Let’s be real: reading is an expensive hobby.
It’s hard to keep up with hardback list prices climbing upwards of $17.99 and paperbacks getting more expensive every year. When you tear through several books a month, those prices start to stack up, and it’s not pretty. You’d almost do anything—except stop reading, of course—to avoid those steep prices that seem so set in stone, but don’t worry, I have good news:
There are so many ways to get books at extremely affordable prices. Particularly with ebooks, publishers often reduce their prices to $2.99, $1.99, and sometimes even $0.99 to promote them. The problem is it’s difficult to know when this happens and which books it applies to. However, there are several sites and methods you can use to get in-the-know about these things. For your convenience, I’ve put together a list of those things, and included ways to get discounted physical books, as well.
So, here are several ways you can continue your reading hobby at a voracious pace without going bankrupt:
Goodreads is like a social network for readers. There are many perks to being a part of this community, like discovering new books, finding reading buddies, and being able to update your reading status and add books to different shelves like “read,” “to-read,” and “favorites.” One of the best perks, though, is getting an email any time a book on your “to-read” shelf is at a reduced price. Goodreads gives you links to buy books you’ve been wanting to read through Amazon Kindle, NOOK, iBooks, etc. for as low as 99 cents.
Also, at the end of each year, the site holds its annual “Goodreads Choice Awards,” and in January, winning books are offered at low prices, which gives you a great way to get the absolute best books of the year at ridiculously affordable prices. It’s worth signing up.
2. Follow Authors On Social Media
Not only does following authors on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr get you fun perks like insight into their writing processes and sneak peeks at their works in progress, but authors also love to let readers know when their books are at a reduced price. This is one of the best ways to get recent, popular books for only $2.99, $1.99, or less.
3. Kindle Deals
Amazon’s Kindle Store offers different books in every genre at reduced prices both on a monthly and daily basis. If you have a Kindle, you can access this in your store’s menu and check back every day to see your options. This is a great way to not only find books you’ve been waiting for at an affordable price, but also to discover new favorite stories and authors.
4. NOOK Daily Find
Similar to Amazon’s deals, Barnes & Noble’s NOOK store also offers affordable deals on a daily basis.
If ebooks aren’t your thing and you’re more of a hold-the-book-in-your-hands type of person, Goodwill is the ultimate cheap books heaven. Typically, hardback books are $1.99 and paperbacks are only 99 cents. People donate all sorts of books to Goodwill, so you could find anything from an early edition of a classic novel to a brand new copy of a recent bestseller.
6. Amazon Marketplace
Amazon provides a way for users to buy new and used physical books from third-party sellers for as low as $0.01 through Amazon Marketplace. However, Amazon requires a minimum of $3.99 for shipping on each individual book order, so you’ll always be paying at least $4 for a book, but hey, that’s a great deal compared to most list prices. Amazon Marketplace is a great way to shop if you’re looking for a specific edition of a book (hardback or paperback or collector’s edition, new or used), and it gives you the ability to buy a brand new book while paying significantly less than the list price. Although it’s the most expensive of these options, it’s a great way to find exactly what you’re looking for.
NetGalley is a really cool way to get free books; however, there’s a small caveat. This site offers free galleys—otherwise known as ARCs, or Advanced Readers’ Copies—to readers in exchange for honest and thoughtful reviews. Publishers send these books out before they are published as a way to promote them. So, to sign up, you need to have a blog on which you review books and/or a Goodreads account to review them on, and you don't always get to pick what books you're sent. But if you really like to read and are willing to write honest reviews, this site is definitely worth looking into.
8. The Good Old Public Library
And, of course, we can’t forget the ultimate best way to read books affordably. Sometimes we forget that all the best classics, popular fiction, thoughtful non-fiction, and hot bestsellers are only a short drive away, available for the extremely low price of $0.00. There is the one drawback that you don’t get to keep the book on your own shelves once you’ve read it, but at least you know it’s always just a short way away, waiting to be read again. And now, most public libraries have the option to borrow books digitally on your tablet or eReader for ultimate convenience. Plus, the library is just a great place to be in general, so this option provides you with not only the most affordable reading experience, but also a pleasant, quiet reading environment.
Reading can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t need to be. If you’ve got the right tools, books can be so affordable that you’ll be able to buy more than you’ll be able to read!