Not to brag, but I’m a pretty awesome speed-reader. One of my proudest accomplishments is that I read the seventh Harry Potter book in just one night. In other words, I go through books like Honey Boo Boo goes through butter.
Since getting a brand-spanking-new Kindle Fire for Christmas, I’ve spent even more time reading. Unfortunately, my affinity for good books is kind of busting my budget. I’m spending about five to ten dollars a week on e-books. It might not sound like much, but $40 a month for pleasure reading is a little bit insane for a college student. Add that to the fact that I could probably get most of these books cheaper as paperbacks, and it’s pretty hard to justify the expense.
I know that e-books aren’t necessarily the most frugal option, but the convenience makes it worthwhile. So if you’re like me and you insist on reading electronically, here are a few ways you can snag some cheap e-books – and maybe even some free ones!
Download them from your library
Check with your library to see if they have e-books. My library has a website where you can download e-books by logging on with your library card information. Unfortunately, this method does have a few downsides. The limited selection is the biggest turnoff. There are quite a few books available, but I can never seem to find what I’m looking for, and the popular titles usually have long waiting lists. Don’t let me talk you out of using your library resources though; if you’re more patient than I am, the library can be a great way to read on your Kindle for free.
Take advantage of daily and monthly deals
Amazon’s Kindle Store has two online deal sections that present you with limited-time offers on popular books. This is the first place I go when I’m looking for new reading material. The Kindle Daily Deal offers a choice of about ten books, and they usually cost less than five dollars, with most of them priced at $1.99 or cheaper. The Monthly Deals Section offers a much more extensive choice of titles that all cost less than $3.99. Make a practice of checking these sections daily, because once the deal ends, you’ve missed your chance!
Share books with friends
Believe it or not, you can lend e-books straight from your Kindle. However, there are a few restrictions:
- You can’t lend every book that you buy. Find out if a book is lend-able by checking out the product details page.
- You can only lend a book once. Once you’ve lent a title to someone, you won’t be able to lend it ever again.
- You can’t lend periodicals. Magazines, newspapers and other periodical content can’t be shared.
Find a friend with similar reading interests and share books with each other. While the lending program does have its limitations, it can still save you a few bucks.
Search free books
Finding a free Kindle Book is as easy as typing “0.00” in the search bar. There are literally thousands of free e-books out there, and some of them are worth a download. The electronic editions of most public domain books are completely free. Last year, I went through a brief Edith Wharton obsession, and luckily, all of her books are free on Amazon. This can be a great opportunity to get familiar with literary classics!
Check out one of these websites
There are approximately 29 million websites devoted to helping you find free and cheap e-books. I might be exaggerating a little, but you don’t have to look far to find one. EReaderIQ is a site that watches e-book prices to let you know when the price drops or the book becomes free. FreeBooksy watches the Internet for free e-books and features daily freebies so that you don’t have to search forever to find a good, free book. I also highly recommend Hundred Zeros, a frequently updated catalog of free bestsellers.
Watch it ‘til it drops
I have a rule that I don’t buy any e-book more expensive than $4.99. While there are thousands of e-books that fall right in my price range, I sometimes want to read popular bestsellers or other books that I’ve heard about. Since I can’t stomach plunking down $12.99 just for one story, I simply add it to my Amazon Wish List and check the price daily. Kindle e-book prices change on a dime, so if there’s a book you’re interested in, a little bit of persistence and price-watching will help you snag it when the price is right.
You don’t need a big budget to read books on your Kindle. Using one of these methods can help you get a great price on a variety of literature. If you’ve got any other e-book hacks, shoot me an email or let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear about it!