How to Get Free (or Cheap), New Ebooks

March 8, 2016 - Kindle Unlimited

The ebook pricing wars are (in theory) over, but who won? Probably not a consumers, who approaching reduce prices or a magic cost indicate of $9.99. The Wall Street Journal final fall found that ebook sales dipped after publishers hashed out a understanding that let them equivocate ebook discounts on sites like Amazon.

We’re here to help you, the readers. Maybe not a readers who consider $2.99 or even 99 cents is too many for a book. They need a unrelenting harangue about how costs are not simply about digital distribution—there are editors and artists and authors who need to be paid to keep this whole novel thing going. However, we do wish readers to read, even a latest from a big-name edition houses. There are copiousness of new, complicated ebooks out there accessible for free or damn close. Here are some options to try, from subscription services to a process that’s as aged as a book itself: libraries.

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Subscription Services

Oyster was one of a initial ebook subscription services. But after usually a few years of perplexing to be a “Netflix of Books,” it shut down in early 2016. Oyster’s many approach foe was Scribd, and it’s still in business. 


It’s come a prolonged approach from simply being a hosting site for documents. But in a arise of Oyster’s shutdown, Scribd changed adult a devise a bit. Now, instead of total entrance to all Scribd has to offer for $8.99 per month (after a 14-day giveaway trial), members usually get unlimited entrance to Scribd Selects, a rotating collection of books and audiobooks, any month, plus three books and one audiobook of your choice from Scribd’s full library of books, audiobooks, comics, documents, and piece music.

Speaking of comic books, Marvel has a possess total digital comic book service, Marvel Unlimited, that is labelled during $9.99 a month (or $69 a year). For that we can entrance over 17,000 behind issues, saving and reading adult to 12 comics during a time on a smartphone or inscription regulating iOS or Android. The apps are powered by Comixology’s intelligent panel-by-panel reading, that is a vastly improved reading knowledge than comics on Scribd (especially on a smartphone rather than a tablet). Chances are slim you’ll find any Marvel book on Scribd that isn’t here—but Scribd’s not limited to usually Marvel.

Never to be outdone, of march launched a aspirant called Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99 a month (after 30-day giveaway trial) we get entrance to 1 million titles on all Kindle devices/apps to review as many as we want. It also extends to some audiobooks, and a audio and content can sync to a final place we listened/read regulating a Whispersync for Voice feature. It also works with upheld books on a Amazon-owned app—you usually have to find books that contend “Kindle Unlimited with narration” in a blurb. The problem is, Amazon’s attribute with a large 5 publishers is so bad, we don’t get many of a selection.

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon also has a Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for those who 1) possess a Kindle or Fire Tablet (it doesn’t work on a Kindle apps) and 2) allow to Amazon Prime, a $99-per-year use that offers adult giveaway two-day shipping and total streaming of Amazon Prime Video; it supposedly has about 300,000 titles. Finding a finish inventory on a Kindle itself is doable, though not on a Web. Here’s a direct link to a Lending Library. Click categories on a left to slight a selection. Click on a book outline and endorse that it says Prime Borrow for Free—you’ll still need to go behind to your Kindle device to squeeze it for a steal period. You can steal one book per calendar month.

(For some-more on Marvel Unlimited and other digital comics options, review Everything You Need to Know About Digital Comics.)

The problem with roughly all of these services is a loiter of time between a recover of a book (or audiobook or comic book) and removing it digitally. It could be months, infrequently years. How do we get a newer things though creation a purchase? Like we used to in a pre-digital age: go to a library.

OverDrive and Your Own Public Library

The subscription services above are one thing, though even with a million books, that’s insignificant compared to OverDrive’s claim of “2 million reward digital titles from some-more than 5,000 publishers.” More importantly, it links to 30,000 libraries, schools, and colleges opposite a globe. Meaning, your device has entrance to digital book collections during a internal library, and maybe some not so local. As prolonged as we can get borrowing privileges—aka, get a library card—you can hunt that library on OverDrive if it’s affiliated.

(Last year, OverDrive was acquired by Rakuten—the Japanese association that took over years ago—but OverDrive will continue to be operated alone from

You have a integrate of options with OverDrive. Go directly to a site and pointer up, or entrance it around links from your possess open library’s site. You need to record in twice—once to OverDrive, afterwards again for your library. All we had to do was lift out my reliable library label and enter a array to get a digital comment with a Tompkins County Public Library (my dear internal library). Once logged in, we went to a “digital downloads” territory for “eBooks and eAudiobooks” and a site links took me directly to a Finger Lakes Library System—powered by OverDrive. Once we had an OverDrive account, we related it to my TCPL account, and combined some other libraries we competence after search.

