We have a bunch of bookworms in this family, and a big part of our budget goes to buying new books — especially when you lump in all the textbooks needed by the five of our kids who are currently in college or professional school. (Textbooks are especially pricey, which is why one of our students rents most of his — but that’s another post for another day.) But what if I told you how you could start building a home library for FREE? Would you do it?
Of course, our family borrows a lot of books from the local library (mainly children’s picture books), but we normally purchase the titles we want to keep. Whenever possible, we buy them used at a substantial discount. But over the years, we’ve also found some great ways to add quality books to our home library for FREE. Here are a few of our favorite sources for doing so:
Free Print Books
I prefer reading print books whenever possible. I love the feel of paper in my hands, the ability to write notes in the margin, and being able to find an underscored portion on the page exactly where I remember it being the first time I read a particularly poignant passage. Here are the best sources of free print books I’ve been able to find. (I’d originally listed a few others in this post, but those links have quit working as more and more publishers move their catalogs to digital copies.)
This club is sponsored by Tyndale Publishers and offers a nice selection of newly released Christian titles. I’ve earned a full shelf of free books with a minimal investment of time or effort. (To peruse a samplings of books I’ve added to my home library through this rewards program and learn tips on making the most out of it, check out this post: How to Earn Free Books Quickly with My Reader Rewards
There are a variety of ways you can earn points to exchange for books of your choice: sign up for a newsletter, take a short survey, tell a friend about the club, share a link on Facebook or Twitter, or post a review on Amazon (just to name a few).
If you aren’t already a member of My Reader Rewards, you’ll automatically receive 25 points (and I’ll get 10) when you sign up through my referral link.
With books available for as few as 30 points, it doesn’t take long to earn a free one.They’ll ship it straight to your home, and you don’t even have to pay for the postage!
Don’t let the name of the club fool you — you can also get hardbound or audio copies of books, not just paperbacks.
Anytime I have a long list of books to purchase, I check to see if any of them are available through PaperBack Swap. If so, I order as many as my accrued credits allow.
It does not cost anything to join the club (they do offer some paid subscription levels with extra perks, but all I’ve ever used is the free “a la carte” membership).
As a new member, you earn credits by listing books you are willing to swap. Later, you’ll get a credit for each listed book you mail to another member who requests it. (You must pay postage for the books you mail, but not for the books you receive.)
Plus, if you sign up using this link, I’ll get credit for one free book, and you’ll get credit for two! That’ll help both our families build a home library for free.
We’ve added lots of wonderful titles to the children’s section of our home library over the years by participating in summer reading programs sponsored by public libraries, local bookstores, and other area businesses. For a full listing of programs available nationwide, check out this post: Best Reading Rewards Programs for Children
Free Audio Books
This site is what really turned me on to listening to audio books. They give away a new, no-strings-attached title (of their choice) every month. I download these and listen while driving, folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, soaking in the tub, etc. I did eventually become a subscriber, but not until I’d been collecting the free monthly titles for two or three years. It’s a great program!
Maybe you prefer listening to books rather than reading them. If so, you should definitely check out LibriVox.
They have nearly 8.5 thousand public domain works, read by volunteers, available to download for FREE. Many of their titles are classics, including several of our family’s favorites, such as Tom Sawyer, Anne of Green Gables, A Tale of Two Cities, and Little Women.
We love to listen to books together while riding in the car (especially when we’re taking long road trips as we did last January). If you’ve never tried this, you should.
LibriVox makes doing so easy — just download and drive on!
While I prefer hard copies of books I can hold in my hand (and make copious notes in the margins thereof), my husband reads almost everything electronically.
If you prefer reading digital versions, too, you can find a wide selection of free books for Kindle. Just use the site’s sidebar menu to narrow your search to the genres you are most interested in reading, then download and go!
Not a Kindle user? You’ll find a similar listing of free books for the Nook at Barnes & Noble.
So that’s where our family gets most of our free books, which has helped us build an expansive home library for cents on the dollar. Do you know of any sources I’ve missed? If so, please share in the comment section.
In the meantime, happy reading!