Sharing Saturday: How to find free books

As a companion to my Finding Free Ebooks SS a few weeks ago I was asked to list a version for paperback books. As I’m from the UK I primarily only have experience with sites and places that UK friendly, but some of these do cross over for international readers as well 🙂


Finding Books Online


One of my favourite places to get books, Bookmooch works on a points system. Every time you add a book to your trading list or trade a book, you earn points. You then use these points to ‘buy’ books from others. This is an international site so you can choose to send books outside your home country, but what I love is that if you’re unable to do that due to postage costs it doesn’t in anyway hamper your ability to get books from international users. It just costs more points; something like 3 points instead of 1. You do have to pay postage for any books you send, however, it doesn’t cost you anything to trade books. The trader pays the postage. I’m not currently trading at the moment but you’re welcome to add me as a friend for when I’m back in the game. I can only send to the UK though.


Read it Swap It

I’m not a massive fan of Read it Swap it because it requires an actual swap, like for like. That means that you need to have something on your trade list that the other user wants and 98% of the time that doesn’t happen. There are also a lot of users who are AWOL, but, it isn’t entirely useless and there’s a lot of variety, including a lot of children and family books. I usually run it alongside Bookmooch when I’m trading, so my account is here.


Paperback Swap

I’ll start off by saying that I have never used Paperback Swap simply because it seems to be more US based and I could never work out whether it could be used by other countries. In a similar fashion to Bookmooch you get book credits when you swap a book and use them to trade for new books. It has a paid version, however, there is a free version although I have no experience with this site so I don’t know what the difference is between them.



Finding Books Offline



Yes it is an obvious one. Libraries have books, duh! However, not everyone uses their local library for various reasons. In the UK most libraries have a way for you to reserve books from any library in the area/county and get it transferred to your local library, so you literally just need to walk in and pick them up. You can spend time browsing the shelves if you want, but if you don’t have the time it doesn’t mean you can’t utilise your library! Also e-books are becoming a regularly occurrence at libraries and even the ones that don’t have a massive selection will still have some of interest. Libraries are also great for comics/graphic novels and Manga, especially if you’re just starting out and want to have a nosey.


Charity Shops

Charity Shops are a goldmine for cheap books, dvds, games (video and board) and cds. They can range from 20p – £1 and have a surprisingly good range. I read primary fantasy and urban fantasy and didn’t expect to find many at all, and I’ve found some in every shop I’ve visited. You can also find some great deals on comics/graphic novels because most charity shops have no idea what they’re doing with them so they try to sell them off in bulk as quick as possible. And of course you’re helping a good cause at the same time 🙂

Car Boot Sales / Fairs

Most local schools, churches and community centres run regular boot sales, markets and fairs and like Charity shop they are a great way to find stuff like cheap books. Any local markets or second hand events will have something of interest. You can usually find your local ones by googling or checking facebook for a local group.