There are two things in this world that I truly love: books, and free stuff. Any time I’m able to combine those two traits into one compact thing, I’m a happy camper. As college students, I’m sure you can all appreciate opportunities to obtain things without having to pay for them.
My love for books also presents a conundrum for me: do I bring my entire library with me when I travel, or do I buy something for my Kindle? I actually prefer reading on my Kindle, but I prefer owning the physical copy of the book – I really don’t want to spend money on a digital book when a physical version of it exists. In an effort to satisfy my need to both read on my Kindle and not spend money doing it, I have found several (legal) sources that provide well-written eBooks for the low, low price of nothing:
If you have a library card, OverDrive is an app that will change your life. When I first learned that public libraries also allowed you to check out eBooks, it blew my mind. When you download the app, you find your library and sign in. From there, you can search for the book you want to download and then choose how you want to read it. Personally, I opt to have it download to the Kindle app on my phone because I prefer that interface, but you can also read it directly through the OverDrive app. The selection can be a little sparse, but I guarantee you that you’ll find something you enjoy regardless.
Tor.com’s eBook of the Month Club
Tor Publishing is a publishing company that focuses primarily on science-fiction and fantasy genres. They recently started an online “book club” where they will send you a free eBook every month – the only stipulation is that you have to sign up for their newsletter. I was already signed up when the book club started (because I’m a nerd), so it didn’t bother me, but that could be a turn-off for some people. The newsletter generally consists of recent blog posts on popular shows, books, and other media, and I actually enjoy reading those as well. Some of the previous books that were available for download include Shadows of the Moon by Steve Erikson, Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear, and Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe. The eBook is only available for a few days at the beginning of each month – once the download period is ended, you’ll need to wait for the next month.
Some of the Best from Tor.com
So obviously I have a thing for Tor.com. Sue me. They’re a great company. Anyway, Tor publishes a new anthology at the start of each year, consisting of the best short stories they have published on their website that year. These are available for download year-round, so previous editions can be obtained in addition to the current issue. Each anthology is fairly lengthy, and while not every short story is something I would classify as “amazing,” it’s still worth picking up.
And finally, the classics. That’s right, all those books you were forced to read by your high school English teachers can be found for free online. Personally, I liked A Tale of Two Cities, so having an archive of books which are considered to be the epitome of literature available for free is a blessing. When all else fails, just hit up whichever digital store you prefer and see what they are offering for free – you’ll be surprised at what will turn up.