Read As Much As You Like For Almost Nothing

Harald Carlens
Nov 5, 2015 · 3 min read

Yesterday a friend told me that she was going to have to cut back on reading because she was spending too much money on books.

My reaction was: “Really?! You can buy loads of books for less than the cost of the meal we just had. Reading doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t even have to cost anything! ”

So if you’re reading this, here’s my take on how you can read as much as you like for almost nothing.

1. Read Classics For Free

Project Gutenberg is a project that digitises and freely distributes popular books which have gone out of copyright. If you’re looking for a classic book to read, start by checking the list of their top 100 books. Most of the books are available to read online, or to download in Kindle, pdf, and other formats.

2. Read A Chapter For Free

How many books have you bought which you haven’t even had time to get around to starting yet? And what about the ones you started but got bored of after the first chapter? Amazon gives free eBook samples of the first 10% of a book, which is often several chapters. Even if you’re sure you’ll like a book, why not just download the sample first and only pay for the rest once you’ve read past that?

3. Borrow Books For Free

This is obvious but worth mentioning because it’s so easy to forget. Most cities have public libraries (find your nearest library: UK/US). Usually you can sign up for free, and borrow several books at a time. If they don’t have the book you want in your local library you can often order it in from another one in the region if you’re willing to wait a little longer.

There are also non-public libraries. If you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow one book per month for free. It’s not worth signing up to Prime for this, but if you already have it then you might as well make use of the book lending service!

4. Buy Used Books For A Fraction Of The Price

I don’t get why anyone would feel the need to buy a perfectly crisp, new version of a book. Books are one of the few things which gain character with use, and I would almost always prefer to read a used book than a new one. The great thing is that these can often be picked up for a small fraction of the price!

Second hand bookstores are great places to get lost and find books you would never otherwise come across. If you’re shopping online, this website will let you look up a book and show you the cheapest place to buy it, used or new (regional versions: UK/US/IN/DE/CH/NL).

Amazon isn’t always cheapest!

5. Exchange Books With Friends

A book is no good to me when it’s sitting on my shelf. If I’ve read a book and liked it, I try to think of a friend who will like it too and give it to them. Even if they don’t return the favour, I feel much happier knowing that they might be enjoying it too! Most good friends will return the favour though, so you’ll end up with more books including ones you might not have thought of buying yourself.

6. Invest In An eBook Reader

eBook readers are a great way to read, and though they may seem expensive at first I think they’re a great investment — I’ve had mine for several years and have spent countless hours reading on it. If you’re thinking of getting one I’d highly recommend the Kindle Paperwhite (new: UK/US or cheaper refurbished: UK/US) — here’s more on why.

Any more tips you think I should know about? I’d love to hear them, please get in touch! Thanks for recommending and sharing.

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