How to Get New Books Without Spending a Dime

ban challenge

Buying bans are often established to stop bookworms spending money on books. That’s really the centre of it. Let’s not spend money on these things we own enough of and save them for something else. It can be quite a depressing time in a bookworm’s life. But just because we can’t spend money on books doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for us to get new books.

The March discussion post for the buying ban challenge is all about sharing our resources for free books. If we’re not spending money on books does it really count as breaking a ban? This really depends on the point of your ban (saving money or cutting down the existing TBR) and is not the point of this post so moving on.

Where do you go to look for free books? There is the five finger shopping technique, but that’s very frowned upon in most circles of society and not something I’d recommend. There are many easy, legal ways to get your hands on free and cheap books. Where do I go to find such treasures?


The library is the perfect place. Books you can get your hands on will vary depending on where you live. Different libraries stock different numbers of books and don’t always have new releases. BUT there’s such a wide range of books to try. The only sucky part is sometimes having to wait months because there’s a waiting list for the book you want, and the overdue fees that can build up. One of the reasons I stopped using my library was that I wasn’t getting books read before they were due and I was really collecting the fees (they charge you to book books on hold -__- ) However, not that I have an iPad and have downloaded the appropriate apps I totally plan on utilising the eBook catalogue my library offers.



I’m super lucky in that I have a lot of IRL friends who are as obsessed with books as I am. Well, maybe not lucky. I actively search these people out. They’re the type of people I want to hang with. And you can  bet I’m going to make use of their libraries. Sometimes they buy a book I don’t own yet but am desperate to read. For example, the friend I’m living with this year bought THE YOUNG ELITES and SABRIEL and many others I haven’t been able to buy because of the ban.

Free Books & Deals on Amazon/Smashwords/iTunes/etc

Everyone’s heard of the Amazon Daily Deals right? Well, those aren’t the only cheap eBooks to be found online. Sometimes the first book in a big series will be free for a day as part of a promotion. Then there’s all the self published authors out there who have the books listed for free. There’s actually more than you’d think. If you search enough, there’s bound to be some hidden gems in there!

Review Books

One of the surreal parts of book blogging for me has been getting approved for  review books on Netgalley and Edelweiss and, recently, receiving physical review books from publishers (well, one publisher. I’m still to scared to contact others *nervous laughter*). I am so, so grateful for their generosity and letting me read their books. However I don’t know if I’d really classify these as free, because they do come with the expectation that you are going to honestly review them. So while this means I can add to my TBR without hurting my bank account, there is still a price tag of sorts attached.


While not traditional novels, there are podcasts out there that tell entertaining stories and are available for free download. Like the library, there are podcasts on almost any topic you can think of available! Factual history, fiction stories, science, murder stories, comedy, current events, so many others. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this resource. The only podcast I’ve downloaded is WELCOME TO NIGHTVALE, which I am now terribly behind on. If you’re interested in finding some podcasts to try, Asti @ Oh, the Books! made a post about some she’s been listening to (and that I’ve been told by my dad are awesome)

Where do you go hunting for free books?


40 Comment

  1. Amazon’s free ebooks and when publishers email me about their books. I’ve signed up and have been invited to join some publishers’ mailing lists, so I get a lot of freebies from those. Samsung has this partnership with Amazon where they let you choose a book from three book choices. I’ve gotten some good ones from there!
    Goldie @ My Book Musings recently posted…Blog tour excerpt: Fairy, Texas

    1. Bec says: Reply

      That’s exciting! I’m not on any mailing lists (yet) but the choice must be nice!

      That’s a great deal for Samsung users!

      1. Being on publishers’ lists help, especially if they use Netgalley or Edelweiss, because they just invite me to the book they ask me to review, so I don’t have to request a review anymore. It’s pretty great! Can clog up one’s emails if you subscribe to many though :)
        Goldie @ My Book Musings recently posted…Review: Fairy, Texas [Fairy, Texas book 01]

        1. Bec says: Reply

          It definitely would! I’m assuming I’ll be added to a few more lists when I actually get the guts up to request some books haha. There’s not too many Australian publishers so I don’t have to get too worried about clogging up my email feed (but I will anyway)

  2. You’ve only just been getting review copies?? BUT YOUR BLOG IS AWESOME. EMAIL THE REST AND DEMAND BOOKS :P I haven’t been to the library much this year yet. Maybe Jan and Feb are good months for release or something, because I’ve got about three quintillion review books. But my school library has such an awesome range so I should use it more often :P
    Emily @ Loony Literate recently posted…It’s a Loony Life (5)

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Psh, it’s not that awesome. And I don’t want to waste their time and what do I say and which books do I request jdhkjfhskd. I’m too much of a chicken for this haha.

