Free Books Online and Offline: 5 Ways to Read Books for Free

Looking for some easy ways to read books for free? Whether it be free books online, or some other fun ideas offline, inspiration is right around the corner…

An open book with a cluster of fairylights on top of it

As you may have guessed, I’ve recently gotten much more into reading than I have been since I was about 11 years old. I’ve always been a self-proclaimed bookworm, but I lost touch with it all during my high school and university days. But, now that I’m settled in the city of Bristol with a fantastic job, I have been able to read a lot more.

Having set myself the task of reading one book a month in 2020, I’ve managed to keep up… up until April. April saw the dusting off of my decade-old Kindle, and the discovering of some fantastic methods of obtaining free books online. Because of this, I ended up reading three books in April; more than I’ve read in a long, long time.

Want to discover some of the ways I have obtained free books online and offline, both now and in the past? Well, you came to the right place…

1. Free Books Online with Prime eBooks

I’ve had a Kindle since I was, maybe, 11 years old. When I received it, I remember being so excited, and thinking it was such a special gift. My dad went absolutely mad and downloaded hundreds of free books for me to read, which I read about 10 of, if that.

But, after life took over, my Kindle went away in a cupboard for the next 10 years. Practically unused, besides the odd holiday here and there, my lovely present went to waste… until now.

Recently, my boyfriend helped me to dust the old thing off, downloading all the missed updates, and deleting the huge array of books that were making it all very confusing. With a fresh and clean slate, I set to work exploring Amazon Prime’s eBooks.

Amazon have selected a number of books and magazines which can be downloaded for free. Much like a library, you are able to download ten books at a time, and once you’ve read them, you return them and download more.

Okay, this isn’t a completely free way to read books, considering you’ll need to have purchased a Kindle first. That said, if you really are a bookworm, and are spending way too much on books already, perhaps this will be a fantastic investment. You’ll be making your money back every time you download a free eBook, and you’ll save plenty of space in your suitcase every holiday, from now onwards.

A woman sat on the beach reading her Kindle next to the sea

2. Real Life Book Swap

Book swaps are a really fantastic way to spend pretty much no money at all, but enjoy book after book after book. The original way to do this was to set up a book case in your workplace or social space (wherever you may be), and every time you finish a book, you’d place it in the book case. With any luck, someone else has done the same, and you can grab a book you like the sound of to read next.

Every time you’ve read a book, you replace it on the shelf. This way, everyone gets the chance to get a hold of other peoples’ books. What’s even better about this is that, hopefully, someone else in the office will have also read the book too, so you can exchange thoughts on it afterwards.

There’s nothing better than chatting about a story with someone else who’s read it. In a similar way to sharing film and TV with people, the thrill of discussing a book plot is equally as tantalising.

3. Try a Virtual Book Swap

I also recently came across a virtual book swap, that you can do with people all across the world! A friend of mine had shared it on her Instagram story, saying that, once you send off a book to one person, you may receive up to 36 books in return! Sounds impossible, right?

Well, the idea is that, when you message your friend saying you’re interested, they send you the address of the friend they approached to get the information. Every person that my friend is approached by receives the address of the person she approached. Then, she sends me her address, to send in place of her friend’s address.

So, every person who approaches me, once I’ve shared the original message on my story, gets my friend’s address. This occurs with every person who approaches my friend. So, say six people approached her, every person who approaches these six people receive her address to send a book too!

Okay, that was pretty confusing, I’ll admit. So, here’s a little diagram to help you envisage it a little better:

A flow chart, by, showing how a virtual book swap works

This repeats as a cycle, so if you replace “Person 1” with “Person 2” in the top, it carries on down through the chain. The more people who reply, the more books Person 1 will receive, and so on. Whether each person sends their favourite book via Amazon, or to the address personally by post, each individual may receive books from people all over the world!

4. Head to a Library

We can’t forget about the good old-fashioned library as a fantastic way to get free books. What with social media, and using the library predominantly for school or university studies, we forget that many local libraries contain wonders we’ve forgotten existed!

As a kid, I was a frequent visitor to our local library, and took out book after book. Now, I don’t remember the last time I visited a library for non-academic purposes. So, let’s not forget about them, and remember that they’re a treasure-trove of untold stories, waiting to be read.

5. Borrow off a Friend

Finally, another traditional, yet underrated, way to read more books for free is simply to borrow off of a friend or family member. Most people have a bookcase in their home that goes completely untouched the majority of the time. Ask around, post an inquisitive post on your social media, and see if anyone will lend you some books.

Again, this will be the perfect way for you to share stories with those you know. Once you’ve finished it, you can drop the book back to their house and discuss your thoughts over a cup of tea. After all, books are best when shared together!

A group of friends sitting on a bench whilst they read together, and make notes

Excited to Read Books for Free?

So, there we have it, my top tips for reading books for free. I hope you’ve discovered something new today, or been inspired with older ideas you forgot about. Whatever it may be, I’m excited to have discovered these free book fixes, and to share them with you too.

Are you a bookworm, with some more ideas of ways to read that don’t break the bank? Or, perhaps my five tips for reading on a budget have provided you with some inspiration? Let me know, in the comments below, how you like to get your free books, so we can share more stories with one another…

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Debby Winter says:

    You can also go to Google or any other search engine and type the name of the author + filetype:pdf . You will get a list of pdf files and usually you will be able to find the books you are looking for. Remember, if you like the book make sure to buy a hardcover ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanna Journals says:

      Ooooh thatโ€™s a fab tip! Great way to discover new authors so you can buy more of their books later on! Thanks Debbie ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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