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Books can be expensive, especially if you’re buying them for yourself and the whole family. That’s why we found tips on how to get free books.
Whether it’s a fairy tale for you or one of the best children’s books, reading is an important activity that opens us up to new worlds, introduces us to foreign cultures, challenges our knowledge and help our development. Starting toddlers off with one of the best toddler books is a great way to encourage reading as a lifelong skill. Although, as is the case with most hobbies, reading can come at a price. And those book costs can certainly add up over time.
The good news is that there are a number of platforms and opportunities to buy a free book or a bargain. And we’ve shared details on how you can get your hands on it for you and your child.
Where to buy cheap books:
How to get free books – 12 tips
1. Sign up for Kindle Unlimited
Kindle Unlimited costs just £7.99 ($9.99) per month and offers unlimited books to read on your Kindle. Although the good news is that if you are an Amazon customer, you can first try it out for free for two months. Allowing you to see if it’s to your liking, while receiving free books.
During this time, you can access over one million Kindle titles, including e-books, audiobooks, and magazines, for free. Although the subscription includes some bestsellers and must-haves like Harry Potter and The Handmaid’s Tale, it should be noted that the general selection is made up of books by new or less famous authors. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth reading.
Titles can be read on any Amazon device or on the Kindle app, which can be downloaded for free on your phone or tablet. You can borrow titles as often as you want with no maturity date – and you can keep up to ten at a time.
To browse books, go to the Kindle Store and find the link to Kindle Unlimited. Here, all the books included in the subscription will be flagged. Along with Amazon’s recommendations on what to read next.
If you don’t want to continue after the two months, be sure to set a reminder on your phone to cancel and avoid monthly charges.
2. Discover Booktrust
If you are not already familiar with start of book – this is a great resource from the charity Booktrust which offers free books to all children under 12 months and those aged 3-4 years. Bookstart also offers extra needs packs for babies and toddlers, as well as black and white booklets for newborns and bilingual books.
In England, your health visitor or healthcare professional should offer a yellow bag during your baby’s first year to help you share stories, rhymes and songs. And your preschooler will receive their special gift envelope when they turn 3 or 4, from their nursery, children’s center or other early years setting.
If you haven’t received your Bookstart Baby Pack by the time your child turns one, or the Bookstart Treasure Pack by the time you turn five, ask your local library for help.
3. The Love Literacy app
This is great if you have young children. EdTech start-ups, reading buddy have launched more than 200 free children’s e-books on their free reading app, the Love Literacy app. The app was developed by English teacher Hannah Rix and her husband James in June 2020 to inspire a love of reading.
Explaining why they developed the app, Hannah said: “1 in 8 disadvantaged children in the UK don’t have a book of their own. It’s a shocking statistic, and it’s one we want to help change. That’s why we created the Love Literacy app, which provides free e-books for kids so they can always have a bedtime story. We believe that every child should have the opportunity to read and learn to love reading, and with this app we are one step closer to making that dream come true.
Machine learning within the app generates personalized reading recommendations for each child, rewards with badges for each milestone reached, and encourages conversations around reading and books with comprehension-type questions.
4. Borrow online from the library
In addition to visiting traditional local libraries, you can now borrow free books from online libraries. Check out sites like Z-library to get free books online. Sinvolve searching for the book you want and it will be downloaded to your Apple Books or Kindle. Or you can sign up for a free account and download books directly from the site. Once you have an account, you get an increased daily download limit and access to useful features like sending books directly to your email. So it’s definitely worth it.
Another good option is The open library. It’s easy to create an account on their website, then simply search for what you want to borrow and play it through your internet browser on your phone or tablet.
5. Trade with friends
It’s a great way to bag free books, while expanding your reading material and helping the environment. You can swap or borrow books with colleagues, friends, family, the options are endless. Why not get together once a month and make it a party?
For those looking for a formal story-sharing program, look no further than Bookswap.co.uk. All you have to do is sign up for free online, list the books you want to trade on their website, and find the ones you want to order (if available).
You should also check The book exchange club on Instagram – which involves the same practice but with an in-person element. The Founders regularly hold pop-up book swap events in London. We recommend doing a search through Google or Facebook to see if there are community book swapping groups in your own area as well.
6. Audible’s Free Kids Audiobooks
Audible offers a comprehensive catalog of over 60 completely free children’s audiobooks in their Audible Stories section. You don’t even need to create an account, just choose what you want and stream it. The free books feature titles from bestselling children’s authors like David Walliams, Matt Haig and Jeff Kinney.
7. Audible Free Trial
There are more benefits to be had with Audible. Similar to the Kindle Unlimited offer, there is an option to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Audible. During this time, you get two free credits to use among a selection of audiobooks. 1 credit equals 1 audiobook, so you can access two free books during the trial.
Audible offers everything from podcasts to Harry Potter audiobooks. And if you choose their Premium Plus option, you also get 30% off any additional premium select titles you want, plus access to exclusive sales.
It’s also worth following their social media accounts, as they often give subscribers free books as well. These are only available to download for a limited time, so be sure to get yours while you can.
8. Find Free Kindle Books
Amazon has hundreds of free e-books you can download and send directly to your Kindle. IIt’s worth having a scout to see what’s available.
Search for “free Kindle books” on the Amazon website and you’ll see a slew of free books, many of which are temporarily on sale. You will find books organized into categories and many of these books are classics, as well as children’s books and thrillers. They will have a button that says “Buy Free” on their individual checkout pages and will specify if it’s a limited time offer.
9. Kobo Books
Kobo Books is an online store that offers e-books, audiobooks, and e-readers. And if you look closely, you will discover their collection of Free eBooks and audiobooks also. From romance to mysteries and thrillers, there’s something for everyone in their free section.
Staff members like the Romance Editor and Audiobook Editor also highlight their free book picks each month. So you know you’re not getting a dudd from it because of its free status.
You’ll need to create an account to be able to read the books, but it’s completely free. And more good news, there is no limit to the number of free books you download. Win win.
10. Join Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
If you have a child between 0 and 5 years old and your area is participating, you can sign up for free children’s books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. There are participating communities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.
Once you sign up through the website, each month, Dolly’s Imagination Library mails a high-quality, age-appropriate book to all registered children at no cost to the child’s family. The books are carefully selected and include traditional stories and rhymes, books by popular authors and illustrators, non-fiction content, as well as recently released titles.
11. Check out loyalty programs with bookstores
Many online bookstores and publishing houses offer reward programs when you buy books with them. For example, Penguin Random House offers a point system where you collect 10 points with every purchase. Then, once you have 120 points, you can use them to claim a free book of your choice.
Another nifty way to get free books from publishers is to start a blog. Often, publishers will send advanced reading copies to book bloggers for review. Usually 1000 Instagram followers are enough to request free samples. Most publishers’ websites have a “contact” or “press” section, where you can find contact information for requesting free books.
12. Follow your favorite authors
Be sure to follow your favorite authors on social media or join their mailing list. Authors tend to let their fans know exactly when books are free or discounted for a limited time. Be sure to subscribe to notification updates so you don’t miss a thing. You can also follow authors on most eReaders for similar updates.
If you decide to start a book blog, you can also reach out to authors through their social media offering to review their books. Good luck.
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