Bookworm problems: if you want to read summer’s hot new books, it gets really expensive, really fast. New hardcovers run $18-$30 and even new ebooks are in the $10-$12 range, which means I can blow my summer book budget by the time school lets out.
That’s not gonna work. Here’s what to do instead:
I don’t buy a ton of books, to save room in the budget and on my bookshelves, so I love to borrow—from friends, from the library, from the Kindle Lending Library (with my Amazon prime membership).
Here are 27 books you can borrow for free from the Kindle lending library. (Pro: no waiting lists. Cons: limit one book per month, must have a Kindle and Amazon prime to use.)
Borrowing has its drawbacks, and this is the most painful: I am #88 in line for All the Light We Cannot See, #35 for The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry, and #343 for The Invention of Wings (which, thankfully, I already bought, read, and gave away in the 5-Book Summer Reading Guide, but I forgot to delete my request).
2. Buy used.
Hit your local used bookstore (especially if you have old books to trade) or buy used online. Even Amazon has many nearly-new books available used. The shipping is more expensive, but it’s still worth it, especially if you order a few titles and combine shipping.
3. Try something new.
I love Audible.com and their iPhone app. Audible gets you started with a free book, which is how I got hooked. Try Audible now and get that hot summer title with the mile-long waiting list at the library. (And you don’t have to get a membership: just keep your eye on their daily deals, which usually run $2-$5, and buy them a la carte.)
I’m also interested in Oyster, which winningly bills itself as “Netflix for books.” Your first month is free. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ll get there.
4. Read the classics.
Because of lapsed copyrights, classic ebooks are often free or dirt cheap. (When you pay 99¢ for Pride and Prejudice, you’re paying for better formatting.)
4. Watch the sales.
(You don’t need a Kindle to read these ebooks: download the appropriate Kindle app from Amazon and you’re good to go.)
Great titles on sale right now that would make great summer reads (with prices subject to change at any time):
• Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes, by Shauna Niequist. ($3.79) A featured foodie memoir in this year’s summer reading guide and one of my favorite books of 2013.
• Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, by Tsh Oxenreider. ($2.99) Part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, this collection of personal essays will delight fans of Tsh’s popular blog.
• A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life, by Donald Miller. ($2.99) I recommend this memoir—which earned a spot in the 2012 summer reading guide—all the time. More thoughts on it right here.
• Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain. ($2.99) Don’t let the title put you off: Quiet does not equal boring. Cain’s a master storyteller: this could easily be beach reading. Delightful for all personality types, but a must-read for introverts.
• The Rosie Project, Graeme Simsion. ($1.99) Surprising, delightful, and one of my favorites. I loved it enough to put it in the 5-Book Summer Reading Guide, and to download it on to my husband’s iPad when he needed an airplane read last week. Now that’s high praise.
• Parnassus on Wheels, Christopher Morley. (99¢) It’s cheap because it’s a classic. This short pick from the 5-Book Summer Reading Guide will charm any book lover. It’s very much in the spirit of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, a previous summer reading pick and the book I can’t stop recommending.
• The Good Luck of Right Now, Matthew Quick. ($1.99) Warning: this latest from the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (yep, it’s in the 2014 summer reading guide, and it’s only $4.99 right now) is the only book on this list I haven’t read—yet. But I will. Especially at under two bucks.
How do you save money on summer reading? Share your trusted tips in comments!
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