone finds it, they’ll continue the chain!
If you want to find books, use the Book Map feature on the website to find books near you. Books travel all over the world, making this a fun project to be part of. You can also utilize the Go Hunting feature to narrow down the books by specific locations.
With a mission to spark a love of reading, Little Free Libraries help to build more literate, diverse communities. The goal is that everyone has access to books, no matter what.
Books are exchanged through small, cozy nooks that could be a basket in a barber shop, or an elaborate wooden cabinet tucked into someone’s garden. Readers “take a book and return a book”, so the selection changes frequently.
Each library is cared for by a “steward” who makes sure that the books are cared for. Currently, there are over 70,000 libraries in over 85 countries. Find one near you using the map feature.
Libraries around the world have partnered with Overdrive to provide access to an amazing collection of audiobooks, ebooks, and other digital resources for free. All you need is a library card.
Check with your local library to see if you have access. They have a map on their website which you can use to find out if a library near you is an Overdrive partner. You can sign up using Facebook or your email.
They offer access to an app named Libby which helps you find new ebooks to enjoy. There are online book clubs to join as well if you enjoy sharing the books you’ve read with others.
Offering a wide variety of genres such as fantasy, travel, children’s literature, nonfiction, and more, you’ll be sure to find something that you enjoy. However, each Overdrive collection will vary slightly as each library or school offers a different catalog of items.
16. Hoopla Digital
Very similar to Overdrive, Hoopla Digital is another great option to consider. You will need a library card to access Hoopla’s resources as well. In addition to ebooks, you can also borrow music, movies, TV shows, comic books, and more.
Because Hoopla offers a very broad range of products, they have apps available on multiple platforms, including for Roku and Fire TV. If you are looking to cut out cable, or have even considered ditching Netflix, you may be able to use Hoopla to stream a lot of the videos you enjoy for free.
Many services only offer older books, but Hoopla has several popular titles available. Books are sorted in a wide variety of genres, so there is something for every member of the family.
The wide variety of books featured through Hoopla, paired with the access to more types of media you gain, makes Hoopla a perfect platform to find great media.
Even if your budget is tight and it is hard to get to a library, there are plenty of great resources for free books out there. Whether you like classics, how-to guides, or need books for your children, there is a way to find great books and not break your budget.