I have been an avid reader most of my life. I enjoy immersing myself in stories that are bigger than myself. For a number of years, I liked reading about the past, stories about people who lived in a world without my modern conveniences as they tried to find their way through the world. Later, I found myself drawn to stories set in foreign places. Reading about different cultures and sceneries expanded my world view. Recently, I have found myself reading for so many different reasons, that I have happily acquainted myself with a variety of authors and stories. That being said, a book a day habit can get expensive. So, I have been exploring several sources for free (or ‘free-ish’) books. The ones I use most frequently are my local library, BookBub, NetGalley, Kindle Unlimited, and BookSirens.
I love using the library! In the past year, I have moved, so I have a new library system, but the basics remain the same: I walk into a library and I have thousands of titles and covers enticing me with the promise of a new adventure. I have not availed myself of additional services in the physical library, but I do enjoy seeing the variety of authors holding events and social opportunities offered. Many Sundays when I visit, I can hear live local music playing in an anteroom and it makes my husband and I smile. I like to go into the library with a list of books I want to locate, but often find myself wandering the stacks looking for anything that may catch my attention. When I am in need of a new book, I will often utilize my library’s online services. I have access to Overdrive, Libby, and Hoopla through my library system, and find I can access an appropriate title almost anytime.
Bookbub has offered me access to more free e-books and inexpensive bestsellers. I like the curated list of 10-12 titles that I can peruse everyday, add to my list, and then read when the mood strikes. I have not found the perfect way to maintain my list from this site and find a lot of duplicates, but I have increased my Kindle library in a big way!
NetGalley and BookSirens each offer free advanced reader copies of not-yet-published and soon-to-be-published books in exchange for an honest review. I have started using these services as a reader, but have not perfected my use of either of them. My favorite things about belonging to these two sites are reading books I may have to wait for at the library and being contacted about titles I may enjoy. Spending more time with these sites may increase my enjoyment.
Kindle Unlimited is not free, but it feels like a paid library to me. I read several books a month offered through KU, and feel I get my money’s worth. This is especially true if I am participating in certain reading challenges. KU offers a mixed bag of established authors and newbie authors, both highly polished and unedited. I will continue to use KU, but I find myself more and more using other resources.
How about you? What sites do you use to get free-ish books? Do you have a favorite ARC for review site? Are you lucky enough to have a used bookstore in your area that still accepts books for credit?