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How to Feed your Reading Habit on a Budget

Apr 27, 2020



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Kelsey Worsham

There’s no doubt that times are unprecedented. At some point in the last few weeks, plenty of us find ourselves wishing for an escape. Unsurprisingly, books have served as a popular method for just getting away from it all. But with libraries closed and the current economic crunch affecting just about everyone, picking up the newest may not be feasible for us all. Now - more than ever - we’ve got to learn how to feed our bookworm habits on a budget. Keep reading for our best ways to get cheap (or free) ebooks!


“I am not sure how long this pandemic will last, but at least I can read some great stories and spiritual strengthening books thanks to free books!” - Freebooksy reader 


“Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger… Make time to unwind.” This is a direct quote from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We all know that without taking care of ourselves and doing what we can to limit stress during this time, we’re doing our bodies and spirits a major disservice. 


Prioritizing methods of unwinding - like reading - can help us bring some level of normality into a very abnormal situation. Maybe practicing yoga or watching a cartoon on tv help you; whatever your method of escape might be, tap into it! We personally recommend reading because it can be done anywhere at any time. All you need is a book or eReader (and hey, maybe one very comfy couch!)


Are you a social butterfly (and book lover) hoping to up the ante on your socialization from home as a means to relax? To help fight what many sites are defining as a “social recession”, take advantage of services like Bookclubz to organize your book groups online. The joy of websites like this is their ability to kill two birds with one stone. Keep your social connection strong and maintain progress on your reading list all at the same time!

How to find cheap ebooks


If all this sounds great to you, but you’re not crazy about shilling out tons of money on a new book, then we have good news. Here are our best tips on finding cheap and free eBooks.


“These suggestions are what gets me through these crazy days on covid-19. Thank you” - Red Feather Romance reader

  1. Use your digital library

Lucky for all us bookworms, there were plenty of discounted reader services and tools on hand long before COVID-19 happened. A popular app amongst discount-lovers is Libby, a source for borrowing both audiobooks and eBooks all from your phone! The folks at OverDrive created this tool to give people an amazing selection of free audiobooks and eBooks. We recommend this app for any book lover out there. All you need to access Libby’s selection of books is an active library card number and a device for downloading the app.


While libraries may be closed at the moment, online library services are still providing people with the types of books we’d typically find at our local branches. We recommend searching for your local library’s website to browse their offerings. Chances are, if they do have a site, it will have active resources for listening to audiobooks and checking out eBooks. These sites show that even amidst store closings across the world, we can still access great book deals from where we are at home!


  1. Sign up to be alerted to free and discounted books


Still searching for more reads? As many of our blog readers know, Written Word Media has multiple reader sites that all offer various free and discounted eBooks and audiobooks to our subscribers. If you’re looking for curated book recommendations sent straight to your email address, look no further!

How It Works

- As a reader you can sign up for any of our book recommendation newsletters free of charge

- You tell us what genres you like to read and in what format. 

- We will then send you personalized emails that include books you’re sure to love. 

- If you decide to download or purchase a book you are taken to the retailer of your choice. 


To decide which newsletter is right for you, simply pick from the list below. If you’re having trouble deciding, sign up for more than one newsletter. It’s 100% free and you can always unsubscribe at any time:


For Free eBooks in Any Genre → Freebooksy

Freebooksy sends out daily emails that consist of free eBooks! Click on this link if you’re interested in signing up to receive freebies in the genres that you prefer.


For eBook Deals ($2.99 and below) → Bargain Booksy

Bargain Booksy is much like Freebooksy, but instead of all the eBooks being free, they are $4.99 or below. With Bargain Booksy, we find the deals in the genres you like, and send them to you every day.


For Steamy Romance Fans → Red Feather Romance

Like to steamy romance? If so, Red Feather Romance is for you. This newsletter is sent daily, and includes books of various prices, including FREE. And, you guessed it, they all fall into the steamy romance category.


For Audiobook Deals → Audio Thicket

Audio Thicket is all about audiobooks at a great price. Audiobooks can get expensive, so Audio Thicket searches across retailers to send you the best deals on the best audiobooks.


For the Newest and Buzziest Books → NewInBooks

NewInBooks is all about new releases. This weekly newsletter goes out every Tuesday, and lists the latest releases and hottest reads in your favorite genres.


Helping Authors


“In my country, there's an obligatory isolation so no one can go out unless it's for buying food. Lots of businesses are firing people because they are not producing but they have to keep paying salary... Thank you very much for creating this initiative and giving us this help.” - Bargain Booksy Author


One of the best parts about our reading right now is that when we buy and read books, we’re supporting authors. And right now, authors need our support more than ever.


Supporting free and discount eBooks has a hugely positive impact on independent authors! Many discounted books are offered by indie authors as a way to get their books out to new readers. With many indies having experienced job loss and financial changes, readers are in a position to help. 


Authors receive royalties for their books. Even when books are given away for free on websites like Amazon, authors can still benefit from receiving payment for the number of their pages that are read. For all the bookworms out there, this is the perfect time to help authors and start reading as much as possible! You can save money on the incredible amount of discounted books out there while still helping authors maintain a steady stream of income. This is one of those elusive times when you can have yoru cake and eat it too!

Also, if you liked a book, leaving a positive review can have a massive impact on authors.


“Thank God for your free books, thank you so much. During this time of stress and craziness being able to block it all with a good book is wonderful.” - Freebooksy Reader


  1. Trade with Friends and Neighbors

If your neighborhood operates a listserv or is active on NextDoor, trading books with others can be a great option. In some neighborhoods, people are leaving stacks of free books on their porches as they purge closets and garages. Keeping an eye on the listserv can alert you to free books in your neighborhood. Just remember to wipe second-hand books down with disinfecting wipes, or leave them in your garage for a few days, before you read them. 


If you don’t have a neighborhood listserv, you still have your local friends to trade with. Send a text to someone nearby asking them if they have a book they’d recommend and be willing to loan you. Return the favor. Not only does this foster an additional social connection point, but it provides you with a quick errand to get out the house. Remember your mask!


In Summary

While we move forward in this COVID-19 world, the entire Written Word Media team hopes that you stay safe and take care of yourself (whether that’s through snuggles with your pet, cartoon reruns, or reading your favorite book). Remember that this is a great time to band together and unite over the things we love - like books, community, and doing great things to help those within the book community. If you have suggestions or ideas for ways to feed your reading habit on a budget, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


Author - Kelsey Worsham, Written Word Media