Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Reading on a Budget

April 4th, 2011 by Debbie's World of Books

Julia over at The Broke and Bookish had a great post about reading on the cheap. She had some great suggestions and since I’m on a tight budget I thought it would be great to also share my tips and sites for those who do not have a lot of money for books.  I’m not going to list all of the ones Julia already covered so be sure to check out her post for more tips.


If you own an eReader here are a couple tips for finding free ebooks.

  • If you type in “0.00” in the search field and search NookBooks it will bring up thousands of free ebooks.  You can start drilling down based on genre. Just read carefully because some of them are just sneak peeks.
  • The nook Deals blog is pretty good about posting about free Nook Books.
  • Books on the Knob is a great site if anything it’s hard to keep up with because it is updated so often.  They often mention deals that last only a day or so so you should keep up otherwise you can miss some great deals.
  • If you are looking in particular for Kindle books you can check out Amazon’s bestsellers page.  They have the top 100 free Kindle books listed.

Used Books

In addition the options Julia mentions you can try:

  •  You can post your books and send them to other members to get credits to use towards requesting books from other members.  All you do is pay to ship out the book.  They also have a thread for people who are trading ARCs for credits since officially you are not allowed to post ARCs.  This is April’s thread but a new one is posted each month so be sure to look for the latest one.
  • is pretty much the same thing as but I prefer PBS because if you make a wish list and a book on it becomes available it will “reserve” it for you for a couple days.  On BookMooch they just send you an email so I was never able to get any of my wish list books since someone else would always claim it first.  Still I’ve heard some people prefer BookMooch.
  • If you live in the Bay Area, California in El Cerrito there is a Bay Area Free Book Exchange store.  You can drop off books and pick up free books during the weekend.  I haven’t checked it out yet but it sounds like an intriguing idea.
  • is something I just heard about in my online book club.  I haven’t tried them out but it looks like a pretty good deal.  Has anyone tried ordering books from it?

Book Giveaways

In addition to the Goodreads and LibraryThing options mentioned in Julia’s post there are also:

In the Store

  • Don’t forget to check out your stores bargain books.  I know at Borders I’ve picked up some great bargain books.  I got copies of almost all of Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods books, a few Sarah Dessen books, John Green’s Paper Towns and several other great finds.
  • Borders Reward program.  I know a lot of the stores have closed (all the ones near me) but if you do have a Borders near you there is the Borders Reward program that I love.   They send out coupons pretty much every week usually for 33% off but occasionally 40% off one item.  If you join Rewards plus which cost I believe $20 a year you get an additional 10% off all purchases.  For every $150 you spend in a year you receive $5 Borders bucks that you can use towards your next purchase.
  • B&N also has a membership program.  As far as I know there is no free version.  You have to pay $25 a year.  You get various discounts in the store and free express shipping if you shop at

Hope that helps my fellow readers who are on a budget.  Do you have any other money saving tips for the frugal reader?

Posted in Books

10 Responses

  1. April (Books&Wine)

    On amazon if you look up bonus material while searching kindle books, it will take you to .99 Harper Collins ebooks.

    Also, for used books, I recommend Better World Books, they are cheap AND a portion of all proceeds goes towards charity.

  2. drey

    Thanks for the ideas, Debbie… I’ll have to check some of them out. Never used PBS or BookMooch, but maybe I’ll start… I don’t know, is it worth the shipping hassle?

  3. Bibliotropic

    The downside is that a lot of sites that do giveaways and swaps are country-specific, and Canads doesn’t usually get in on those things very quickly.

    My favourite cheap/free sources of books are second-hand stores, the library, and NetGalley, though I know that NetGalley doesn’t give stuff out to everybody.

    I also have an account on Swagbucks, and every time I use them as a search engine I have the chance to win points. I always save them up until I get enough for Amazon gift cards, and then save those gift cards up until I can place an order with free shipping. I may only be able to get 4-5 books a year that way, but the whole thing’s free, and it’s no hardship to type “Facebook” into the Swagbucks search bar instead of typing the URL. :)

  4. Bibliotropic

    And by “Canads”, I mean “Canada.” Stupid typos.

  5. Carol Wong

    These are wonderful suggestions,
    I hadn’t heard of Books on the Knob before. Besides Swagbucks, I get GC from My View.
    One thing I really like is that you still get 125 points even if you don’t qualify for a survey and you don’t have to wait forever for the GC.

  6. Debbie's World of Books

    Thanks for the tip April!

    Drey-PBS works for me since I can mail them from work. You can have up to 5 days to get to the post office. The other option is for a small fee you can just print the postage at home and just drop it in your mailbox. I have friends that do that.

    Bibliotropic-I know, I feel bad for those outside of the US & UK. They seem to have the most giveaways. I just recently joined Swagbucks so we’ll see how it goes.

    Carol-I’ll have to go check out My View. thanks!

  7. Julie H

    Thanks for the remindes and tips. I will go check out Julia’s page too. The new lend feature on Nook is something I haven’t explored yet, but would be another way to share! I certainly trade books with a couple friends at work quite often.

  8. Julie H

    Thanks for the reminders and tips. I will go check out Julia’s page too. The new lend feature on Nook is something I haven’t explored yet, but would be another way to share! I certainly trade books with a couple friends at work quite often.

  9. Katie

    Library!! My library has a great selection, and even a pretty good ebook selection. It’s my main resource for books now.

  10. Debbie's World of Books

    Julie H-I’ve borrowed a book on the Nook from a friend once and it was pretty nice.

    Katie-yup, library was one of the first options Julia mentioned. It’s definitely my primary source.

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