Finding Free Books On the Road
I’ve always been a voracious reader. It’s my favorite thing to do in the wee hours before sleep and I usually get through at least one or two books a week. We had a huge library in our old stix house and losing my books was actually one of my biggest worries getting on the road…how was I going to feed my need to read??!
Well our first year out I broke down and bought a Kindle which immediately made my reading life 1000% better (I’m a huge fan now). Since then I’ve read many hundreds of free books and discovered a bunch more ways to get free books on the road. Here are a few of my favorite tips:
1/ Electronic Books With Expired Copyright
Anyone can download and read electronic books, even if you don’t have a Kindle. You can use your smartphone, your Nook, your PC or your iPad. One of the easiest way to get titles is from older books with expired copyright (anything pre-1923 is open game, although more modern books can qualify too). Many have been converted to electronic format and these are legally free and available to everyone -> IF you know how find them. Here are my favorite links for snagging them:
- On Your Kindle: The Kindle has tons of old classic books for free. Just look-up old authors and go banana’s with downloads. I use this method when I know what I’m looking for. Otherwise I go to the internet.
- On the Internet: Archive.org is the gateway to the internet’s largest collection of copyright-free books with over 3 million titles for download in just about any format you want for any reader you want. Browse and download titles through the nice, searchable interface at openlibrary.com or link to any of the sub-collections like Project Gutenberg.
- On Your Smartphone: If you have a smartphone you can download cool apps like Free Books or Wattpad that give you instant access to thousands of classic free titles right on your phone.
2/ Amazon.com Daily Free Listings For Kindle
This is a fabulous resource for Kindle users that I only discovered recently. When new titles are listed on Amazon.com they’re often offered for free for a few days before going on regular sale. In a similar vein some authors may offer one book of a series for free or do a few free days to promote sales. There are literally hundreds of contemporary books listed like this everyday covering any and all topics from fiction to investment to cooking. The key is to catch them while they’re free!
You can find these books directly on your Kindle (under “Best Sellers” there’s a link “Top 100 Free”), but I find it hard to sort through them that way. A much better option is to use an online search engine like eReaderIQ. Sign-up for a daily list of top 25 free books with description and ratings included and you’ll get a handy-dandy e-mail everday sorted by topic. You’ll literally never out of stuff to read this way!
3/ Physical Bookswaps
For those of us who still like to have the paperback in hand (and I do every now and then), bookswaps are a great way to get real books on the road. Many private RV parks will have a small local bookswap and some towns will too.
We found a huge bookswap at the laundromat in Quartzsite, AZ and a hidden swap in the mailbox at Peg Leg Monument in Borrego Springs, CA. The locals usually know where to find them (as will people where you’re staying) so ask around to find those hidden book-gems.
4/ OnLine Bookswaps
There are tons of online bookswap sites where users can exchange used books (sometimes CDs & DVDs too). Typically these items go slow-mail and take a few weeks to get to you so they’re best suited for when you know you’ll be sitting still for a while (e.g. a winter spot?). Before we packed up our stix house we used paperbackswap.com to get rid of a ton of old books and ended up with over 80 credits that we’ve been slowly using on the road. Other good swaps sites are BookMooch and TitleTrader.
I read most of my stuff on the Kindle and have been going banana’s with new titles ever since I discovered #2. My need to read has been freed 🙂
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