Read More For Less Money

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!

mhGx4Vm 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.

Discount Offers

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.

bookbub 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.

Book Swapping/Lending

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.

lendle 2) The second way is through a Kindle swapping site, like Lendle or 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.

OverDriveLogo 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.

wattpad 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!

Happy reading,

Leave a comment


  1. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  August 26, 2013

    Great source of information in this post, Joanna. I have to chuckle because I’m in a waiting room while my little is getting her teeth cleaned looking up titles on the nj listen site which is what my library uses in conjunction with Overdrive. Yes…those e-dollars add up! Hopefully people will click that “buy” link when my titles are made available. You make an excellent point about piracy here as well. Unfortunately something we all need to concern ourselves with in this day and age. I know there are ways authors can protect themselves. Of the other lending opportunities, I’ve only ever used the Amazon Prime opportunity.


    • Glad you found it useful, RoseAnn! I wasn’t sure how many of these were well known by others. Any way, every penny counts!! This way, maybe people can try new authors without as much risk.


  2. This is great, Joanna! I hate to say it but I’ve only heard of one of these sights! Can’t wait to try them out. Cheers, Michele

  3. Thanks for introducing me to BookBub, Joanna. I introduced my mom to it over the weekend. I made her day! I mostly follow Twitter for good deals. I do use Overdrive for both ebook and audio book downloads. I agree with you that it’s way TOO easy to spend all your money on books and you have to budget yourself. I only buy if I have a gift card tied to the account with a balance. I also try to limit how much I spend on an ebook. If I’m going to spend more than $8 or $10 on a book, I want a physical book. My mom and I have used the LendMe feature for the Nook. Well…And I still do go to the library and borrow books.

  4. I mostly hear about good deals on Twitter, too. I also get the Amazon Kindle Daily Deals and Book Bub deals emailed to me daily. I LOVE a good deal and have discovered many new authors this way. Of course, once I discover a new author, I tend to buy her new books at full price!

    • So true! And that’s what I love about the discount offers. It’s smart marketing when there’s a backlist involved. Twitter around the holidays is a bonanza for deals.

  5. Bookmarking these sites, Joanna. I did just sign up for BookBub last week. Don’t forget, you can always share print books among friends, as we Femmes do!

    Thanks for the tips!

  6. Great idea for a post, Joanna. Although there’s only one spot that was new to me, I’ve at least heard of most of them. Been meaning to sign up for BookBub. I do use Overdrive, tho’ didn’t find it especially easy to set up and I find the search program a little difficult, but I love using it for audiobooks because they are just too expensive to buy but it’s way more convenient to have the audio on my phone than be locked into borrowing the CD’s from the library and using them in the car…If you use nook and have an Amex card, trade in those points for the B&N gift card, or even for an Amex one to use with Amazon…that’s my only little tidbit to add!

  7. My wife thanks you…
    Being a man, I don’t read. I have enough problem writing…


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