Bookish Life

5 Ways to Read When You Can’t Afford Books

Reading is my favorite hobby, in fact, it is of the best hobbies you can have. It sparks your imagination, allows your to travel to far off cities and worlds, not to mention of the emotions you can experience in a single story. You aren’t limited to a place or space since you can read pretty much anywhere, even in the bathroom if you wish. The only real issue with reading is the cost. It can get expensive. In fact, I have an author whom I like to read yet her books are $5.99 each. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but when you are buying several books at that price a month it can add up. So, I have a few ways that I read books without breaking the bank or interfering with an authors way to earn a living.

1. the Library

When I was younger this was how I got all of my books. My parents had a full house and money was tight so if I wanted to read I got books at the library in town or school. I did get books on my birthdays or Christmas but if I received purchased books it was usually for an occasion. All of the librarians in town knew me. They also knew that I was checking books out on not my card but my siblings cards and sometimes my mother’s as well. Lets face my brothers would never read some of the books I got.

The library had a limit of ten books out at a time and I was allowed to go on the weekends in town. At school I could go whenever. Ten books would only get me through a day or two back then. My father never allowed me to use his card because he used his as often as I did. Even now the library is one of my favorite places, there is something about it that just makes me happy the moment I want in the door.

It’s FREE to join a library, and you can borrow pretty much anything. Many libraries have some of your favorite authors or can get books from other libraries for you. Take a look at what they have. If they don’t carry an author you love, talk with the librarian. They may can get some of their books.

2. Kindle Unlimited

This is one of my favorite ways to read books now. You pay $9.99 a month and can have 10 books out at a time (just like the library) You read the books, return them, and then get new ones. They offer suggestions based on your previous reading and purchasing history. Kindle Unlimited is part of Amazon so you need a Kindle or the free Kindle app. One side note, you have to read a certain percentage of the book in order for the author to earn anything. So if I’m not crazy about a book I will try to read at least half maybe a little more.

Amazon also offers daily and monthly deals not to mention the offer plenty of free classics. You know those books that have gone out of print or copyright or maybe are just of a certain age. Another good tip is to search the genre and then filter or sort them by price (low to high) because you will find all sort of free books to give a try.

3. Project Gutenburg

This is one that I haven’t used but have heard of. It has free books that are out of copyright. You are allowed to download the book sin any format so you can read them on pretty much any device. There are books in a variety of languages as well. Not to mention audio books.

4. Thrift Stores

I love used book stores and thrift stores when it comes to books. We have one locally and I am forever in there checking for books to read. They have an awesome pricing system in mine. Books typically are a dollar or so. I check the bargain bin there because those books are under a dollar. I used this store a lot when I was doing the classic books challenge. It was an easy way to find copies of the books. Yes, I could have gotten them free but I honestly wanted to read them the way they were intended to be read.


If you are a book blogger or review books regularly on other sites (I.e Goodreads, Amazon, or your own blog) then NetGalley is one of the best options. I love that they don’t require you to have a blog. You just need to be a reviewer. On NetGalley you select a book (they have a vast assortment that changes almost everyday) and then request it. If approved you read and review the book. You can download the book to read it on any device. They even have a Read Now section in every genre when you are instantly approved. One thing to mention is to be sure you follow their suggestions when completely your profile. It will make all the difference in getting approved or rejected for books.

enter the giveaway books OCT 2021
Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans




Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, especially Amazon. This means I may earn a commission should you chose to purchase a book or product using my link.


  • Mya Murphy

    There’s tons of sites where you can download free books. I sometimes just type free books on amazon, there’s also freestufftimes. Personally, I love the library best!

  • Carolsue

    The program (app) that I have on my iPad called LIBBY has almost any book you could want, including the new releases. You can read in either Libby or Kindle. I also check out a couple websites that give daily posts with free or cheap e-books

  • leticia invsbooks

    this is such a cool and helpful post, especially during quarentine! i most of the times download free ebooks on amazon, or (as much as i dont like doing this as i’d rather support writers) try to find free books on z library!

  • larissa

    good post! i’ve been looking for free ebooks on amazon since i’m in quarantine and trying to save some money. thanks for the tips!

  • Barrie

    A few ways are to join ARC sites such as netgalley, Hidden Gem Books and Book Sprouts. Another way is to look for free books on Amazon.

  • heather

    I like to get books from the library for free. Also you can sometimes find folks on Craigslist who will trade books for free.

  • Jessica Staley

    Thanks for the tips. I’m a library person but I am getting in to blogs and new letters to see when they have e reader discounts.

  • Heather Dawn

    I just go to my library lol. It’s very small, but it has all the new releases. I also enter giveaways for books.

  • Sarah L

    For me it’s Library, Library, Library. The last 3 months it’s been lots of ebooks from the library. Easy to use and FREEEEEE.

  • Donna

    Great ideas! I love going to the library! I’ve found that authors will sometimes have free or discounted ebooks for fans who subscribe to their newsletters.

  • Krista

    You have some great ideas here! I need to check out Project Gutenberg. Probably some rare finds there!

  • Jenn

    Excellent tips! I used to go to the public library a few times a month when I was a kid. I love perusing the library, but these days i don’t have much time to do that so Kindle Unlimited is a great option for me.