5 Free or Frugal Ways to Read E-Books

The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.

Do you love to use your e-reader to read as much as I do? One of the best things about reading an e-book is the instant access- you hear about a good book and TA-DA!…. you can download and start reading that book in less than a minute! And while e-books are quite often less expensive than their paper counterparts, a person with a serious reading habit can easily spend hundreds of dollars a year on e-books. As a Mom who loves to read on her iPad and shares a Kindle account with her kids, I have a few tips to share on how I indulge my family’s reading habit without spending a small fortune!  Here are 5 ways to read e-books.

5 Free or Frugal Ways to Read E-Books at orgjunkie.com

#1: {Free} Borrow E-Books from Your Local Library!

Did you know that you can borrow books from your local library (without ever even leaving home!), and download them to your tablet or e-reader (just as if you were borrowing a regular library book)? My local public library has partnered with a company called OverDrive to deliver access to more than 2 million book titles! On the site it is easy to search by title, author or category- and then to borrow that book for a specific borrowing time period. And just as with a paper book- sometimes the title you want to read is already “out”, in which case you can place a hold on that book and wait for your turn to borrow it.

To get started, you enter the information from your library card to create an online account, and then you can start browsing and borrowing. Depending on the title, books can be downloaded in multiple formats- for the Kindle, Adobe E-Pub (used by Nook devicess and other e-readers), and Audiobooks. You establish the default borrowing time period in your preference settings (7 days or 14) and at the end of the time period, the book simply disappears from your e-reader. You don’t even have to remember to return it! (How cool is that?)


#2: {Frugal} Share One Account With Your Whole Family

If you are willing to use just one Amazon or Barnes & Noble account for your whole family- you can share all of your purchased and borrowed e-books across multiple devices that have shared the same account. All 8 of us share one Amazon account, and so any book we have purchased can be read by any family member’s e-reader, tablet, or phone as long as they have downloaded the Kindle reading app.
This makes it perfect for Mother-Son book club assignments- I purchase or borrow one copy of the book and then several of us can read it at the same time! (Quick Tip- don’t sync to the “furthest page read” when opening the book on your e-reader, just allow the reader to open the book as usual- and it will open to the last page you read).

#3: {Frugal} Subscribe to a Book Club

Just as Netflix did with the video rental- offering a monthly subscription service, several book lenders are now offering the same sort of service for books- where subscribers can read an unlimited number of ebooks each month for one monthly fee.

Amazon recently announced its new service Kindle Unlimited which offers 600,000 titles for $9.99 a month. Oyster Books offers about 500,000 for $9.95 per month, and Scribd offers about 400,000 books for $8.99 per month. Naysayers point out that many of the largest book publishers have not agreed to allow their titles to be part of this all-you-can-read format yet. But I believe that in time these services will grow to include more books, and that the monthly price will be even come down to drive out the competition. But in the meantime, I plan to stick with the free library ebooks!


#4: {Free} Borrow Kindle or Nook Books

Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble allow users to “lend” a book that you’ve purchased to a friend’s e-reader for a specific period of time. It is based on the concept that if you were to have purchased the book in paper form- you would be able to pass it along to a friend to read. However, lending e-books is a bit more restrictive- and many publishers don’t allow their downloadable books to be shared in this manner. Also know that if you “borrow” a book from a friend, you have 14 days to read it (during which time the book is removed from your friend’s reading library). If you do not finish the book in the 14-day time period, she cannot lend it to you again.

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can borrow books from their Kindle Lending Library, again for a one-time 14-day time period. However, you are limited to borrowing just one book per month in this manner for free.

Tip #5: {Frugal} Use Bookbub

From time to time, publishers will promote specific book titles as a way to drive sales of that title or even interest is a particular author. BookBub is a service that gathers together these ebook promotions and sends you a daily email with ebook deals based on your personal interests. Signing up for BookBub is free, and the books promoted are offered at a significant discount- or sometimes are even free!

Sharon Rowley Head Shot 150 x 150 Thumbnail If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me over on GreatFamilyRoadTrips– where I share ideas and itineraries to inspire you to hit the road!


Linking up: Your Homebased Mom

Filed under: eBook Resources, Guest Bloggers, Technology


11 Responses to 5 Free or Frugal Ways to Read E-Books

  1. 1
    Sallie Knott says

    Read Cheaply is similar to Book Bub. Both offer free titles

  2. 2
    Margie says

    Another good idea is to check if your public library has Zinnio. Zinnio is where you can download current magazines. I love it as I download quite a few, more than 20, ranging from business, home, food, entertainment, even knitting magazines.
    You can also pay for Zinnio, but my library offers it for free, along with overdrive for e-books.
    Another great thing is the ” magazine” piles have greatly reduced at my house.
    Check it out.

    • 2.1
      Sharon at Momof6 says

      Thanks Margie- I just checked…. and sadly my library doesn’t offer Zinnio. And the pricing doesn’t seem to be any less expensive than buying the paper version of the magazine….

  3. 3
    Mary Meyer says

    EReader News Today is another source for free titles.

  4. 5
    Angela Maddaford says

    I love the ease of being able to get a book from Amazon and have it appear on my kindle within seconds. I limit myself to spending no more than $3 but I get a bit annoyed when it is only a short book and I’m finished too quickly. I did just finish reading a book that was only $2.99 and it was an awesome read and it was a good length, I could really get into it. It is called ‘The Shard Chronicles – Book One: The Naissance’, by Liam M. Taylor, if anyone is interested in a really good read.

  5. 6
    Savannah says

    Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive are also great sources for public-domain books, all free. Baen offers contemporary science fiction, some of which is published under a Creative Commons license, also free. And for those who prefer to listen to their books, LibriVox has (free) audiobook versions of public domain books, read largely by volunteers (audio quality varies).

  6. 7
    Nicole says

    If you are a magazine junkie, Next Issue is a great app. It’s 9.99 or 14.99 for over a hundred magazines. I like it as it really cuts down on the amount of magazines cluttering up my house, so the price is worth it to me. My library has Zinio, but Next Issue has far more selection.

  7. 8
    Vanessa says

    Amazon also has free ebooks – just search under kindle.

  8. 9
    Sharon at Momof6 says

    Love all of these ideas ladies! Thanks for adding to the conversation!


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