Avid readers can easily spend a fortune on print books, Ebooks, and audio books. So what’s a reader to do?
In the publishing industry there’s an open secret that authors need reviews. Even the big name authors of bestsellers count on reviews to sell books.
As a reader, you benefit from this need. Some of these methods and sources simply give books in trade for a review on certain social media or retail sites online. For the serious reviewer, you can earn money in addition to getting advance copies of books by bestselling authors and up-and-coming authors, but first you have to build up a reputation as a reader-reviewer. Here are three sources of FREE books given in the hope and expectation that you will review what you read.
To become a reviewer on NetGalley.com, it helps to have a review blog. If you have a long list of reviews you’ve posted on Amazon.com or another book retailer site, then be sure to note this when you sign up. They seek readers who can write coherent reviews that can be used in marketing soon-to-be released books.
Librarians, English teachers, booksellers, educators, journalists, bloggers, and others who recommend books to readers are ideal reviewers for NetGalley.
When you sign up, you choose which genres you prefer to read. You are notified when new titles pop up in your favorite genres and then you select the books you want to read.
Publishers make digital review copies and audio books available for the NetGalley community to discover, request, read, and review.
NetGalley sends out digital or audio books to reader/reviewers with a date when they’d like to have a review back. They also suggest the kind of information they want in the review, like theme and pacing, but no spoilers.
While this site doesn’t pay reviewers, the quality and volume of books available to review is impressive. Free Ebooks and audio books in trade for honest reviews make this a win-win for publishers and reviewers. And who knows? One of your reviews could end up in an advertisement or quoted in the front of a book! Some of my reviews have appeared in the marketing copy of books and as an author, I have used quotes from NetGalley reader-reviewers in my books.
If you live in Cambridge Massachusetts, they are hiring! For those outside Massachusetts, the BookBub community sends notices about free and deeply discounted books by publishers and notable indie authors and small presses.
You can get advance notice of books by genre and by particular authors you enjoy. For example, here’s my author page: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/joni-m-fisher
It shows my books, books I’ve reviewed, and authors I follow because I’m an avid reader.
Click here to see how it works: SHOW ME.
You can post reviews on the BookBub site and connect with other reviewers and authors about what they’re reading. This site is very influential in promoting books through their ads which reach thousands of readers by email.
Their popular blog includes “best of” lists and interviews with authors.
This site is like Facebook for readers. You can join online book clubs and reading groups, trade recommendations, vote on “best of genre” books, and post reviews. The real fun is their giveaways of print, audio, and Ebooks. The giveaway is managed lottery-style, so if John Grisham is giving away 10 copies of his new book, there could be hundreds of people putting their names in for them.
For example: From September 5 to 19, Kristin Hannah is gave away 100 print copies of The Four Winds which is being released in February 2021.
It is much easier to get copies of books by new and emerging authors in every genre than the big-name authors.
The print books aren’t as popular this year because of COVID-19, but hopes are the print giveaways will resume.
When you sign up for Goodreads, you can easily search for books you’ve already read and give them some stars and even review them if you want to. Frankly, I use it to keep track of what I’ve read so I don’t buy the same book in a series that I’ve already read. *sigh* Yes, I’ve done that more often than I want to admit.
In Goodreads, you have a newsy feed that shows the books liked, read, and reviewed by people you “friend” and authors you “follow.”
This site doesn’t pay for reviews, so the real draw is that the reviews come from readers of all walks of life.
Here’s one of my reviews: Nutshell by Ian McEwan.
This site also has a reading challenge in which you state how many books you plan to read in the year and it tracks your progress.
I use all three sites. Each one has its own style and community. All offer free books and BookBub also sends notices about discounted books as well.
And one more source of free books is Amazon.com. Once you have an Amazon account, download the Kindle app for free to your smart phone, tablet, and computer. Go to Amazon.com and search for “free classic kindle books” and choose any or all of the 40,000 books listed. Try it and be amazed. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be well-read. Children’s classics are among this list as well.
I was an avid reader long before becoming a published author. Free books? I’m all in!