I’ve been slightly alarmed at how the number of ebooks on my Kindle appears to be growing exponentially over time. And because I swear I’ve been keeping to a book budget (ahem), the cause is probably the number of free (or bargain-priced) ebooks that are available nowadays.
Remember those days when freebies (especially if you were in a country outside the US) were a rarity? That’s no longer the case – instead of grabbing every single free ebook on offer, I find myself being rather selective about the books I actually download. But despite this new-found selectiveness, I still find my virtual TBR pile increasing by leaps and bounds.
It’s not just free ebooks though. If it’s priced low enough, I have a bad habit of clicking that Buy Now button. My tipping point for impulse purchases (usually new-to-me indie authors) tends to be £1.50 or below.
Part of me is feeling slightly guilty that you know, I download all these freebies and never post about them* when I’m guessing the author/publisher views the promotion as, well, promotion spend. So I’ve been pondering whether I should start a sporadic feature here where I actually Review a Free Ebook now and again (technically Review a Free (or Cheap) Ebook, I suppose).
And because I was bored (and this post lacked pictures), I made a little button**.
I thought the best way to kick this feature off was to share where I get my free*** and/or cheap ebooks. So that your TBR piles can also spiral out of control. You’re welcome.
Starting with the obvious – there’s always public domain books, i.e. books out of copyright, though be aware that copyright laws vary depending on where you live, and what may be legal in one country may not be in another. Project Gutenberg is probably the primary source for PD ebooks, but I like ManyBooks.net (who use the Project Gutenberg texts) because of their ebook formatting. MobileRead is also a great source of beautifully-formatted ebooks. Public domain books I love:
- DADDY-LONG-LEGS by Jean Webster: I have a soft spot for this charming epistolary-style novel about an orphan whose college education is made possible by a mysterious benefactor. And I really liked her JUST PATTY and WHEN PATTY WENT TO COLLEGE books too.
- Anything by LM Montgomery: Everyone’s heard of Anne of Green Gables, but I have a personal preference for LM Montgomery’s Emily trilogy (which doesn’t appear to be PD, alas). As much as I liked Anne-with-an-e, there is something about Emily Starr’s vivid imagination and quiet pride that spoke to me when I first read these books.
Not one for the classics? There are various places where you can find new(er) releases on offer:
- I’ve found some bargains (free or otherwise) via the Daily Deals posted by Dear Author. I like that these are targeted towards the genres I read, and also the quick commentary offered on the books.
- Back at MobileRead, they also have a pretty active Deals, Freebies & Resources forum where people post offers (including audiobooks, if that’s your thing). The posters also sometimes comment on the books in question, so you know they’re not duds.
- Willing to pay a bit more? Fictionwise, which is mostly used by small publishers nowadays, has weekly codes that offer x% off their books and this can be pretty good deals – last week’s was 55% off and this week is 45%. The MobileRead forum tends to have the most recent code, else you can make a guess – it’s normally the date of the Friday (mmddyy American-style). I like the fact that E-Reads and Belgrave House (author backlist re-releases generally) books are available there – I probably wouldn’t pay full list price for these books, but they’re worth it if there’s a good coupon code.
- The Amazon Kindle forums usually have a daily thread (or at least the Amazon UK website has) where people post free Kindle ebooks. It’s a bit more of a slush pile and covers all genres, but worth flicking through if you’ve a spare few minutes.
- Mills & Boon has free ebooks on Everyone’s Reading – they refresh these periodically. Needless to say, I recommend the Kelly Hunter that’s currently available – MISBEHAVING WITH THE MAGNATE (I know, ignore the title).
So those are my main sources for free/cheap ebooks – do you have others? What’s your e-TBR pile like – do you succumb to cheap ebooks too?
*Though to be fair, (a) I don’t post that often and (b) there are some books that you really don’t need to know about.
**My very first attempt at some sort of button in five-plus years of blogging. The pretty font is Clipper Script courtesy of mawn.com.
***I hate the fact that I feel I have to state this, but just to be totally clear – I don’t condone ebook piracy. Can’t afford books? See above for sources for free AND legal ebooks. Need to read a recent release? Use your local library.