OverDrive bookshelf- Harry Potter

There’s an OverDrive app, giveaway for iOS, Android, and many more devices. Even from that, we could get into my comment and demeanour for books.

It’s a zephyr to demeanour adult titles, including new releases (I went for Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel, Make Me). we put a reason on a pretension so when it comes available, I’ll be told and can afterwards steal it to review on my Kindle inclination and apps. (Sadly, there are 15 people forward of me on a reason list. So it competence be a while. It pays to devise forward on renouned books.) There’s an choice to set adult an “Auto checkout” so a notation a book is accessible it’ll be checked out to you. Borrowers get a max of 21 days to review it (it competence change per title), and can check out 3 titles during once.

Why a wait for something digital? Because this is all above house and legal. The library purchases legal copies of a ebook and loans them out as it does legally purchased imitation copies.

OverDrive bookshelf- DownloadOnce we steal a book on OverDrive, it’s placed on your account’s practical bookshelf. Access it by clicking a Account icon. You’ll perspective a list of your books with a choice to review it in your browser (if allowed…it isn’t an choice on Harry Potter books), or download it.

Your options for download borrowing: get a Kindle Book, or download an EPUB eBook. The former shunts we directly to, where we get a page observant “Get your Digital Library Loan.” It’ll uncover we a death date, let we select that Kindle device or app to send it to, and with a click of a “Get Library Book” button, it’s prepared to read.

Why no Nook or Kobo or other reader? Because, we substantially possess a Kindle. That’s usually how it is. Hey, don’t get your book spines in a split: it’s also since Kindles have their possess format. OverDrive does support Nook and Kobo around a OverDrive apps and a latter download choice of EPUB eBooks downloads.

EPUB is an giveaway and open customary for ebooks. OverDrive’s choice isn’t open. The EPUB eBooks choice is a approach download of a ACSM file—that’s an Adobe format with Digital Rights Management (DRM) attached, to forestall reading past a lending deadline. Open a record right adult in a OverDrive apps, or regulating Adobe Digital Editions for Windows or Mac, that can also send a record to other ereaders. It’s all flattering convoluted, and another good pointer of DRM punishing a end-user while safeguarding a publisher, or, in this case, a library. (For that reason only, it’s sufferable here.)

OverDrive AudiobookDownloading/borrowing a book means a “return title” symbol disappears from your practical bookshelf on OverDrive. You can still conduct a lapse before a finish of your lending duration with some titles. Go to a Kindle Digital Library Loan page for a book; there’s a couple to lapse it. Other inclination make it a small harder and you’ll substantially usually wait until a finish of a 21-day duration for it to disappear.

The use also offers audiobooks galore from a OverDrive Listen service, that has a possess streaming audiobook actor that plays by Web browsers, even on mobile devices. If we use a OverDrive mobile app, it offers we a audiobook to listen to around a browser, or as an MP3 played in a app. It’s indeed a array of MP3. When we downloaded The Drop by Michael Connelly, an 11.5-hour audiobook, it was 9 apart files, any about 35MB in size. The app easily organizes them by chapters, even display how prolonged any will last. Like Audible and Scribd, it has good forward/reverse skip buttons for when we need to go behind a few seconds, and can play audio during adult to 2x a speed. Make that 11-hour book final a small 5.5 hours! Return an eAudiobook early in a OverDrive app by going to a All Titles bookshelf section; there’s a lapse choice on any borrowed book. Once returned, a MP3 files get deleted from a app.

One thing we won’t be borrowing during OverDrive however: comic books. For those, got to a internal library and see if they’ve got a striking novel selection.

It’s still a watchful diversion for a positively newest items—assuming your library even bought them to loan out. That’s where accessing mixed libraries is key. For example, did we know that each singular chairman who lives or works or goes to propagandize or pays skill taxation in New York State is authorised to get a library label for a New York Public Library? Even visitors to a state can request for a temp card. Cards expire, though can after be renewed around your new online comment with a NYPL. It’s probably/hopefully identical with vital city libraries in other states.

Now you’ve got a tricks—and hopefully a patience—to wait for a latest, biggest books to come to we (or be sought out), for no cost (or comparatively close). Even if you’re still going to squeeze those we can’t wait for, these services should fill a rest of your digital bookshelf in no time.

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