31 Days: How I Score Books and Magazines for Free {Day 16}

Welcome to 31 Days:The No Spend Month. If you are joining for the first time, you may want to start on Day 1.

I adore reading, it is possibly my most favorite thing to do. Books, magazines, pamphlets. You name it, I’ll read it. A few years ago, I spent $200 on magazines in one year. $200!

This year, I have spent NOTHING and yet, I have magazine subscriptions coming out of my ears: Better Homes & Gardens, Whole Living, Country Living, Outside, Parents, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and many more.

It’s the same with books: I’ve purchased about 200 books this year and only spent $95.  90 of those books were FREE.

Honestly, if you had told me this was possible a few years ago, I would not have believed you. Here’s how I do it:

Books

I got a Kindle Fire for birthday last year. Knowing that I’m an avid reader, my family thought it was the perfect gift.

It took me 2 months to open the box.

I had a stigma about reading a book made out of paper versus an electronic version.  But then I found eBooks. Hundred (thousands!) of them for FREE. I’ve downloaded about 100 books this year and 90% of them were free. The others were $1-3.

Kindle books are often free for a 24-48 hour promotional period. For example, 21 Days To A More Disciplined Life is currently just $0.99 until Oct 26.  Written by popular blogger, Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom, it’s got great reviews and under $1.

Because eBooks are often free or discounted for such a short period, the best way to find out about them is to follow a blog or two that highlights free eBooks. Here’s a few:

  1. Money Saving Mom
  2. Kohl’s Deals
  3. The Prudent Pantry
  4. Jungle Deals & Steals

Project Gutenberg has over 40,000 eBooks you can download for free. They are books that the copyright has expired. You can find classics like Moby Dick, Pride & Prejudice and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

If you don’t have a Kindle, you can still download and read Kindle eBooks on your smartphone, computer or tablet by downloading a free Kindle Reading app.

Another avenue for free books are libraries. I often reserve books ahead of time and we go a couple times a month.  Any books that we just love are purchased and added to our permanent library.

One of the ways I buy books at a super discount are library book sales. I discovered them this year and Oh.my.goodness. If you like to read or your kids like to read, bring a few reusable shopping bags (here’s one of my favorites) and LOAD up. I’m telling you, great books for just $0.25 – $1!

Finally, another way to score free books is through book reviews. I have done book reviews on Mommy Goes Green in the past and received a free book in exchange for my honest opinion.  Here are a few sites you can apply to for book reviews:

  1. Dorrance Book Review Team
  2. Book Browse
  3. BookSneeze – for bloggers
  4. Blogging for Books – for bloggers
  5. Tyndale – for bloggers
  6. Bethany House – for bloggers
  7. NavPress – for bloggers
  8. Wilbooks – for educators

Magazines

My coffee table is stacked with unread magazines. I’m behind on reading but no regrets because: 1. I don’t pay for them and 2. I pass them on to friends once I’m done.

Another discovery I made last year is that I don’t need to pay for magazine subscriptions anymore I get them for free so often that some of them have 3 or 4 years worth of free subscription on them.  Here’s a few ways I’ve been able to do that:

  1. Daily Deals – Occasionally, Daily Deal sites will have a deal on a magazine and I’ll use credit to purchase it. I recently bought two subscriptions using credits: National Geographic Jr. on Saveology and Outside magazine through The Clymb, a Daily Deal site for outdoor enthusiasts.
  2. Purchase Bonuses – I often shop online and when I’m checking out, I will get an offer for a free magazine subscription. One time I decided to take them up on their offer and lo and behold, I actually got the subscription without paying a dime.
  3. Rewards Gold and Mercury Magazines – These companies often give out free subscriptions to magazines in exchange for a variety of information. Sometimes you just provide your name and address. Other times you might fill out a survey. Honestly, I’ve never spent more than a few minutes filling out the forms for these. I currently have subscriptions to Martha Stewart, Country Living, Parents and several others, all received through this avenue. Right now, you can get the following magazines for free: Working Mother, Lego Club, Shape and Thriving Family.

How much do you think you’ve spent on books and magazines this year? Any other tips to score books and magazines for free?

 

Comments

  1. Oh, I love this! I review for Bethany and Waterbrook, but you had some great new ideas…and reminded me to return to BookSneeze. I get so many great free books on my Kindle too, by watching for those 24 hour deals. I love to read and love reading free books even more!

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