How to Read Books on a Budget Legally

The ultimate guide to reading books on a budget; free books, cheap books and books with free shipping. Learn about Kindle deals fast and buy cheap e-books

Reading books is a wonderful part of life. Sometimes though, books can be too expensive to buy (when compared to actual necessities). Downloading books from illegal sites online is however not the right thing to do. It hurts hardworking authors, agents, editors and publishers.

So, why not use other websites where you can get books at much cheaper prices or even, for free?

**Full Disclosure: We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.


Amazon and Barnes & Noble are the top places to buy physical books online but their shipping prices can be soooo high. An alternative to them is buying from places that offer free shipping or in some cases, used books (in good condition) at reduced prices.

1. Book Depository

Book Depository (or BD as it is usually called) is the most popular site to get free shipping on books. Many of the prices are also discounted and there’s a Bargain Shop where you can find books at the best deals! Their books are in all categories like art, fiction, children’s books, young adult and even textbooks and medical texts. At the time of posting, they’ve also got awesome Black Friday deals you can check out. BD offers free shipping to about 120 countries worldwide.

2. Book Outlet

Book Outlet is a very popular place to get books at cheaper prices. They offer new books (in many genres) at much more reduced prices and they’ve got a Sale section where books are sold at 79 – 96% off their normal list prices! I know… TOTALLY AMAZING! There’s also a Scratch-and-Dent section for books which are not in perfect condition. If you don’t mind that, I encourage you to check it out. They’re really cheap! Book Outlet also offers a 10% student discount online with Student Beans πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ Book Outlet ships to about 80 countries worldwide and there’s free shipping to the US and Canada on orders over $35.

3. Thrift Books

Thrift Books is an online bookseller which sells used books. The books are in various genres (of course πŸ˜‰) and you can vary the condition (and price) of the book you intend to buy from β€œacceptable” (which has the lowest price) through β€œgood” to β€œnew” (highest price). Books with the acceptable label may be 50% off the normal list price. There’s also a section called ThriftbookDeals where you can save 10% on specific books. Teachers and educators (πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ) have 15% discount code on all used class sets. Thrift Books offers free shipping to the U.S on orders of $10 and above and shipping to many other countries worldwide.

Related: Top Books You Should Read at Least Once in your Life!

4. Better World Books

Better World Books offers millions of used books at bargain prices with free shipping. The books are available in lots of categories, for different age groups and in different languages. Many of them are in good or very good condition. They also offer deals, coupons and promotions on their books. Better World Books ships worldwide.

5. Wordery

Wordery is another online bookstore which offers free shipping to about 100 countries worldwide. The books range in many categories and there’s a special section for educational books. However, all Wordery books are new and their prices can be very expensive.

6. Alibris

At Alibris, you can buy new and used books in all genres and you can even filter by bestsellers. There’s a Bargains section where you can save up to 80% on new releases and classics and my personal fave; a section where you can find books as low as $0.99. The books are from different sellers and they range in condition and price from used to new. Alibris ships to over 180 countries worldwide and they offer free shipping on orders of certain books over $39 in the U.S.

7. Goodreads Giveaways

If you’re living in the U.S, Goodreads giveaways are a great way to get free books. All you do is sign up and enter. Thousands of people enter these giveaways though so in order for you to win, you have to enter a lot of them.


If you’re not that interested in physical books, e-books are a great way to read books for cheap. I mean, very very cheap. E-books are much cheaper than physical books and when they go on sale, they can go for as low as $0.99 or even absolutely free! E-books in all genres are generally found on Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble’ Nook, Kobo, iTunes Books and Google Play Books. When an author or publisher puts a book on sale, it’s usually on sale across all the e-shops.

There’s just one problem; how do you know when books are on sale? Don’t worry. I’m here to help with that!

