Bookish Posts

How To Access Free Books

Photo by Ellie Burgin on

This week, I saw more than a few authors being penalized by Amazon for having their books pirated, and it got me thinking. These authors put their time, hard work, and energy into these books, which they agree to exclusively make available on Amazon, but when someone pirates it, the author is the one who gets all the consequences. While authors write because they love it and have stories inside them that need to be told, at some point, they aren’t going to keep publishing them only to spend all this time, energy, and money, for no compensation. How would you feel if you were told that you had to keep going to your job and working your normal hours, but wouldn’t get paid at all?

I’ve seen some posts and videos on social media where people share links to resources for pirated books, and supporting people’s right to pirate books. But this just doesn’t sit right with me, and a big part of it is because I can see what happens to the authors as a result. I’ve seen videos of authors crying because their only way to distribute and earn income from their hard work is being removed as an option. Look, you want to sneak a candy bar from a huge corporation like Wal-Mart? I can look the other way. But when you’re stealing from a small business, like an indie author? That isn’t cool.

Another aspect is the way that social media often falls into the trap of making book haul posts. I’m guilty of this one myself all the time, in fact. However, I actually spend very little on books in any given year. Most of my physical book hauls for such a long time came exclusively from the public library, at least until I started getting ARCs from publishers. Since I’m disabled, the majority of the money that I do have goes towards paying for my basic needs, and only rarely goes towards books. When it does, I often buy used books. 

I often find myself accessing e-books as well. With more states banning increasing numbers of books, libraries in more liberal states are becoming more important than ever. Public libraries offer online access to audiobooks and e-books through apps like Libby and Hoopla, plus, you can get your books at any time of day or night without even having to leave the house! Brooklyn, NY has a public library offering a free library card to people between the ages of 13 and 21, no matter where you live, for a limited time. For more information, visit Brooklyn Public Library’s page at Books Unbanned. In addition, if you live anywhere in New York State, you can get a free library card offering e-access at the Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Public Library, and New York Public Library, allowing you to access SO. MANY. BOOKS.

If you’re looking to just own free books? Sign up for the Bookbub daily email! I look forward to it every day, because it not only lets me know about the super low-priced deals on Amazon e-books in the genres that I select, but there’s also multiple free book deals each day. My TBR has grown exponentially since I signed up for this email, and it really has some awesome offerings.

Let me close this by saying I know I’m fortunate to live in the US, where I can access books for free through the library, and get ARCs sent to me, and get ARCs through websites like NetGalley or Edelweiss (even if they never approve me on EW). I’m aware that things are different in other countries, so I’m not judging what people do, but I still think there needs to be a workable solution that doesn’t involve pirating works and harming authors.

Did I miss any? Let me know!

14 replies »

  1. Yeah accessibility and availability needs to improve. I just wanted to point out that those who don’t live in the US get approved on netgalley too, it’s just for a smaller selection of titles.

    If anybody is interested in older works, project Gutenberg has free (legal) copies that are out of copyright!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Another aspect is the way that social media often falls into the trap of making book haul posts.”

    Could you touch on this a little more? I’m missing where the issue with book haul posts is.


    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think the issue is with book haul posts, per se, I’m currently crawling out from under the worst cold of my life, so forgive me – the thought worked in my head and now that I’m rereading I think it didn’t come out right at all!

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but as someone who tries to stay somewhat active on social media, I definitely feel some admittedly self-imposed pressure to have lots of books, be able to post pics of physical books that aren’t all the same, and especially share some of my latest finds! I do tend to use my library books as hauls but especially when I was newer to social media, and didn’t have a lot of reviews or great ideas, book hauls were always a popular type of post. Hopefully this makes sense?


      • I think so. You’re saying that book haul posts can pressure readers into looking for alternative ways to obtain large numbers of books, which can encourage piracy?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can see how book haul posts can encourage piracy. That’s sad.

        I occasionally buy a large number of books at once, but I also read them all. It’s fun to drop $$ at the book store on occasion, but I think that when people are feeling pressured to do these kinds of hauls for their viewers/readers, then it becomes less about the hobby of reading & collecting, and more about wanting to keep the audience interested. That makes for cheap, inauthentic content, IMO.

        Not going to lie though, I do enjoy seeing what books other people buy, but I do often wonder if these booktubers are actually going to ever read all the books they are amassing. I’d rather see people post about books they picked up that they are actually going to read soon, vs just getting them because they are the ‘hot titles’ right now and never reading/reviewing them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s why I love my library hauls! The due dates pressure me to read them. And the few books I do buy are because I’m so excited about them. And someone on Twitter brought up Little Free Libraries which I love too!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A very timely post! This is another topic that seems to keep popping up. I’m not knowledgeable about how to access free books outside of the U.S., but there seems to be a good amount of options here in the U.S. I think the limiting factors for libraries are library funding and a patron’s distance from said library; the whole book banning thing isn’t helping, either. But for discounted books, library sales and thrift shops are great. There’s also free little libraries. NetGalley is an option, too, but there are strings attached (i.e., leave a review on NG) if a reader wants to keep reading for free.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Even if you can’t get to the library, the online access can be amazing – I’m not sure if everywhere is like this, but I can request access to books anywhere in my county through the online app and download ebooks and audiobooks right from my phone! I’m not sure about other countries either.


  4. I’ve never pirated a book and I never will.

    These are all great options for getting free books.

    You can get free books on Amazon and some other sites if you search through their free books tags. They seem to refresh about once a week on average.

    I share links to 5-10 of them (give or take a few) every Thursday on Mastodon! (

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never pirated a book either, especially when there’s so many great options available where you don’t have to steal from the author. In addition, joining blog tours or ARC teams for specific authors are great ways to get ARCs.


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