How I read books for FREE

Let’s be real. Reading can be freaking expensive when you’re a crazed book junkie such as myself. When I first got into my crazed reading habit, my husband and I had just moved to Oklahoma City for my husband’s job promotion. I didn’t have any friends, any furniture (we had the brilliant idea to sell our couch and living room furniture so we didn’t have to move it…but then didn’t have money to replace it *eye roll*) and I was sitting on the ground applying for jobs all day for months.

And I started reading! A lot. Because what else was I gonna do? And spending $12 on a book every few days…it starts to rack up. And we needed money for a couch not Bossypants by Tina Fey! (Even though she’s the funniest of all time and her book is amazing)

That was four years ago. And in those four years I have created a system that I use to get the vast majority of my books for free (I try to read about 100 books a year, so that’s a lot of money I’m saving and a lot of books I’m reading for free!!) I usually only buy books now if its a new release that I’m too impatient to wait for the library to buy!


This may seem like the most obvious one, but there are a lot of ways that you can get books from your local library that you may not even know about. If you’re serious about getting books from free from your library, you need to exhaust all of your resources to find out what is available for you! This means being willing to read books in hardback, paperback and ebook format (I’ve found the most resources available for free are in electronic format! And now it’s the only way I read books!)

Most libraries will have an electronic database of all of the books that they have in their different locations. When you get a library card, create a login and start searching for the books you’re looking for. You may have to make a drive across town to get the books that you want, but isn’t it worth it for freeee reads? (I mean, it may not be, it depends on how comfortable your couch is right at that moment.) Some libraries will let you put books on hold online too so you don’t even have to go to library.

My library also has three different apps that let me login with my library card number and borrow ebooks for free.

Another thing to consider is where you live. I live in two different counties and so I qualify for a library card with two different libraries that have different books and options for me to get free books. Granted it’s a longer drive for me to go get physical copies of books, but it’s still worth it for the ebook selection.


Overdrive is one of my favorite library reading apps because my library lets me make recommendations for books I want them to buy…and then they buy them…and then they email me and let me know that I’m the first person who gets to borrow it! There have been times when the library will buy books I’ve recommended as a pre-release title and I’ll get to download the book the day that it is published. FOR FREE! Thank you, American government.

Cloud Library

Cloud Library is an app you download and you can login with your library card (as long as your library has a contract with them.) Navigating through Cloud Library is not the easiest and its actually super annoying and frustrating to just browse around this app. I usually just go to this app when I’m looking for new releases or specific titles. Props to this app for having very small hold times and a ton of titles!


This is the app I use the least because the titles are very limited. And you can only download three titles a month. So if I download a title, start it, and decide to DNF it, I can’t return it. I just have to keep it for a month. And once I’ve borrowed three, the app is basically useless to me until the next month. Wamp.

Kindle Unlimited

So technically this isn’t free, you have to pay the $99 annual subscription fee for Amazon Prime to get this, but I don’t buy Amazon Prime for books, I buy it for the 2 day delivery of diapers  (duh) so I don’t really think that this counts. But! Kindle Unlimited has a lot of books that you can get for free with your Kindle app. I have only ever used this a few times because the selection is not the best, but if you have Amazon Prime you might as well check it out!


Netgalley is a website that lets you create a profile and request ARCs from publishers. There are alot of titles that you can download that don’t require authorization from a publisher. I’m pretty new to Netgalley and still trying to figure it all out, but I like what I’ve found so far!

So there you go! Are there other ways that you can get free books?!



11 thoughts on “How I read books for FREE”

  1. There is also Prime Reading now for Amazon Prime members. You can check it out on a browser or in your Kindle’s store. The books rotate in and out so even if it seems like a scanty list this month, next month it might have several books you’d be interested in! They just added The Princess Bride to it, which is hilarious, because I spent all of March and April trying to get my hands on a copy of it for free! (I’m live “outside” of town according to my local library and would have to pay for a membership!) You can get 10 books from the Prime Reading list at a time, so really if you read them and return them, the number is unlimited. Oh, and some magazines and audiobooks are included in it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t even know about this! I love that! I am totally going to be checking this out today!

      I wonder if there is a way you can photoshop a phone bill to change your proof of residency to get a library card………..but why would I ever suggest something like that?! Surely library fraud isn’t a thing 😂

      The Princess Bride is one of my faves too!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I’ve considered at length asking my grandmother to get a card and giving it to me, but I’m afraid they’ll ask for my photo ID once I have it and try to check something out or give her the fancy kind of card with HER picture on it 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. When I first started reading, I ALWAYS used the library, but then I got sad because I didn’t actually own the books. Then I started buying EVERYTHING that I thought I might read, which lead to a lot of unread books on my shelf. Now I’m back to using the library for most books (unless it’s my favorite author or I really think I’m going to like it). My family has Amazon Prime so I LOVE the 2-day shipping and getting discounts on books. It’s the reason that I hardly buy from Barnes and Noble, because B&N is CRAZY EXPENSIVE!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. B&N is crazy expensive!!!! I watched a news special one time on how Amazon is driving all these books companies out of business and I should hate them…but I just can’t do it! The shipping and the cheap books are too good to pass up!

      And I totally get sad about not owning the books too and have to reborrow them from the library all the time. But I read all my books in ebook format now and prefer it to physical books because I’ve done it for so long!


  3. If you’re into reviewing there’s edelweiss above the treeline, a website similar to netgalley. Check out publishers to see if they have a review program. I’ve seen it with Christian publishers mostly: booklook bloggers, revell reads, Tyndale. There’s another one but I can’t think of it.

    Liked by 1 person

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