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How to Get Books for Free (+ Kindle & Audiobooks)

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Reading books is, in my humble opinion, the best hobby a person can have, as it has so many life-changing benefits; however, it can be expensive, especially if you are a book addict like me!  The good news is there are several ways you can get books for free, in great part due to technology.  Below are my top ways to get books for free.

How to Get Books for Free

Library Books

Free Ebooks and Audiobooks at Your Local Library

While getting books for free at the library isn’t a new idea, the library of today isn’t the library of the past — lending books is easier than ever, and it’s a great benefit for your tax dollars.  My library uses the Overdrive and Libby apps, where I can lend ebooks and audiobooks and access them directly on my phone, iPad or Kindle.  I can also make a wish list and place ten books on hold at a time. 

My library also provides me access to the Hoopla app, where I can immediately (no waitlist for holds!) download from a selection of ebooks and audiobooks — and they do have a very good selection of popular modern books that is often updated. 

Check-in with your library and see what new benefits they offer to ease the lending process for you.  And also check into how many libraries for which you can get a card — my city provides cards to both city residents and city workers.

Related post: Guide to the Free Library of Philadelphia

Free Paper Books at Your Little Free Library

Little Free Library is a movement to share books within your community.  It looks like a tiny cottage on a pole, where community members can give a book and/or take a book.  I’m lucky enough that mine is close to my home, and I stop there often.  The selection is always different, so I know it’s getting good use.  You can find a Little Free Library near you

If there aren’t any Little Free Libraries near you, the good news is you can start one on your own with this specific kit:

Free Kindle Books on Amazon

There’s no shortage of ways to get books for free from mega retail giant Amazon.  Below I discuss Prime Reading, First Reads and Kindle Unlimited books.

Related post: where to buy books online cheap

Prime Reading

Amazon Prime members can take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Reading program, by which you can loan up to ten ebooks or magazines at a time.  The selection changes often, and there are many great reads in this program.  I always have ten checked out at a time.  The ebooks go directly to your Kindle or Kindle app. 

As a Prime member, you would be crazy not to take advantage of this benefit. 

Special offer: get your first 30 days for free

First Reads

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for Amazon’s First Reads program.  Each month, you get an email with early access to editors’ picks of a selection of ebooks, one month before their official release date. 

You can choose one Kindle book each month for free from the selection (and sometimes they let you choose more than one).  The other books are available for discounted purchase. 

Special offer: get your first 30 days for free

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited offers unlimited reading from over 1 million ebooks as well as unlimited listening to thousands of audiobooks. My current favorites in Kindle Unlimited (available at the time of posting) are the World War II tale Beneath a Scarlet Sky, the twisted thriller Verity and the memorable coming of age story The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell.

Special offer: While this is a subscription that costs $9.99/month (cancel anytime), you can try your first month for free.

“No Rush” Shipping credits

Another great hack for Amazon Prime members is that, if you choose “no rush” shipping you can often get a $1 credit towards digital products, which, you can use to buy free Kindle books when you add them up.

Special offer: get your first 30 days for free

Free Audiobooks on Audible

Audible Subsciption

Listening to audiobooks is one of my favorite ways to reads books, as you can listen while performing mundane tasks like driving and cleaning, and you can feel the emotions of books in different ways when you listen to them.

A few of my favorite Audible books, after years of listens, are The Hate U Give (which feels like a movie because as the characters sound so realistic), Before We Were Yours (which pulls at your heart) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (as read by actor Michael C. Hall, exhibiting the complexities of Holly Golightly).

Special offer: When you try Audible, you get a free audiobook and two Audible originals. ($14.95/month thereafter. Cancel anytime.)

Free Audiobooks on is an alternative to Audible, which supports independent bookstores. Listening on the app is just as easy as any other listening app, and you support your local economy with this service. I absolutely love

You can subscribe to get one monthly credit like Audible, and you can also purchase audiobooks separately.

Special offer: Get 2 audiobooks for the price of 1 with a new monthly membership with code LitLife

(Bonus tip: you can also enter book giveaways to win free books!)

Those are several great ways to get books for free. While several of them have some paid components, you can take advantage of the free trials to get some books for free, even if you decide not to use the service thereafter.

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