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10 Tricks To Get More Books For Less Money

Updated on March 30, 2016

Books On A Budget

As an author, I'm supposed to be rolling in books. Words are my job and therefore my life, so I need to read as many of them as possible in my free time. My budget for books every month is usually $20-$30. It's very easy with the prices of hardcovers nowadays (and the fact that certain new releases aren't available in paperback) for me to blow my entire budge on one book. For instance, I really want to read the new Harry Potter book/play, but it's available for pre-order on Amazon for $17.99 if I want a physical book. That's priced down from the original $30 and doesn't include shipping and handling. That's pretty much going to take my entire book budget away for only one book that month if I purchase it.

The average reader doesn't have the money to spend $100-$200 on books every month. A lot of us read quickly, because we love it so much, so we need more than one book to make us happy.

I've made mistakes buying books, but I've learned some things about getting them cheaper in the process. Also, as an author, I sometimes see things that the average reader could miss.

Here's a list I made of ways to save money on books.

1. Buy E-books

There are some exceptions to this rule, certain publishers like to charge more for e-books because they prefer selling paperback novels, but for the most part, the paperback is usually more expensive than the e-book. This is especially true with self-published books. Authors like to price those low, but unfortunately can't do the same with the paperback. Amazon influences the prices of paperbacks by forcing us to charge a certain amount per page.

2. Buy Paperback

In the cases where e-books are more expensive, it can help to buy the paperback instead. It's best to compare prices in any way that you can before making a purchase.

3. Buy The E-Book Before The Audiobook

This is a trick I've learned recently. I can't join audible because it costs about $15 a month and you get only one audiobook each month. That will take almost my entire budget sometimes and I'll only get one book.

You might need a Kindle Fire HD to do this. I got one recently and I love it. When you buy an ebook, they'll sometimes offer you the audio for it at a discount when you open the book. For example, I saw one audiobook I wanted available on Audible for about $15, so I went on the regular site and bought the e-book instead. It cost about $2.99. As soon as I opened the book, I saw a pair of headphones at the bottom (which indicates there is an audio version of the book available) and a pop-up that said I could get the voice added for only $1.99. So in total, I paid only $5 for two different versions of the same book when I would have otherwise paid $15 for one.

The problem is, you're probably not going to know which books have this option until after you purchase the e-book. Personally, I think it's worth it. I probably wouldn't have any audible books otherwise. The cool thing about it is that it allows you to switch from audio to visual and back very easily.

The other problem is, some ebooks are so expensive, it might not actually be cheaper to do this in certain cases.

4. Purchase From Amazon

Amazon is so helpful to customers, that's why I love buying things from them! They let you compare the prices of e-books versus paperback instantly. They provide you with retailers who are sometimes selling books for only a penny (although watch out for shipping costs, sometimes they make up for the cost there.) If you purchase $30 or more on Amazon, a lot of times they'll give you free shipping, which isn't hard to do because they have a bit of everything on there.

They also have a button where people can report lower prices, when they've seen a book listed for cheaper somewhere else online. They want to sell things to customers at the lowest prices possible, even when it means losing their profits on an item.

5. Get Amazon Prime/Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Prime gives you so much. It gives you free two-day shipping (although not all items qualify.) It allows you to pay for the cheaper prices of their paperback novels without the additional cost.

Most books on Amazon are available to read through Kindle Unlimited. You can read as much as you want every month for free if you get Amazon Prime.

6. Join Book Review Groups

This is less pressure than a book review blog, which I discuss in the next post. Lots of authors are looking for people to review their books, so they'll be willing to give you copies of them for free as long as you leave a review when you're done. Groups on certain sites, like Yahoo! and Goodreads, will connect you to these authors.

7. Start A Book Review Blog

People with book review blogs get more free books than they could ever possibly read. They get to choose their preferences of what they like to read and what they don't. All they have to do is state their opinion on the book at the end of it.

Don't worry if you don't have a lot of followers at first. Authors will be thankful for any reviewer who agrees to read their book, regardless of the follows. Especially if you post to more places than just your blog, like Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble.

The drawback is you'll be so busy reading books that people gave to you that you won't have as much time to read random books that you see at a bookstore just for fun. There's also some bad authors here and there who might get angry if you leave them a poor review. They're not supposed to do this and most won't. Your reviews are supposed to be 100% honest, but there's always those bad apples in every batch.

8. Download Free E-Books

When most readers first discover all the free e-books on Amazon, a lot of them go crazy. They don't read blurbs or even check genres. They just start downloading whatever looks new and shiny. This is how you get a kindle full of books that you never want to read. After awhile, you can't justify downloading anymore free books because you already have a giant stack of them downloaded that you're never going to read.

This isn't how you should relate to free books. There's so many of them now that you need to make sure you're only downloading free e-books that will appeal to you. You can do this by searching Top 100 Free Lists in certain genres or looking for specific keywords (adding the word "free" to the search.) Make sure to read the blurb and consider whether or not you truly want the book before purchasing it.

View free books the same way you view samples on Amazon. Authors gave them to you so you can sample their writing style without risking any money. If you like the way they write, then you can download the rest of their books. Chances are, if they have free books available, they usually have cheaper e-book prices on the rest of their books as well.

9. Join Wattpad

A lot of authors, including me, have joined Wattpad. We write and post free stories on there that you can easily read in your browser. There are other books available on the site as well. Since people leave reviews on all the books, it can be easier to find a book to read on there than you'd think.

10. Get A Library Card

This suggestion might sound stupid to you, but libraries are far from dead. People have been getting books for cheap through libraries since before you were born. It can be very enjoyable to walk into a library and just smell all the books in the place. It's fun to scan the shelves realizing that you can take any of those books home for free that day.

If your library is kind of small and doesn't have a lot of variety, don't worry. A lot of libraries these days work in networks where you can order books from other libraries to be delivered to your library. I used to do this all the time as a teenager. It's like waiting for a package in the mail, it's fun and exciting, but in this case, it didn't cost you any money.

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