My book budget is abysmally tiny; some months it's non-existent. I currently have a gift card balance at Amazon so I've been able to purchase some print books and digital books but I'm trying to stretch it and make it last so I have been very picky about what I pay for. Freebies are my friend. :) The library is, and has been for years, a fantastic source. The downside of course is that I can't keep the books but I have to give them back. Still, it does let me read authors who are favorites but not on my auto buy list, and it lets me try new authors. They also have ebooks, both kindle and ePub, and I have taken advantage of that as well. Free books are an excellent way to try a new-to-you author or genre; you're investing your time but not your money.
So, the library is one source for free books that I don't keep. For books that I want to keep, well, there are many sources. Have an author that you like? Join their mailing list, whether it's print or digital; follow them on twitter or facebook (or any other social media where you both are users), make a point of regularly visiting their website/blog/discussion board. All of these are ways to find out when your author has a book that is free or being given away. Are you on goodreads? Often authors will make a book free temporarily and invite their goodreads friends or post a book in the goodreads giveaway section. I'm not on shefari or librarything so I don't know if they have similar activities. Anybody know?
What else? Publishers. If you have a publisher that you're a fan of or that publishes a series or several series that you enjoy, sign up for their mailing list and visit their sites and blogs. Don't forget to follow them on twitter, facebook, etc. For instance, the publisher I work for is celebrating it's second birthday this month by giving away 2 books every day on their blog. Each day there are two different titles and coupon codes so you can download them for free. My publisher invited all staff who are on facebook, and everyone that liked their page as well as everyone who's part of their facebook book club. They've also been talking it up on twitter. They've also been encouraging people to share the news and spread the word.
Of course, the people that you interact with and follow are also sources. Talk to your blogging buddies, your tweeps, your facebook friends, etc. Know a deal or freebie? Share the news. Forward the email, write a blog post, share info and links on twitter and fb, etc. I get many of my freebies from reading other book sharing posts, the Sunday Post, Stacking the Shelves, IMMs, etc., particularly the Melissas - Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf and Melissa's Mochas, Mysteries & More. Now, sometimes by the time I read the book share posts, the freebie is no longer free but it might be on sale, reasonably priced, or a book I add to my watch list or see if my library has. The Book Vixen regularly tweets freebies and deals. There are book blogs that post, either regularly or occasionally, freebies and deals. Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Reviews is one, there are others if you just look. I almost forgot! Both Dear Author and Smart Bitches have daily listings of romance titles that are either free or on sale and usually those are available in different formats, not just kindle.
So, the library is a source,
The freebies and deals are out there, if you're willing to put in some time and effort up front to find them.
Do you have a source for free or cheap books? Please put a link in the comments; it doesn't have to be for kindle but can be for any e-reader. Share the love!