I read a lot. 97 books last year. 41 books so far this year. It would cost a small fortune if I had bought all of those books, even the Kindle versions. So how do I keep from spending money on books? Aside from the more traditional method of borrowing books from friends, I have four ways.
The Public Library
New Berlin has a terrific library, and it’s part of the Waukesha County library system. I go to the library about once a week, but I rarely browse. I use the online catalog to find and reserve the books on my “To Read” book list. Within a few days, the book is waiting at the library for me. I sometimes feel bad about how often I use this service.
But, one of my financial goals in 2014 was to use the library more. I had gotten lazy in 2013, and I was buying a lot of Kindle books for book club. I decided to keep track of my savings from using the library. I borrowed 78 books from the library last year – saving $618 dollar (based on the Kindle cost of those books). That’s a lot of money!
I recently downloaded the Overdrive app for my iPhone. With my public library account, I am able to download e-books and e-audiobooks (which I haven’t done yet). The e-books either link up to my Kindle account to download to my Kindle app on my phone or download directly into the Overdrive app. I can also reserve books through this app, and they’re automatically checked out to me when they become available. The only downside here is that you only get the books for 1 week at a time. You can renew them though as long as someone else hasn’t reserved the book. Luckily I get through books very quickly on my phone because it’s with me all the time.
Amazon No-Rush Shipping
Thanks to my mother who’s had us on her Amazon Prime account for the last few years, we get free Prime shipping. But I also very often use the No-Rush free shipping. For every order that is shipped using this method, you get a $1 credit for Kindle books (among other things). So when there is a book I want to buy, usually because I know I’ll want to read it again, I save up some of these credits and then buy the Kindle version.
Amazon’s Kindle Book Deals
Kindle books are already cheaper than buying a paper copy, but on top of that Amazon often has sales for Kindle books. There are daily and monthly deals. I periodically browse through these deals, looking for books that are already on my “To Read” list. I also use this book deal page from one of my favorite blogs to check up on deals. Since Anne and I have similar tastes, I know it’s likely for books I’d be interested in to be on her list.
Usually I combine a book deal with my No-Rush credits, so with a few Amazon orders I end up getting a free Kindle book.