DISCUSSION: How To Read Free Books LEGALLY

how-to-read-free-books-legally

Hello everyone! So today is a bit of an insanity post because this is a HUGE topic right now. It’s one that I’ve lightly touched on before but has never been discussed much further. To save space, I’ll say this quick thing:

I used to use websites that offered free books. I wasn’t allowed to buy books and I was relatively young and, more importantly, I was on my own in my book love. I had only started blogging (on Weebly) when I found the websites and I thought it was great! I thought it was like a mini library except this time I could keep the books as long as I wanted. As I grew older and wiser, I realized how wrong I was and what those free book websites did for authors, publishers and other people involved in the literary industry. I stopped using the websites and have since discouraged people from using them.

Now why am I talking about this today? Because last night there was a wonderful discussion on the topic. I don’t know how it started but I saw it and I liked it. I especially liked it when I saw that there were some people who weren’t placing blame on anyone for why people were downloading free books. Rather they were suggesting alternatives. I thought this particularly interesting because I never saw an alternative; I was so new to the online literary world that I didn’t see anything else. Thus I thought to share my thoughts and the alternatives with you! Let’s begin!

Accessibility/Money

Here’s the thing, both of those are MAJOR factors in how people read books and which ones they read. There are some people who don’t have the money to buy books, there are others who have no accessibility to libraries or book shops close by. For example, I lived in a small town where the biggest thing in town was that we had Subway (so good btw!). We had a library but it was extremely small and after previously living in a place where I could practically get any book I wanted, it was extremely limiting to find that I didn’t have any choices. Not to mention I was young and unfamiliar with the fact that I could ask my library to purchase books for me to read though it didn’t help much when I eventually found that out. Oh and I wasn’t allowed to buy any books unless they were like $3 or less. So ya, everyone’s situation is different both in the physical sense (accessibility and money) and the mental sense (feeling alone/unfamiliar with things). Thankfully, there are alternatives but before I get into that, I thought I’d discuss (college) textbooks….

Textbooks

Okay so someone in the discussion quickly mentioned college textbooks as something to consider. I thought it would be interesting to cover this as they’re very expensive, most of the time unnecessarily…. here’re my thoughts on this:

College textbooks are really expensive and sometimes even teachers will say “oh this books is $$ on Amazon but, hey, I found it for free as PDF which you can find [insert link]” I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that’s not right unless it is found for free on popular bookstore sites. For example, most of the classics (literature wise) can be found on Amazon or the Apple store for FREE. So that covers your English class! For STEM, I highly suggest buying your books and not just because it’s not right to pirate books; STEM courses are the base of your degree and each course builds on the one before it and so, personally, I find it best to buy (or at least rent) any STEM textbooks so I can use them as references in later courses. Overall, I don’t really see a situation where it would be okay to pirate books but I believe that if you do, you ought to carefully deliberate over the alternatives, your situation and the consequences.

On the topic of alternatives….

Alternatives

Here is a pretty wonderful list of alternatives that I’ve either found/come up with myself or that the Twitter discussion has helped me find. For the latter, thank you all for your wonderful ideas!

  • Libraries
  • Free Ebooks
    • Apple Store
    • Amazon
  • Read books in the public domain
  • Enter giveaways for gift cards or books! Goodreads is an excellent example of where to find giveaways for books of all genres so definitely check that out!
  • Request/auto download eARCs from NetGalley & Edelweiss and then please review the book afterward!
  • BookBub
  • (Literary) magazines

Someone also suggested some sites with unpublished (but pretty awesome) writing:

  • Figment
  • Wattpad
  • Swoonreads
  • Fictionpress
  • Fanfiction sites

Obviously, you may not be able to access a specific book you want but it’s also quite fun to find new books to read that you might otherwise not have read. When I got an iPod several years ago and found the free ebook section of the Apple store, I downloaded anything remotely interesting and ended up finding a couple faves! I understand it’s a bit hard not to read all the books you’d like but think of it as an opportunity to save money for later and read outside your comfort zone!

And that’s it for today! Thank you to everyone on Twitter for an awesome discussion and for the above alternatives! Now I’d love to hear YOUR thoughts on the issue and your experience(s) with it! Have you ever (unknowingly) pirated a book? If so, what was it that made you stop? Also, what do you think of the alternatives listed? Tell me in the comments below as I’d love to see what you think! Thank you, have a great day/night and tata for now!!

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6 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: How To Read Free Books LEGALLY

  1. People stealing textbooks really bothers me because 1) the fact that something is expensive is not an excuse to steal it and 2) they are expensive in part because people do not buy them. Textbooks are a niche market, often take many people to produce, and are generally written by people with doctorates. You are paying for labor and expertise. But no one is getting rich from poublishing textbooks. Also, the used book market has inflated prices. When you buy used textbook, the authors and publishers get ZERO profit from you. They price the books high in part because they need to make money from the one person who buys it new, knowing six other people may eventually use the book whom they will get NO profit from. Only college bookstores and sites like Amazon profit from used textbooks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interestingly, I stream movies all the time, but I’ve never done it with a book. I guess I’m lucky having such good libraries nearby, so I’ve never had to worry. I can understand it a bit more with textbooks, but never for anything else! Good to know there are so many alternatives though 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a bummer when you can’t get certain specific books because they’re just not offered through the library or for free or review copies or anything, but you’re right, there are so many that are! And just like you, when I was new to kindles and ebooks, I found the free section and downloaded a whole bunch of random books and also ended up finding some of my absolute favorites that way! The only problem with the free books is that you usually then have to pay for the rest of the series, but at least libraries often have whole series available 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a wonderful post! I never had the issue with buying books growing up – my mom was huge on reading, and she always bought tons of books. Of course, I usually ended up reading women’s fiction more than anything, but as I became a teenager I found myself drawn to other genres (it wasn’t until I reached adulthood that I fell in love with YA). I also live in a teeny tiny town with no bookshops (Barnes & Noble is about a two hour drive), and our library doesn’t have much in the way of offerings. But that really doesn’t make reading books for free okay, as you’ve stated. There are other ways to get books! NetGalley and Edelweiss are great ways to read the newest, upcoming reads, as well as share your thoughts with the bookish community, so it works out for more than one purpose.

    This post is wonderful, and it touches on a really hot issue in the reading community right now. It’s definitely something that every book lover should read, especially those who might get disappointed that they do not have access to purchasing books.

    Liked by 1 person

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