DISCUSSION: How To Read Free Books LEGALLY
Hello everyone! So today is a bit of an insanity post because this is a HUGE topic right now. It’s one that I’ve lightly touched on before but has never been discussed much further. To save space, I’ll say this quick thing:
I used to use websites that offered free books. I wasn’t allowed to buy books and I was relatively young and, more importantly, I was on my own in my book love. I had only started blogging (on Weebly) when I found the websites and I thought it was great! I thought it was like a mini library except this time I could keep the books as long as I wanted. As I grew older and wiser, I realized how wrong I was and what those free book websites did for authors, publishers and other people involved in the literary industry (hint: it very much hurts careers & book sales). I stopped using the websites and have since discouraged people from using them.
Now, why am I talking about this today? Because last night there was a wonderful discussion on the topic. I don’t know how it started but I saw it and I liked it. I especially liked it when I saw that there were some people who weren’t placing blame on anyone for why people were downloading free books. Rather they were suggesting alternatives. I thought this particularly interesting because I never saw an alternative; I was so new to the online literary world that I didn’t see anything else. Thus I thought to share my thoughts and the alternatives with you! Let’s begin!
Here’s the thing, both of those are MAJOR factors in how people read books and which ones they read. There are some people who don’t have the money to buy books, there are others who have no accessibility to libraries or bookshops close by. For example, I lived in a small town where the biggest thing in town was that we had Subway (so good btw!). We had a library but it was extremely small and after previously living in a place where I could practically get any book I wanted, it was extremely limiting to find that I didn’t have any choices. Not to mention I was young and unfamiliar with the fact that I could ask my library to purchase books for me to read, though, it didn’t help much when I eventually found that out. Oh, and I wasn’t allowed to buy any books unless they were like $3 or less. So ya, everyone’s situation is different both in the physical sense (accessibility and money) and the mental sense (feeling alone/unfamiliar with things). Thankfully, there are alternatives but before I get into that, I thought I’d discuss (college) textbooks….
Okay so someone in the discussion quickly mentioned college textbooks as something to consider. I thought it would be interesting to cover this as they’re very expensive, most of the time unnecessarily…. here are my thoughts on this:
College textbooks are really expensive and sometimes even teachers will say “oh this books is $$ on Amazon but, hey, I found it for free as PDF which you can find [insert link]” I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that’s not right unless it is found for free on popular bookstore sites. For example, most of the classics (literature wise) can be found on Amazon or the Apple store for FREE. So that covers your English class! For most other majors, I highly suggest buying your books (especially in the latter years of uni) and not just because it’s not right to pirate books; major-based courses usually build on the one before it and so, personally, I find it best to buy (or at least rent) any textbooks related to my major so I can use them as references in later courses. One place I’ve found extremely cheap books at (textbooks, fiction, nonfiction) in the US is bookholders.com! I once got 60 books for a total of $10 from bookholders so I’d highly suggest using it if possible.
On the topic of alternatives….
Here is a pretty wonderful list of alternatives that I’ve either found/come up with myself or that the Twitter discussion has helped me find. For the latter, thank you all for your wonderful ideas!
- Free Ebooks & Audiobooks
- Read books in the public domain
- Enter giveaways for gift cards or books! Goodreads is an excellent example of where to find giveaways for books of all genres so definitely check that out!
- Request/auto download eARCs from NetGalley & Edelweiss and then please review the book afterward!
- (Literary) magazines
Someone also suggested some sites with unpublished (but pretty awesome) writing:
Obviously, you may not be able to access a specific book you want but it’s also quite fun to find new books to read that you might otherwise not have read. When I got an iPod several years ago and found the free ebook section of the Apple store, I downloaded anything remotely interesting and ended up finding a couple faves! I understand it’s a bit hard not to read all the books you’d like but think of it as an opportunity to save money for later and read outside your comfort zone!
And that’s it for today! Thank you to everyone on Twitter for an awesome discussion and for the above alternatives! Now, I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on the issue and your experience(s) with it! Have you ever (unknowingly) pirated a book? If so, what was it that made you stop? Also, what do you think of the alternatives listed? Tell me in the comments below as I’d love to see what you think! Thank you, have a great day/night and tata for now!!