      Yay for having a great range at your school! That doesn’t happen very often. Definitely start utilising it.

  3. I definitely take advantage of Netgalley and Edelweiss and also, Amazon’s free kindle books but I do not like to borrow books from my local library for two reasons. The first one being that they have such a small and limited young adult collection that it’s pointless and the second being that some of the older books are in such shoddy condition from the people who have read it before and it bugs me. Awesome post, Bec, every book-obsessed person need to read this!
    Laquesha @ We’re All Bookish Here recently posted…Stacking the Shelves #7: Awesome Books!!!

    1. Bec says: Reply

      The reason you don’t use the library is why I don’t like buying second hand books! Usually the books I got from the library were in okay conditon, but some… some were gross.


  4. Edelweiss and Netgalley are my go-to places when I am looking for free ebooks. Otherwise, if I am short of money, I look for gift certificate giveaways and hope to win something so I can buy some paperbacks :) It is not guaranteed way of getting “free” books but it is only possibility I can think of.
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…BLURB LOVE #1

    1. Bec says: Reply

      I forgot to add giveaways! I’ve been entering so many these past few months in the hope I win one. So far no such luck :/

  5. Library and Review Books, I’m so with you, they’re by biggest methods for getting free books! Currently, I’m enjoying just reading the books I have, but I definitely utilise these features pretty darn often! Great post Bec, good luck getting more RC too, you deserve them! :)
    Amanda @ Beautiful Bookish Butterflies recently posted…Weekly Recap | 2-7 March. 2015

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Thanks! The only reason I haven’t started getting more review copies is because I’m too scared to contact the publishers. And I have enough books right now… Though there are a few upcoming releases I am very tempted to request.

  6. I actually don’t consider ARCs free at all because it takes me three hours to read them and that time is worth something to me :)

    I do take advantage of my library, though. I love it because it’s attached to my school and I don’t buy books.
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…3x AMA: Jasmine Warga

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Our time is an investment! We bloggers are very busy people, trying to fangirl about all the books with everyone.

      I miss my school library! We had such a good range there. Now I’m at uni the fiction range isn’t so good :( (but I do get my sister to borrow books for me every now and then)

  7. When I see how many bloggers have love for libraries, it makes me wish I lived in a bigger city – or that a big city was within driving distance so I could do that myself. Man, I’d even want to work in a library and get ALL THE BOOKS! Review books and freebies are definitely the way to go when you’re low on funds for me. My IRL friends read, but it’s either biographies/non-fiction stuff, contemporary dramas or like 50 shades stuff D: *groan*
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Alanna

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Micheline, the library is a wonder! The worst part about it is having to return all your favourite books and not being able to keep them. And the fees when you get too many books and don’t finish them on time. But otherwise it’s AMAZING!

      Yeah I can understand why you wouldn’t go to your online friends often haha

  8. Definitely the library. I use it a lot these days because I work at one, so I’m always seeing new books out and wanting to read them! lol
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…A Look Back at Blog World (6)

    1. Bec says: Reply

      You work at a library! I wanted a job there for so long! Or at a bookstore. (A library would be a lot nicer on the bank account haha)

  9. NetGalley has been very shocking to me lately. I was approved for 3 huge books (least in my head) and didn’t think I had a snowball’s chance in heck of getting approved. I was amazed, shocked and completely floored when the emails came through.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews
    Terri M., the Director recently posted…Scenic Sundays 24: Night and Sarah Williams

    1. Bec says: Reply

      It’s the best feeling when you get approved for a book you were sure you wouldn’t get!

  10. I gotta try out this podcasts thing :) Glad you’re not recommending the 5 finger discount lol.
    Don’t forget to link up.
    Julie S. recently posted…#Shelflove: Share Your Sources for Free Books

    1. Bec says: Reply

      There’s some really interesting ones out there!

      I almost did forget to link up haha. Thanks for the reminder :)

  11. Great, great post, Bec! I actually never considered Podcasts (silly me, when we actually do our own ourselves!) I wish our library here were like the ones there :( It’s not always greatly stocked and it’s mostly filled with old books that are very scholarly. There is a library near where I am, though, so I’ll check that out.
    Faye M. recently posted…Say It With Bubbles: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

    1. Bec says: Reply


      I’ve been meaning to check out your podcast! I’ve heard so much about it.

