How to get books for free (and cheap)

Are you broke because you splurged on something as silly as clothes? (Lul, noob mistake- never buy anything except books)

Don’t be a book pirate. The author will haunt your dreams. If you follow this guide and get books legally, the authors will send you Diwali gifts.

Perhaps you are a new reader who wants to start reading but don’t want to spend too much. Well, either way, this guide is for you.

Kindle

Yes, yes I know I talk about the kindle a lot. But it’s really that great! Believe me, I was one of those who said “I’ll never buy a kindle, I love physical books”. I had to change my mind when my bookshelf ran out of space and parents refused to get another one. Is that too much to ask for- another 6 foot bookshelf?

The cheapest kindle is totally worth the price tag. The classics are available for free and other books are available for low prices. I have even seen some kindle models sold in the second hand market (Olx, Quikr) for dirt-cheap prices (approx ₹2000)

EreaderIQ is a website you can register at, select your favorite genres and they will send you an email everyday that lists out good books that are either free or discounted from your chosen genres. I have downloaded and read many of their free recommendations and most of them were pretty good books. Who doesn’t like free books every single day?

Local Libraries

There’s no joy in selecting books based on online recommendations. I love going to a library and picking out something from the shelf. Is it good or bad? No way to know unless I read it. No checking online reviews. I judge the cover and the blurb on the back cover and take it home.

Find out if your area has a library. Chances are, there must be one and the membership costs will generally be cheap. I subscribed to one last week and the cost is just ₹75 per month (!!!), I can take two books at a time and can keep them for a full month! Although the book collection is limited, I’m willing to read them all.

Beg-Borrow

Ask your friends or online friends if they have the book you want to read. If someone lets you borrow one, please treat it as your firstborn child. Do not damage the book by dog-earing, eating or drinking around it, marking in it or anything criminal like that. Be good and you might be looking forward to a lifetime of free books from them. Make one mistake and you are blacklisted for life. Believe me, I have blacklisted people.

Second-hand book sellers

Some stores often hold sales for used books where you can get excellent books for ridiculously cheap prices. In Mumbai, that would be Butterfly books (books by weight) and Ashish books. They arrange sales near CSMT station at Sundarbai Hall. You will spot me there, hunched over the vast lines of books. Please don’t ask for my autograph.

Recycling shops (raddiwaala)

This one is actually sad. A few of my friends tell me they have spotted books displayed at their local recycling shop and bought them for super cheap- around ₹50 or even less. One man’s trash is another man’s (superbly cheap) treasure.

Sales

A lot of stores, online and offline will have sales around the holidays so keep track of the prices. I have bought kindle ebooks for 98% off!

Some stores will hand out membership cards which will earn you points for shopping there. Accumulate these points and you can get a free book (depending on how much you shop) I have one by Crossword bookstores. Although it’s not a great deal, some discount is better than no discount. When I urgently need to buy a book (mostly to give as gifts) I can’t wait for Amazon delivery.

Happy Reading!

Check out this list of bestselling books to see if you would like to read one! Every purchase you make, Amazon will pay me a tiny percentage of commission. This will help keep this website running. 

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