Summer is officially here. It’s a great time to sit back at the beach and enjoy a good read. But at prices as high as $15 a pop, a summer’s worth of e-books can get real expensive real quick.
The good news: There are plenty of places to find great e-books for free or at significant discounts. Here are some of our favorite places to go for summer reading on the cheap.
Your Local Library
The best place to start for free books is your local library, and the same holds true for e-books. The vast majority of libraries now offer popular e-book titles to borrow, just like their hardcovered cousins. To find out what books are available near you, either visit your library in person or search online using the OverDrive website at overdrive.com.
Free is hands down my favorite price for books, and few places offer more free books without subscription or commitment than Project Gutenberg. The non-profit is full of approximate 46,000 public domain titles from authors like Shakespeare, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jane Austin and F. Scott Fitzgerald. If you’ve ever wanted to check out a classic novel, Project Gutenberg (gutenberg.org) is a great place to start.
Kindle Lending Library
If you’re already a member of the $99-per-year Amazon Prime premium service, then you already have access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The service now contains over 500,000 e-books, including the entire Harry Potter series and a number of other New York Times best sellers. They’re not all top-tier reads, but they are free for Kindle owners to download and try.
Kindle Daily Deals
Like most major bookstores, Amazon has a sale section too. Before you pay full price for an e-book, check out Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals where you can find titles for teens and adults priced between 99 cents and $3.99. There’s a little bit of everything to discover from historical biographies to mystery novels to light summer romance fare. And if you don’t like what’s currently available, check back tomorrow – the deals are updated every day.
Samsung Galaxy S5
If you picked up Samsung’s newest flagship smartphone, then you’ve also picked up access to a free rotating selection of e-books via Kindle for Samsung. You get four “prominent” books to choose from every month on your Samsung Galaxy S5, up to a total of 12 per year. There’s no telling if you’ll want to read the limited selection, but hey – free is free.
Oyster and Scribd
If you’re the type of person who craves new reads rather than re-reading old favorites – or if you just blaze through a ton of books each month – then you’re a perfect candidate for Oyster and Scribd. Both are relatively new subscription services, something akin to a Netflix for books. The services have access to approximately half-a-million titles each, including e-books from top publishers HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. In short: Even the pickiest reader is guaranteed to find something worth their time.
New members get a free month of service on both Oyster and Scribd, allowing you to get through prime summer vacation season without spending a dime. After the free trial, Oyster costs $9.95 per month; Scribd is $8.99 but with approximately 100,000 fewer titles. You can check out Oyster by visiting oysterbooks.com and Scribd at scribd.com.
[Woman with e-reader at the beach via Shutterstock]