Much as I believe in supporting authors and publishers financially, limited current income means I had to find ways to cut my book bill. A voracious reader, I’ve devoured over 180 books in 2015. At new paperback prices, that equates to several weeks’ worth of campsite fees! Plus, of course, a caravan is a small space. I can store maybe a dozen books at any one time and, once they have been read, I can’t keep them which leads me to my first book source: swapping.
|59 Seconds by Richard Wiseman|
For a small price charity shops can be rewarding places to swap books, especially in university towns. For a fiver, I might gather up a good haul and the volunteers are always pleased to receive donated books. I find this is a great way to cheaply get hold of the wildly successful books of two years ago after their hype has faded away so my expectations are less affected by PR hysteria. OXFAM bookshops tend to have the best selection and are staffed by fellow bookworms with whom to discuss choices, but their average prices are higher.
We do buy new books, primarily as spacesaving ebooks because receiving post is fraught with potential missed connections. We both have Kindles and Amazon accounts so we take advantage of the Family Household setting. Two adults can link accounts thereby sharing each other’s Kindle purchases. Previously we could have simply borrowed each other’s Kindles, but I am surprisingly territorial about my Fire and (apparently) ‘always on Twitter’, so the logistics rarely worked out. While we are talking Amazon, it is worth keeping an eye on the Daily Deal pages. I haven’t signed up to the daily email, because I know I would be tempted too often, but I check the pages and my Wishlist regularly in case an eyecatching title has dropped to 99p or is even on a Free promotion. And, if you splashed out on Amazon Prime, don’t forget your free book each month.
|Three Deaths of Magdalene Lynton|
by Katherine Hayton
Classic books are widely offered as free versions on Amazon, but I avoid these because the transcription is frequently dire. Instead, I use the great resource that is ForgottenBooks. Essentially, this site photocopies out-of-copyright books, page by page, onto pdf. Sometimes the print is at a skewed angle, but I get to read the original book. For a £5.99 monthly fee, members can read any of their thousands of books or, for patient cheapskates, I suggest signing up to the daily email. One book each day is offered as a free download. Many are dry factual tomes that might float your boat – or would at least explain exactly how to go about doing so – but ForgottenBooks also offers antique novels, short story collections and poetry.
Audiobook fans are well provided for on the cheap by AudioSYNC and Audible. AudioSYNC is an annual summer programme of free audiobook downloads with two selected titles a week intended for Young Adult listeners and the 2016 season is due to start soon so make sure you are signed up. The book choices are perfectly appropriate for adult listeners too and include classics, contemporary fiction, biographies, audioplays and poetry. Not all titles are downloadable outside the USA for copyright reasons which can be irritating, but I still ended up with a good dozen audiobooks this summer.
|The Ark Before Noah by Dr Irving Finkel|
Blogging my own book reviews has brought me to the attention of independent authors and small publishing houses. I am delighted that they have begun contacting me, usually on Twitter or via Goodreads, offering their books for me to read in return for an honest review. The internet and ebook publishing are ideally suited for this purpose as books can be safely emailed across the world in seconds. Admittedly a few efforts have been truly unreadable, but others were absolute gems that I happily helped to promote and might never have discovered otherwise. I have learned to check out synopses and other reviews to help me identify compatible reads before saying yes.
|Blue Talk And Love by|
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan
Those same publishers may offer free books through their own websites, Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, either as giveaway promotions or as rewards for actions such as newsletter signups. It is always worth a quick click to find out. Independent authors also use this tactic and a high proportion are starting to offer a short story or novella as a free taster of their work to readers.
|Manukau Bluebirds by Tin Larrick|
Finally, I want to put forward Other Book Bloggers as a fabulous book source. Many run giveaways of new books or of giftcards and I was lucky to win a trio of novels last year. Of course I haven’t got them yet because we need to drift close to our home base to pick up our post. However, I love entering competitions and the rafflecopter widget is a wonderful invention! Blogged recommendations are a mainstay of my To Be Read list and I always give more weight to a respected blog review than to cover quotes.
I hope you liked reading my ideas and found new book sources from this post. I am always keen to discover more bookish opportunities so please do comment with your favourite sources.