The Best Places To Find Cheap And Free Books

The Best Places To Find Cheap And Free Books

Information is power — and reading more enhances your knowledge and the connections your brain makes between the things you learn. Even so, books cost money. Your budget may not be as flexible as you’d like, but even on a lean budget you can read more. Here’s how.

Photos by Rodrigo Galindez, twechy, Steve Snodgrass, Christopher, Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Start With Your Local Library and Sites with Free Ebooks

The Best Places to Find Books at a Bargain (or For Free)

These two options are the most obvious ones, but also the most powerful. Libraries are always free, so as long as you can keep track of due dates you can explore as much as you want. You can also borrow ebooks for free at libraries.

As well, there are thousands of free ebooks available on Project Gutenberg. You could also use UPenn’s search engine for classics in ebook format.

Finally, try Wattpad, a community of readers and writers that share (mostly fiction) stories. There are a lot of stories by amateurs and hobbyists, but you can also find work by authors like Margaret Atwood, Tucker Max and James Altucher. You can download the Wattpad mobile apps for iOS and Android to read on-the-go and without an internet connection.

Find Great Used Book Stores

The Best Places to Find Books at a Bargain (or For Free)

Charity stores often have great books at bargain prices. The key is to shop in upscale neighbourhoods — that will give you a better choice of titles. If you’re looking online, local blogs and communities also have lots of threads and posts highlighting people’s favourite used bookstores. When you buy books, you allow yourself the freedom to write in margins and make notes. You can also trade these books with other people to get ones you haven’t read before.

Swap Books Online

The Best Places to Find Books at a Bargain (or For Free)

If you’re done with a book and see no reason to keep it, you can swap it with other people online. We’ve previously looked at services like BookMooch and PaperBackSwap. You can also use WhatsOnMyBookshelf. These services typically have a pretty wide selection. Remember, there’s a level of scarcity on these sites — so you should act fast if you find a book you like. Otherwise, someone else may pick up what you’re interested in.

Should you have any unread books at home, or if you plan to go to used bookstores, keep your eyes peeled for the most demanded books on these sites so that you can swap them for ones you want to read.


  • Or, if you want to buy new, try the excellent Australian site Price comparison data from all major online retailers worldwide including shipping cost.

    Also good for a look is I’ve bought quite a few secondhand titles from them. They are more of an aggregation service for small second hand dealers and charities. Particularly good if you want something rare or out of print (like classic sci fi from the 60s, 70s and 80s).

    Also, note that buying books from the UK to ship to Oz is relatively cheap on postage due to the Royal Mail not charging an arm and a leg to ship to the ‘ex-colonies’ for a small package.

  • Thanks for that, mrxion…. found a new source for cheap books that I hadn’t been aware of, and also learnt about the cheap shipping from UK to Australia. And I second the reco on abebooks. They have a HUGE catalog.

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