Hello, fellow readers! I have seen several posts from book bloggers or bookstagrammers asking how people acquire so many books! It is a valid question and one that I myself was asking about a year ago when I first joined the bookish community. This will be a five-part series as I share some of the many ways I acquire or read books for free or almost free!
Visit your local library
Yes, this seems obvious, but you would be surprised how often people forget about the library! When I started my bookstagram account and blog last year, I was burning the barcode off my library card because that was the quickest and cheapest way for me to read books. Bonus: my library typically keeps up with the newest releases!
Most libraries are free for residents of that city or county. If you live in a smaller town that does not have a local library, you can usually join one nearby for a small yearly fee. I know it would not be convenient to travel to another town or city for the library, but most will let you check out multiple books at one time (I think I am allowed ten books!). My library also offers the option to renew books online up to three times without having to come back in the library.
Also, check to see if your card can be used at multiple branches. I can use my card at two libraries for no charge. One library is not as convenient, but if there is a title I want, I can request it online and they will deliver it to the branch I choose! They will text my phone and let me know my reserves are available. If you go enough (like me!), the staff will start to recognize you and pull your books from the shelf as soon as you walk in!
One last library tip: ebooks and audiobooks! Most libraries now offer ebooks and audiobooks through services like Hoopla, Libby, or Overdrive. Now, my library does not have the greatest selection on Hoopla, but occasionally I find books on there that I have been wanting to read. There are usually more limits to these services, as they do cost the library money. I was shocked to learn that books I borrow on Hoopla can cost my library anywhere from $0.99 to $5.99! So there are limits to how many books I can check out on Hoopla each month (my library lowered it from five to four items last summer).
I also sometimes have trouble borrowing books from Hoopla because there appears to be daily limits as well. Last summer, I would stay up until midnight when the limit reset so I could borrow something I wanted. I can’t complain too much though because it is a free service offered to me, but be aware there are some limits to ebooks and audiobooks through libraries. I do not have experience with Libby or Overdrive, but my understanding is, the services essentially work the same way, but you have to wait for items to be available.
That wraps it up for today! I have been on the search for libraries that allow you to join for free and have access to Overdrive and/or Libby because these services seem to have a better selection than Hoopla, but it may just be my library limiting the titles I am allowed to borrow. If you know of a library that allows this, please let me know in the comments!