As a voracious reader and tremendous book lover, you probably frown at the end of the month when you look at your grand total spent on books. Reading is an awesome habit, but sadly books don’t come for free (though I believe they should!). However, by following these 7 hacks you can drastically cut down your book expenses at no time!
1. Sign up for loyalty programs and memberships
These days most big name bookstores (regular and online) offer special significant discounts and other perks to their loyalty program members. For instance, Barnes and Nobles membership card that costs $25 per year gives you the next cool benefits:
- 40% off listed price for bestseller books
- You are eligible for Everyday Member discount, so you can grab new discounted books and other products every day.
- Free express shipping (1-3 days)
- $50 worth of coupons, special deals and discounts
- Permanent extra discount of 10% for all items on sale and everything else.
Also, you get 10% discount for all foods and drinks at their coffee shop and unlimited free wi-fi access. Your card pays off after about fourth shipping, so it’s a terrific value for money deal.
BAM (Books a Million) also have a great membership program that includes free shipping, 10% in-store discount, $100 in coupons and special deals, free unlimited wi-fi at their store and much more for just $25 per year.
If you prefer reading online, get a membership with Discount Book Sale. For about $20 per month you get unlimited online access to thousands of books, free shipping and up to 30% discounts.
2. Master couponing and never pay full price again
Why you should pay full price when you can pay less if you browse around the web a bit? There are numerous coupons and discount codes available for book purchases out there. Check out sites like Discontrue, BeFrugal and Coupon Chief to score some major discounts and even get cash backs for the books you’ve bought (so you could buy even more books, obviously!).
3. Organize a book swap
If you’d like to declutter your house and get new books to read for free – a book swap is the best way to do it! You can either ask your friends, co-workers and family to take part and swap or trade books or reach out to other book lovers out there through the web. TitleTrader allows you to swap books and DVDs with other users. You earn points when you give away something and spend them for getting something new instead. PaperBackSwap allows you to swap books by mail. For each book you send (postage is for you to cover), you earn credit to receive a book.
4. Visit the local library
I think of public libraries as hugely underestimated caves of wonders where you can get your hands onto glossy Taschen books you couldn’t afford or flip pages of really rare editions that could only be found at flee markets (if you get lucky).
In France, even small cities have one or two public Médiathèques as they are now called where you can get a free membership to take books, magazines and movies home or just spend the whole day in a cozy chair reading for free. Some even have free wi-fi and vending machines with snacks. You can find all sorts of books there in different languages including English, Spanish, German and others.
5. Buy directly from the author
Nowadays, most authors run their personal blogs or websites where they typically sell newly released books for lower price compared to those you can find at regular bookstores or online. Most authors even offer special discounts and additional bonuses if you connect with them.
For instance, Jeff Goins offered a special price and extra audio version of his new book to his newsletter subscribers. A lot of authors host giveways you can enter by tweeting about it or posting it on Facebook and get the book for half price or even free!
6. Find the classics online for free
I know for some of us it sounds cool to have hard copy editions of Shakespeare or Dickens proudly standing on the book shelve. But for a frugal type like me, who also happens to move pretty often, having a huge home library full of classics isn’t an option at all. That was when I discovered Project Gutenberg – a public domain library with over 46.000 ebooks to download for free. Good old classics mainly published before 1923, meaning the copyright law protecting them has expired.
Another great website to get free books from is DailyLit. Each day they’ll send you bite-sized parts of books right into your inbox to read during your coffee break or morning commute. Just set up an account and choose books from a rather extensive library. Most books are free, while the newest editions may cost you a few dollars.
7. Make mindful purchases
Isn’t it a bit frustrating when you read a professionally written book description and plot summary, feel all so giddy with excitement and pay the full price for the book, to later realize the author has a damned great copywriter, but his own text are rather disappointing? You not only waste money, but your time!
To avoid this happening, I typically visit Amazon and pre-read a few pages (for free), screen the reviews there and on Goodreads. Also, if the author runs a blog, you can typically download a chapter or few for free.
Also, loads of authors host read meetings, webinars and interviews (online and offline) where they talk about their new book and often read or quote some parts. Attending all of them is another great way to have a free sneak-peak inside the book and connect with the author. Typically, if I like how the person speaks and expresses their opinion, their writing turns to be highly delightful as well.