Four Best-Kept Secrets Book Lovers Need To Know

Four Secrets Book Lovers Need To Know

My life-long love affair with books has taken some wonderful new turns in the last year: so many more books, and for little to zero cost at all. 

“Did you say Free Books?”

Why yes, you have my attention!

So, here are four things that have spiced up my reading life in the last year, and if you’re a book lover – perhaps they’ll spice yours up too 🙂

1) Taking out e-books from the library

Now, I am a lover of paper books. They smell like books should smell, and I confess I do dearly like to judge a book by its cover. However, my Mom got me on to Kindle reading, and it has become a wonderful addition to my life (especially when traveling! Now I can take TWENTY books! in my handbag!)

Even better, though, is discovering that our local public library has a respectable (and growing) collection of ebooks which I can borrow on my Kindle. Our library, along with thousands of others in the US, uses Overdrive, and with a simple online sign-up, I can visit our local library and check out up to six books and download them to my e-reader. Folks with Tablets can easily download a Kindle App which would allow you to read these books on any tablet or smartphone, too.

Titles are available for three weeks, and are automatically returned at the end of the period if they are not renewed (yay! No late fees!) And… best of all, this means I can go to the library on a Sunday afternoon. Or at 10pm. In my pajamas! 

The online library also has a “request hold” function, and I have a couple of titles I’ve been wanting to read on there. When they are available, I’ll get an email and the title will magically appear on the Kindle on my nightstand.

It’s like having your own librarian fairy godmother, folks. 

Ask your library if this service is available. Ours had it for years before I discovered it was there!

2) Taking Audiobooks Out from the Library

Books-on-CD have been a thing for a long time, but we only discovered them last summer on our epic road trip. (We listened to Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s Peter and the Starcatcher series, narrated by Jim Daly-of-Harry-Potter-reading-fame: a breathtaking family adventure!)

We took that series out on CD from the library, but we have since discovered that with the online library membership, we can not only take out ebooks, but also Audiobooks! This is brilliant for driving/running errands/doing yard work/making dinner etc. With a simple online signup at the library, I can check an audiobook out for three weeks and listen to it on my smartphone. I tried Audible once and thought it very expensive for my audiobook tastes – so finding a free library option was awesome.

Genius, friends. It’s like having a fairy godmother read you a story. While you cook. For free.

3) Grab a Bag of Books

Our book club recently discovered another gem at our local library: they have a room with “Bags of Books” specifically for book clubs. They have a list of about 60 titles, and each has a bag with 10 copies of a book in the bag, which can be borrowed for about 6 weeks. Not all the titles are to my taste, but a good deal of them are (Peter and the Starcatchers was one of them, and I just read Elizabeth Stroud’s Olive Kitteridge, which I thought was excellent)

This has been an awesome find for our book club – instead of us all trying to scramble to find the same edition of a book, there are ten in a bag, which we all get on the night of book club. Ask your library if they have something like this.

4) Meet the Book Whisperer and Finder of Kindle Deals

Anne Bogel is my book whisperer: her blog Modern Mrs Darcy is full of book recommendations. I scour her annual Summer Reading Guide for suggestions, and regularly listen to her new What Should I Read Next? podcast. But best of all the things Anne does, I think, is compile a current list of Great Kindle Deals: Fabulous books at on-sale prices. You can check out the site directly from time to time, or sign up for Kindle deal notifications.

Let me warn you ahead of time, friends: I never visit Anne’s Kindle Deal page without finding something I’m dying to read and saying “oh, it’s just 99c…. click

I think that in the past year I have had more excellent reading material at my fingertips than at any other point in my life… and it has been SUCH fun. If you love to read… here’s hoping this helps connect you with more wonderful things in the world of literature, too!

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “Four Best-Kept Secrets Book Lovers Need To Know

  1. Here’s a 5th secret: Authors have to be paid in order to continue writing published books. If our books don’t sell, the publishers won’t be happy and might (will) drop underperforming authors. I’ve known of several award-winning midlist authors who wrote several books, didn’t meet their publishers’ expectations, and were dropped. One bestselling chick lit author told me that she’s only one contract away from unemployment, and if she can’t produce two books in two years (or more), then she’s essentially unemployed. She’s divorced, and after a bout of bad health, she had to rely on financial help from friends! It’s discouraging, but it’s reality.

    While I understand the desire to save money and get free books–I’m not knocking that at all, as I use the library a great deal–please consider paying full price for books by authors you enjoy. Most are not making a huge amount of money, even when they’re doing “well”. I tend to buy books from authors who I know won’t disappoint me; I use the library and buy cheap/free books for untested authors. Anne’s Kindle deals page would be an excellent place to start for the latter. And with all that money saved, you can afford a few hardcovers from your favorite writers, right? 🙂

    Sorry if this seems like a rant, but a lot of readers just don’t know the realities of publishing, and are unwilling to pay for anything.

    • Great point, Laura. We pay for our music and movies for the same reason. Like Jeannie, I have also made a few requests that our library buy certain titles (and they did!), and on more than a few occasions I have bought books I had initially borrowed, because I wanted to own them/lend them out/re-read them/gift them to others. And when yours comes out, I promise to buy it 😉

  2. I would also add that a great way to help both readers & authors is to request that your local library purchase a particular book. I’ve just started doing that, and so far they’ve bought all my suggestions. So the book gets purchased, but I get to read it for free. Like Laura says above, though, it’s important to support writers by buying their books ourselves if we can. My shelves can attest that I do that a lot.

    • My shelves tell the same story! And one of the fun things about knowing an increasingly bigger group of authors, is that now my bookshelves have a personal story attached to many of the titles. I LOVE that 🙂

  3. Yes, free audiobooks from the library are wonderful! I’ve listened to a few classics this way while working around the house. My house gets much cleaner if I’m interested in an audiobook. 😉
    Thank you for the tips!

  4. BookBub is my new favorite. I know it’s not helping any authors BUT I think it does expose me to new authors and that’s worth something. 🙂 Just learned about Carrying Albert Home from that and it’s one of my new favorite books. Wouldn’t have heard of it otherwise! I just make a list of the suggestions that interest me and then go down the list at my local library when I need a book suggestion. 🙂

    • If you find new authors that you enjoy through BookBub, consider writing a positive review on Amazon or sharing about it on social media. Authors LOVE positive word-of-mouth advertising. It’s free! I’m looking up Carrying Albert Home right now. 🙂

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