Book Blog on a Budget: Obtaining Books

Blogging Tips and Tricks

Not enough money to buy a bunch of books?  No problem!  Below are some free and affordable options for obtaining books legally.

The Library

Getting Your Hands on a New Release

Place a hold Before the Release Date.

A short time before the book’s release date, check to see if it is in the library catalog.  It may not be listed as “available” but as something like “in processing” instead.  You can still place a hold.  Then you will (hopefully) be among the first to receive the book once it actually hits the shelves.

Put in a purchase request.

If you want a particular title, you can ask your library to purchase it–even if it has not been released yet.  They will then typically put you on hold automatically, so you should be the first to receive the book if and when it arrives.  (Note that libraries typically only purchase materials released in the past few years.)

Getting the Book When Your Home Library Doesn’t Own It

Use interlibrary loan.

If your library does not have the book you want, place an ILL.  The library will find a library that owns the book and they will mail it to you.  (Keep in mind that many libraries don’t ship off new releases.)

Request it from a Library in Your Local Library System.

If you don’t see the book you want at  your library, modify your search so you are capturing results from all libraries with which yours is affiliated.  You can then request the title and have it delivered for pick-up at your home library.  You can then return it to your home library, as well–no need for travel.

Check it out from a different local library.

If you go to a local library with your photo ID, proof of residency, and a card from your home library, you can check out books at a different library.  This should enable you to check out their new releases, since many libraries won’t give new titles to people who aren’t their patrons.  It will also allow you to check out their ebooks, so you don’t have to keep going back if you live far away.

Check it out from a different library in the state.

Some libraries offer a card to anyone who lives in the same state.  You typically apply online and receive the card in the mail.  Then you can access their e-books and other online resources.  The library may charge a fee or offer the card free free.  We have a partial list of libraries who offer cards to out-of-town residents here, but you  should go to the library website for all updated information.

Place a purchase request.

If your library does not own a book and it was published in the last few years, ask the to consider it for purchase.  They will typically put you on hold so you will receive the book first, should they choose to buy it for their collection.

Getting the Book When You Can’t Leave Home

See if YOu Can Apply for a Card Online.

Some libraries will allow you to apply for a card online.  You may have to show up in person, however, to receive full privileges and check out physical titles.  You can also see if another library in the state will mail you a card.  We have a partial list of libraries who offer cards to out-of-town residents here, but you  should go to the library website for all updated information.

Ask about Homebound Services.

Many libraries will deliver books to your door.   Simply tell them what you want and the titles comes to you!

Getting More Accessible Books

Books for Those with Vision Impairment

The Library of Congress will mail books in Braille and talking books to individuals with vision impairment.

Online Resources

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has thousands of titles including ones not in English.  If you live outside the U.S., you will have to check your country’s copyright laws before downloading, however.

Open Library

Open Library has thousands of books available in the public domain.  However, some libraries have also digitized their books and made them available to borrow.

Kindle Books

You don’t need a Kindle to download free or cheap Kindle books.  The Kindle app is available for  various devices including tablets, smartphones, and laptops.


Simon and Schuster puts some of their YA titles online to be read free and legally.

World Digital Library

The Library of Congress offers free access to thousands of primary materials in various languages.  You may not find the latest YA release here, but it is a cool collection.

The Way to Bea Boo Cover by Kat Yeh

Purchasing Books

Library Book Sales

These also support your local library!

Used Book Stores

If you can’t find a book online, you can check to see if your local used bookshop has any hidden gems.

Garage Sales

People tend to sell children’s books once their children are grown up so you might find some MG and YA if you check out community sales.

The Dragon with the Chocolate Heart Book Cover

Other Sources

Little Free Libraries

See if anyone in your community has a Little Free Library and then check out the selection.  You can give back by the community, too, by leaving a book of your own.  Or, if your community has no libraries or no Little Free Library, start your own Little Free Library!  Be the change you want to see!

Book Swaps

These are like Little Free Libraries, except workplaces tend to have shelves or baskets where you can leave a book and take a book.  You can also propose starting one in your workplace.

56 thoughts on “Book Blog on a Budget: Obtaining Books

  1. The Nerd Sponge says:

    Great post! Another source to add to the list is Overdrive/ Libby (Libby is the newer app). These apps are available to download on for Apple, Android and PC. They allow you to access your library’s ebook and audiobook book collection and download the titles on loan (so you can read them without wifi). This is great for international readers, provided they have a library card. I think they are also beginning to implement instant access to your library’s collection via your mobile number, for users without a library card. This may only be in the U.S. though.


    • Krysta says:

      Excellent point! E-books and online audiobooks are great because they return themselves! No overdue fees! Every library I’ve been a part of has used Overdrive. It really is a great resource!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jheelam says:

    Libraries are gold-mines for any book blogger. It’s sad that they are crumbling world-over because of lack of fund. These are some great tips. Thank you for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, my library faces the threat of a massive budget cut every year. It’s really only going so strong because the community is so dedicated to coming together to preserve it. I don’t think it would be where it is today if we just relied on the state and city governments to take care of it. :/


  3. ashley says:

    I love Project Gutenberg!! I use my libraries all the time. I have heard of Riveted but haven’t used it yet and I’m going to check out Open Library and World Digital Library.


