Free and Cheap Ways to Read Books


I 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 know some people who love reading books and do not care how they acquire them. I am of 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.

My book nook

Check out some of my favorite book deal spots below. 

Here are a few ways that you can get books for free and for cheap:

  • ThriftBooks : A few years ago (ok, maybe more than a few), my mom introduced me to purchasing books from and then eventually While I was searching for and found out they are gone, 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 and 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. 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 and Noble and Books A Million, especially with the educator’s discount which is totally free at both places. Plus, Books a Million is now starting a credit for books program as well! *Note: that Books a Million now has a used book program, where you can trade in your used books for credits!*
  • Thrift Stores, Salvation Army, Goodwills/Secondhand Stores: Thrift stores around the 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. For example, our local Salvation Army stores offer 50% off on Wednesdays.
  • Garage and Yard Sales: I know that it 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 your online garage sales!
  • EReaderIQ: 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 until it I am notified. *Note this website only identifies prices for the US.
  • BookBub: 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. These books usually can be purchased on Amazon, I-Books(Apple Store), Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. This site is the reason I have so many books on my kindle right now. But they have also allowed me to be introduced to books that I otherwise may 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, 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. Most 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 Overdrive and Libby for eBooks and audiobooks. I can download these books to my kindle, tablet, and phone. I am able to place holds on books that I like and I am alerted when they are available. Through the app you can read books on your phone or tablet, download them to your reader, and even listen to audiobooks. Libraries also have community book sales where you can get deeply discounted books. Birmingham Public Library’s Friends program even has a store!

*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.




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JaVone Bentley was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After graduating from The University of Alabama with a degree in education she moved to Houston, Texas where she lived and worked for the past 9 years. Recently she and her family moved back home (Sweet Home, Alabama). JaVone has taught high school English for the past 10 years but upon the birth of her son (Lexington Myles, Age 1) she has postponed returning to the classroom full time. Her hobbies include reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. Her passion of reading has lead to her devotion to literacy education and to her spending more time with her website dedicated to all things reading and writing. In her spare time, JaVone freelances as an English tutor, an editor, and a literary assistant!