Free and Cheap Ways to Read Books


cheap and free booksI keep seeing a meme floating around about there being a difference between buying books and actually reading them. I know some people who looooovvvvveeeee purchasing books; I also know some people who love reading books and do not care how they acquire them. I am the latter. Book buying can get pretty expensive, so I am always looking for a good book deal. Most of the books on my shelves cost me very little or were free.

Check out some of my favorite book deal spots below. 

Here are some ways that you can get books cheaply or for FREE:

My book nook


A few years ago (okay, maybe more than a few), my mom introduced me to purchasing books from eBay and then eventually While I was searching for and found out they are gone now, I found the app ThriftBooks (they also have a website). This company used to be a big seller on You can find discounted books here and they always have sales and coupon codes.

“Indie” (or Local) Bookstores:

I also love going to my local indie bookstores (not the mega bookstores like Barnes and Noble, etc). They usually have every book you can ask for and they are always so accommodating. These bookstores are great supporters of the community as well. Some of them have memberships or rewards programs, which can make your purchases cheaper than anywhere else, including Amazon! They usually have author events, book events, and other fun, interactive activities. I encourage everyone to find and visit your local indie bookstore

Traditional Book Stores

I also find some relatively good deals at Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, especially with the educator’s discount, which is totally free at both places.

Thrift Stores and Secondhand Stores

Thrift stores around our area sell books for close to nothing. I have found a few thrift stores where the book selections are really great. Be sure to check and see if your thrift store offers deal days, too!

Garage and Yard Sales

I know this seems old school, but it is a great way to get out of the house and get around your community. Visit local garage and yard sales. You are sure to find some book jewels there. Some people have even reported finding collector’s editions and first editions at estate sales. Sometimes these books are worth a couple of bucks! P.S. Don’t forget about online garage sales!


I use an internet system like EReaderIQ to help me find the best prices on my eBooks, which are purchased through Amazon. I simply input the books that I am waiting on and the price at which I would like to be notified and then I just sit and wait for a notification. *Note this website only identifies prices for the US.


I am also subscribed to BookBub which is a website and an email system that alerts me when certain eBooks are $1.99 or less (including free)! This site also allows you to personalize your emails and deals that you receive from them. BookBub is the reason I have so many books on my Kindle right now, and they have introduced me to books that I otherwise would not have been exposed to.

*Note: EBooks are electronic books that are to be consumed digitally. You DO NOT have to have a Kindle or an electronic reader to be able to use eBooks. You can use your cell phone, I-Pad, tablet, or computer.*

Your Friends and Neighbors

I often see many of my neighbors purging books and sitting them out, so start asking! Also, little free libraries are popping up all over the city. These are little donation boxes where people discard their old books. The books are free to anyone.

Public Library

Mostly, I just use my public library. Many local libraries now have great apps. Jefferson County and Hoover Public library systems both use the Libby app, which is amazing! In addition to physical books, most libraries are also going digital. I know that my local libraries use Hoopla and Libby for eBooks and audiobooks. I can download these books to my Kindle, tablet, and phone. I can place holds on books that I like and am alerted when they are available. Through the apps, you can read books on your phone or tablet, download them to your ereader, and even listen to audiobooks! Libraries also have community book sales where you can get deeply discounted books.

*Bonus tip: If you do not mind reading e-books, Amazon almost always marks the prices down on e-books. I have gotten some fairly new releases for $3.99, $4.99, and even $1.99! 

Huge thanks to JaVone for sharing these great tips on being an avid reader on a budget! Be sure to check out her GoodReads account to be inspired! You can also catch her on Instagram @allforthebooksblog and on her personal blog All for the Books.




This post was originally published on April 23, 2021.


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