    • Krysta says:

      I haven’t used Riveted yet, either, but last time I checked they had some good titles up.

      World Digital Library is more historical sources than popular titles, but I still thought it was really cool when I found it.


  4. Sammie says:

    This is a great post! I hadn’t thought of some of these. As someone mentioned, Overdrive is another great one if your library participates in eBooks. I have a teeny physical library, but it’s part of a statewide Overdrive group, so there are lots of eBook options. I also use NetGalley and Edelweiss a lot (too much, perhaps?).


    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, I think every library I’ve been a part of has used Overdrive for their e-resources. It’s a great resource!

      I thought about doing Netgally and Edelweiss, but then I thought if I expanded into ARCs the post would never end!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Krysta says:

      I’d never heard of Bookbub before! It seems from what I’ve read that they ask authors to deeply discount their works in order to see if they will sell. So I’m guessing there’s a number of self-published works there? It seems like bloggers who like indie authors might find this a useful resource, especially?


  5. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    This is wonderful Krysta! I utilize some of the above mentioned services. Particularly with the library. All libraries in the surrounding counties here are interconnected and you can request to have a book from one sent to the local for pick up and borrow. It is so nice! Only last year did I discover I could place holds on titles before release dates. Silly me 😉 We also have a bookmobile. I believe it still goes to the schools, but would have to check about home stops. Again, great post that will be so helpful to many!


  6. April says:

    I absolutely LOVE used book stores and especially garage sales that have tons of books! At the right garage sale I can walk off with a whole car load of books for like 10 bucks!


  7. Ikram Reads says:

    Great post! I love going to the library and also get most of my books from there or though overdrive so i can read them on my e-reader. I love used book stores, I rarely buy new books. 🙂


    • Krysta says:

      Yeah, Overdrive is great! And you can borrow Kindle books from the library with the Kindle app even if you don’t own a Kindle! It’s magical!


  8. Andie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is such a great post, and honestly one I definitely needed! So much useful information!! Thank you so much for writing this, it’s really helpful!


  9. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight says:

    I love that you included a section for how to get books if you can’t leave home. I *can* leave my house, but with my chronic illness, I would never have the energy to be constantly getting and returning physical books from the library (which is why I borrow ebooks), so that’s one of the things I think about when people automatically tell people to go to the library if they can’t afford books—that some people literally can’t, even if they live near one. That’s really cool that some libraries will bring the books to a person’s home! Anyway, you have a lot of great suggestions here that I haven’t seen in other places.


    • Krysta says:

      I think even libraries can sometimes do a better job at marketing their services. I didn’t realize until last year that my library offered homebound services. Now I’m wondering how many people in my city would take advantage of this–if they knew about it. If some of them don’t have Internet access, they can’t even stumble upon this information on the library website.


  10. Bieke Paesen (Quite The Novel Idea) says:

    Great tips! The problem for me is that my library has barely any English titles, let alone English YA titles that I haven’t read yet. And they don’t order those a lot or at all because not many people ask for them. So I have to make do with ARC’s and the occasional book I get as a gift. Or I purchase on Amazon or Bookdepository.


    • Krysta says:

      Yes, sadly not all libraries have equal funding or equal resources. I have been to libraries that were very small and offered fewer materials for only short lending periods and these were a bit of a disappointment to me. Still, I wanted to highlight different resources people might have access to but, of course, cannot guarantee that the post is equally applicable to everyone.


  11. Angela @ Angel's Guilty Pleasures says:

    Wonderful post with fabulous tips. I LOVE my library and I also host a Library Love Challenge each year to get more people to use their library. I use mine all the time, do requests for books that they may not have and keep an eye out for all the latest releases. I also love the book sale days they have and of course when I go in I stop at their little book store to see if their is anything I might want to buy.


    • Krysta says:

      That sounds like a great challenge! I think even frequent library users can be surprised by what their library has to offer. I’ve heard of cool libraries that offer anything from telescopes to cookware for patrons to borrow. And I love the libraries that have little stores! It’s a great way to support them and a great way to buy books cheaply.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Angela @ Angel's Guilty Pleasures says:

        I haven’t heard of the cookware, but our library has computes & iPads to borrow. They also have a 3D printer you can use. So, ya library’s do have a lot of cool things to check out, if you take the time to stop and visit. I do love the book store and that all the purchase go to support the library. ^_^


        • Krysta says:

          Ooh! That’s so cool! I’m not sure if my library has a 3D printer yet. I know that’s the next big thing for libraries, along with VR, but I’m guessing they’ll keep it for programming if they do get one. :/


  12. Katie @ Read-at-Home Mom says:

    What an informative and helpful post! I love Open Library and use it all the time. I also use the Kindle app a lot, both for cheap/free books available on Amazon and for books from Overdrive. And when I do buy books, it is almost always at used bookstores and sales – often ones that benefit my local libraries.


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