      My university library is like that, but I think that’s more because our campus is smaller. I hope you find a decent library close by!

  12. I love NetGalley and Edelweiss and definitely make good use of them. I used to go to the library quite often too but since we moved to a different city just over a year ago, the local library is much further and inconvenient to get to by bus (I don’t drive).
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

    1. Bec says: Reply

      I had to stop using them because I was requesting too much haha. They have such a selection!

      Oh that’s a shame :(

  13. Kezia says: Reply

    I was trying to guess who wrote this post and omg I was right haha! Nice tips, Bec! Your expertise at managing book buying ban is no longer a secret lol. I’m planning to use my school library more often as well since I want to branch out to local books. It has quite a lot of local YAs so I’m pretty excited to read some of them. :D
    Kezia recently posted…[Review] Alienated by Melissa Landers

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Kezia, I think you spend too much time reading this blog :P

      I am a generous person, I share my secrets haha. I hope you find some good local YAs! I’d love to hear about them (and probably cry over their awesome soudning story lines and lack of English translations)

  14. I wish we had a wider selection of books in our local libraries. They’re mostly full of school books, history books and non-fiction reads. :( Friends, though, is a great place to get free books. I don’t have a lot of reader friends, but they pull through for me every once in a while. ;) I used to download tons of Amazon freebies, but I stopped when I realized that I never actually get around to reading them… Hooray for review copies, though! And it’s a plus that you get them early. :) I usually just relax with review copies and read them on my own time, since if I try to speed up my reading, I’ll end up being confused and disliking the books.

    Fabulous post today, Bec!
    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings recently posted…Review: Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes (Plus a The 100 Guest Post + Wallpapers!)

    1. Bec says: Reply

      That sounds like my uni library :/ My local council library had a bit of a better range, but still not many of the new US releases I wanted to read. Lots of Aussie authors though.

      Oh man, I have so many Amazon freebies I went crazy with when I first got my kindle. Still haven’t read a single one.

      Thanks, Aimee!

  15. You are so lucky to have real life friends who are interested in books, mine…not so much. I used to go to the library all the time when I was younger (that’s how I read the first four Harry Potter books) my library nearer me has closed down now (I stopped going there ages ago because they didn’t have a good selection) and the bigger library is like an hour away, which is a shame. :( Most of my “free” books come from review copies.

    1. Bec says: Reply

      If they don’t read when they met me, I turn them into readers XD

      Oh that’s sad, even if they didn’t have the best collection. An hour is a long way to travel, as amazing as libraries are :(

  16. Always searching for a giveaway of the book you’re looking for is good too!! ^_^ Especially if you’re very eager to read it and lots of hype publishers also might happen to give away the book! *evil chuckle here* I also LOVE my school library! I’m going to be very sad not to be able to visit next year…so I must READ ALL THE BOOKS NOW WHILE I CAN!!!
    Renee Bookboyfriends recently posted…mxcleod:marriedetectives:The Hobbit is a story about massive introvert who was forced to go…

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Yes giveaways! I enter so many (but haven’t hit a good streak f luck yet)

      Not being able to go to the library was one of the worst things about graduating high school. Take advantage of it while you can!

  17. […] Bec @ Readers in Wonderland on how to get new books without spending  […]

  18. This is a really great guide on how you get by on book buying bans Bec! Definitely utilising Netgalley, Edelweiss (only if you can review them) and the library. You must use the library more often Bec, they have some amazing new releases that I don’t mind waiting for.
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Indulgence Insider #23 – CONFESS and other review copies

    1. Bec says: Reply

      Thanks! I totally plan on utilising the library a lot more once I get my TBR down to 20 books or so. Especially their ebook catalogues now that I have the appropriate apps on my iPad.

  19. […] Bec explains how to get new books without spending a dime. […]

  20. YESSS to podcasts. I love them. Also, I can’t believe I didn’t read this post sooner… BEFORE I broke my book ban. *sigh* Haha, but I’m at least two weeks into my book ban and going strong (kind of) lol.
    Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms recently posted…Weekly Wrap Up #7, Staking the Shelves #23: It’s Been a While…

    1. Bec says: Reply

      I really need to utilise them more!

      At least you read it eventually! Haha, it happens to the best of us. But you will stay strong from now on, yes?!

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