Free/Cheap Ebooks: An Update (Plus a Couple of Reviews)

reviewafreeebookA while back, I posted about my plan to run an irregular feature on free/cheap ebooks as a way of saying thanks to the authors/publishers for their promotional offers – a year on, I’ve posted a total of umm… one post.  Slow but steady, possibly. Or quality, not quantity.  Something along those lines.

A quick update on the original post where I covered sources for bargain-priced ebooks – the websites for the public domain books are still good, and I haven’t really ventured beyond them as I can pretty much source any PD books I want there (plus their ebooks are generally formatted beautifully):

As for newer releases, there are some changes:

Sadly, Fictionwise closed operations in December 2012 (though it feels like it was years ago now).  On a side note, while I did opt into transferring my books to a B&N Nook account, the ebooks never arrived in my new account – it wasn’t a real issue for me as I had all my ebooks saved locally, but the transfer debacle has not encouraged me to shop at the UK Nook store at all.

I rarely go to the Kindle forum nowadays – too many titles to wade through, but it’s probably still there if you have some time to kill.

Dear Author and the MobileRead forums are still excellent sources of deals – the latter also have dedicated monthly threads for romance, SFF, and mystery (amongst others), which is useful. Smart Bitches, Trashy Books also do daily deals – their posts are more romance-focused than DA’s (or that’s my impression anyway), there can be some overlap between SBTB and DA deals, and sometimes they have Australia/NZ-specific deals.

Also on MobileRead is a Kobo discount codes thread, which tracks current codes for Kobo – I always check there before making any Kobo purchases.  I’ve to say Kobo has come up trumps in the discount codes arena this year – there’s been a flood of 50% to 80% off codes over the past few months.  A couple of caveats – a lot of Kobo codes are one-time only, so use wisely (i.e. not on the $0.99 books!), and even with the discount, Kobo can prove to be more expensive than, say, Amazon (I’m not sure why that’s the case).

There are a couple of mailing lists I’ve joined – BookBub and Riffle Select specifically – that send you daily emails with free/cheap ebooks. They’re US-centric and I’ve not actually bought any books from them, but they’re out there if you’re interested.  I believe authors pay to be promoted on BookBub, but I’m not sure about the Riffle model.

But (obviously saving the best for the last) – my big find is eReaderIQ (I’ve linked to the Amazon UK site, but there is one for Amazon US and Canada too). Obviously, it’s a lot more useful if you have a Kindle, but would be applicable for any price drops mirrored across the different retailer sites.  Here’s what I use it for (and I’m not affiliated in them in any way, I just think it’s a great service!):

  • Tracking ebooks of the interested-but-not-entirely-sure-because-of-the-price variety – eReaderIQ sends you an email if the price drops for that book.  You can add a bookmarklet to your browser bar to make it even easier to add books to your tracker when you’re on the Amazon website (why yes, I’ve done that).
  • Tracking all ebooks for an author – again, eReaderIQ sends you an email if any of their books drop in price.  Useful if you’ve just discovered an author and want to explore his/her backlist without spending tons of money.
  • Checking the price history for ebooks – it lets you know if the publisher has a habit of dropping the price every now and again, so you don’t end up paying full price for a book that goes on sale the next weekend.
  • Browsing through recent freebies or price drops (I spent too much money on impulse buys due to the latter, so I’m trying to stop doing that!) – you can choose the genres you’re interested in and maximum price to limit the number of books shown.

Have I missed any free/cheap ebook sources that you use?

Note: Most of the sites I’ve linked to above use affiliate links (i.e. they get a % of your purchase (the price you pay stays the same) for any purchases you make at the relevant retailer while the link is active) except for MobileRead, who are pretty vigilant about no affiliate links unless explicitly stated.  I don’t mind using the affiliate links as I appreciate the time/effort in curating the deals, but YMMV.  You can remove the affiliate tags before clicking through if you prefer (or clear your browser cache).

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And a couple of quick reviews for recent freebies (cross-posted from Goodreads, additional comments in italics):

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The Girl With the Cat Tattoo (Cool Cat Trilogy, #1)The Girl With the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir (contemporary romance)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a freebie with good reviews – I obviously had to give it a go. For a story narrated from a cat’s POV, this avoided the cute-sy trap and turned out to have more emotional punch (and plot) than I expected. And I loved the ending.

I kept on seeing this reviewed on various sites, and while it isn’t a re-read for me, I’m certainly interested in checking out more of Weir’s backlist.

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Shadow Unit 1Shadow Unit 1 by Emma Bull (UF)

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kindle freebie on Amazon, IIRC. Each contribution is written like a TV episode (which I believe is the intention – more at www.shadowunit.org), and I found it easy to dip in and out. I connected the most with Will Shetterly’s and Sarah Monette’s contributions – would be open to reading more in this universe.

I believe all stories are free at the Shadow Unit website (there’s also a Paypal Donate button there).  I already knew I loved Sarah Monette’s writing (new book out next year under a pseudonym – I’m excited!), but I’ve to check out Will Shetterly’s writing now.  Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear were the other two contributors in this one.

4 Comments

Filed under Ebooks and E-reading

4 responses to “Free/Cheap Ebooks: An Update (Plus a Couple of Reviews)

  1. Jan

    Thank you for all the info about free and cheap e-books, Li. It’s going to take me awhile to go through all this, but I’m especially excited to know about eReaderIQ. That’s really exciting!

  2. Pingback: Sunday Post–December 8 | Notes from a Readerholic

  3. Pingback: I want to read it, but don't own it - Notes from a ReaderholicNotes from a Readerholic

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