I am a voracious reader. And I read fairly quickly, so I was a kid in a candy store when I started reading electronically. It’s so easy, I marveled. Just hit a button and the book downloads instantly to my phone! Technology is AWESOME!
Yes, technology is awesome. But the credit card bills I racked up in the first year of building my digital book library were definitely NOT awesome. Like most people, I’ve had to learn how to maximize my book-purchasing dollars.
So here are some tips and tricks learned over the past year or so.
1) There are plenty of places to get discounted books on the Web. Authors and publishers frequently run .99 deals on the major retailing sites. This can be a great way to snatch up limited-time deals from your favorite authors (and ones you’ve wanted to try). Best place to find deals: Social media outlets, like Facebook and Twitter.
2) Another great service is BookBub. This site sends free and bargain deals right to your email each day, based on the reading preferences you’ve previously selected. What’s great is that the BookBub staff vets the books submitted for deals; You get higher-quality selections than just perusing the retailers yourself.
1) There are a few ways to swap and lend digital books. The first is through the major retailers. Amazon has it’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and Nook has a similar LendMe program to lend books. To qualify, the book has to be considered “lendable” by the publisher–and not all books fall into this category. With Amazon, you also have to be a Prime member, and you can only borrow one book at a time. On the Nook, the book has to have a “LendMe” icon next to the title.
2) The second way is through a Kindle swapping site, like Lendle or BookLending.com. Both of these are for Amazon customers only. Both sites match borrowers with lenders, like a big digital book swap. You’re put into a queue for the books you want, and when they become available the site will email you with download instructions through Amazon. Each title you own can only be lent once, however. This means you may have a bit of a wait for less popular titles.
There are other sites that work for both Kindle and Nook, such as eBookFling (which works on a credit system), but I haven’t personally used them so I can’t speak to their success.
Your Local Library
Yes, most local libraries are now doing eBook lending, using the OverDrive software program to facilitate the lending process. If you go to OverDrive’s website, there’s a place to enter your zip code to find your local library.
All you need to do is download the OverDrive software, then follow the directions from your local library. I have also found that most libraries are knowledgable about the process and happy to walk patrons through any questions or problems.
Free, But Not Stolen
Last, let’s talk about FREE books.
1) There are thousands of permanently free books available for download on the major retailing sites. Whether you want to take the risk is entirely up to you, but I have found that most books that are permanently free are not of the quality I’m accustomed to. Poor editing, writing, and plotting are my most frequent complaints. Bottom line, it’s a crapshoot and I don’t have enough time to wade through the hundreds of rejects just to find that one stellar story.
2) Wattpad is an interesting site. Writers upload their stories, a chapter at a time, and users can vote/rank the story as it progresses. Several well-known authors I like have used this format to test new stories, and there have been some writers “discovered” here. It’s crowd-sourcing for fiction.
One category that must be touched on–and discouraged–are STOLEN books, which is what happens when someone goes to a questionable website and downloads a book they haven’t paid for. This is piracy and it’s flat-out wrong. You might think it’s not hurting anyone, but there’s an author out there who put his or her blood, sweat and tears into that book…and getting nothing in return. So please don’t steal. (*stepping off soapbox*)
Did I miss any tips? I’m sure you have some, too. Share your favorite ways to stretch your book buying dollars below!