Since Covid-19 has caused all the schools to close and many libraries too, what’s a mom to do when she’s trying to get her kids to read but books are limited and you don’t want to spend a fortune at Amazon? Don’t worry- I’ve got you! Below are ten ways to get free or cheap physical books, e-books or audio books.
(Incidentally, Janssen at everyday-reading.com also came out with a list similar to this that I just found out about. Great minds think alike! Go check out her list that has several resources I was not familiar with.)
If you need book title suggestions, I have a whole bunch for you here.
Free Physical Books
1. Other Homeschooling Moms
If you have a friend who homeschools, she likely has her own library- seriously. If you both have healthy families, ask if you can borrow some books and other learning aids. Her family might not be using them or has maybe grown tired of them. She can just put them on her porch and you can pick them up. Problem solved!
2. Your Library
Many libraries are still taking calls. Call or check their website for access to e-books. It’s likely that they have a lot available and can help you figure out the technology part.
There are a few ways to get free e-books on Amazon. You can read them with a free Kindle app on any device, or you can get a dedicated Kindle (which are on a great sale right now!) to read them on.
3. Classics from the Public Domain on Amazon
Books that are in the public domain (meaning they are quite old) are free, which is awesome! Classics are hands down THE BEST way to learn. They often get pooh-poohed, but they are so rich and so wonderful for discussions. When it comes to vocabulary and sentence structure, they can’t be beaten! They might seem a little slow at first- but hang in there! Most are well worth the read. I’ve got some searches for free classics here and here. (These searches are never foolproof, a few weirdies got mixed in, but most of them are titles or authors you will be familiar with.)
A LOT of us already have Amazon Prime. But did you know that Prime has a TON of free books and magazines? It’s true! And there are a lot of popular titles if you just want something fun to read.
If you haven’t signed up for Amazon Prime yet, they will give you 30 days free, here. (Make sure to put an alert on your calendar to remind you to cancel.) I decided to cancel just recently on a business account I have, and they offered to give me an extension- so you can get a couple of months for free! Hopefully, that will see you through most of this rough time, but if not, it’s only $5.99/month – much lower than the price of an average book. Plus, there are all the other benefits that come with it! If you decide to sign up now (for free) you get a $5 credit when you select your first free book. Sweet!
Kindle Unlimited will also give you a free month here! Otherwise, it’s $9.99,/month, but the amount of books that are available is exhaustive! Not only do you get unlimited books and magazines to read, but you ALSO get unlimited books to listen to. Of course, not every Amazon book is available, and not all of them are awesome, but a whole lot are!
This is an amazing archive of books gathered by a dedicated homeschooler. All are online and most are able to be printed out. That way, if you don’t want your kids spending lots of time looking at a screen, this offers great flexibility! Also includes lots of valuable out-of-print titles. Additionally, I love the categorization made available if you want to study a specific topic. To top it off, she even has a podcast available where she discusses various books and how to best use them.
These offerings are a bit more limited, but I love how easy to read the books are and they would be easy to print off as well.
I love the generosity that is everywhere right now! Audible has opened a new site, https://stories.audible.com/start-listen , where audio books are FREE. Listen from any computer or device with an internet browser. Learn all the how-tos here. Books range from pre-school to teens to classics.
Just click on a book to start listening. Super easy! (Note: the narrators on here are pretty hit and miss. Don’t expect professional performances.)
This is a paid subscription, but if you sign up, you get 60 days free! (Cancel any time.) I absolutely love it and use it all the time. They rotate books, but you can use an UNLIMITED amount of audio AND e-books for $8.99/month. I really like their selections as well. For my family’s lifestyle, this is the most bang for our buck, as we like to both read and listen. Remember- you can sign up for free and get 60 days- hopefully long enough for us to weather this Covid-19 mess.
There you have it! Let me know in the comments if this helps or if you have any other ways to get cheap or free books!