8. Bookbub

Bookbub is an AMAZING site where you can get notified of e-book deals, free ebooks and author recommendations. When you sign up with your email, you choose the types you’d like to get notified about β€” with categories ranging from mysteries to romance to cookbooks β€” and they send you great deals in those genres! The free ebooks are available on all devices including Kindle, Nook, iPad and Android. If you’re a Kindle-only person, they’ve got you covered with the Free Kindle Books section πŸ˜‰ If you don’t want to subscribe, you don’t have to. Just check the site anytime you want to buy or read a book. All the deals are available on the site.

Related: 30 Most Anticipated Books of 2020!

9. Bookperk

Bookperk is another great website which is similar to Bookbub. By signing up, you get e-book deals daily in your mail and a free e-book just for signing up! You also get notified of opportunities to win free books. The Bookperk website doesn’t have lists of e-book deals though. You have to sign up.

10. Bargain Booksy

Bargain Booksy is another great website where you are informed of the best deals on cheap books and ebooks. You get great deals on lots of books including best-selling books! You’re also informed of when the deals are available so that you can buy the books before the deal ends. You can filter the books according to the genres you like on the website or by signing up with your email.

11. Wattpad

If you don’t mind largely unpublished books and if you like supporting upcoming writers, Wattpad is the place to be. People write their stories and publish them on Wattpad for free so that others can read them and comment/ constructively criticise. A lot of the popular books are even so good that they get published!

Honorable Mention

12. Twitter

Hear me out first πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Twitter is actually a great way to hear about book deals and book giveaways. If you’re quite active on Twitter, take a few minutes to search β€œbook giveaway” and enter some of them you’re interested in. Usually, all you have to do is retweet the tweet and follow the person hosting the giveaway. A lot of the giveaways are usually international and are for physical books or e-books.

NOTE: I don’t advise you to create a giveaway account that’s solely for entering giveaways. Giveaway accounts are usually banned from entering.

And that’s it for the list! You can buy lots of books if you’re on a budget using this article. Don’t forget to share to your family and friends as a hint for upcoming Christmas gifts! πŸ˜‰

How do you read or buy books if you’re on a budget? Do you use any of these websites? What do you think of them? Let’s discuss!

My Favorite Reads of 2020 so far! (Swipe to view)

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56 thoughts on “How to Read Books on a Budget Legally

  1. Rachael Hope says:

    So many amazing resources here I love it πŸ™‚ you are so right about getting content illegally, it might seem great because it’s free, but some hardworking creative is short changed! Thanks for sharing! Rach πŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taiwo says:

      There are LOTS of places to get books from online. I’m glad you found some of them through my post 😊 Supporting authors should be a must all the time and I really wanted to highlight that.
      Thanks for visiting my blog Chloe! πŸ’•πŸ’ž


    1. Taiwo says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Libraries are great but there are always other alternatives πŸ˜‰ I hope you enter some of those giveaways and win! I’ve heard they’re really hard to win. Just enter a lot at a time πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Arla Grasser says:

        Thank you for your lists of Book Sellers! I have used a couple of the sites and been delighted by what I have ordered and read! It is great to have more options…thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. arteriarichardson says:

    I love this post. I love to read and sometimes the books I want to read are very exspensive . I will definitely bookmark this. This is very helpful thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Claire says:

    This is such a great post, and so important! Piracy of books really does hurt the industry, because authors make pennies on each copy.

    In the UK you can also request books and ebooks from your local library – most libraries are part of a network so if the branch nearest doesn’t have it, they can usually get it from another one in their area. And authors get money from libraries for lending!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Taiwo says:

      Yes, I know about libraries. The problem is that many countries don’t have good libraries and I wanted a post to encompass as many people as possible ☺
      Thanks for checking out my blog!


  4. Bookworms corner blog spot says:

    Living in the UK I was really irritated when Goodreads stopped other countries from entering the competitions.
    We don’t have many of the above suggestions in the UK but Charity shops are great for books, and I use our library to take out books and also, they sell off books that they are no longer keeping and I have had some real bargains from there.
    Amazon has books some great books that are completely free. Often authors have their first in series free too.


  5. Ruby's Books says:

    So many amazing sites and ideas, Taiwo! I personally love BookBub and Freebooksy. I also sometimes hear about various deals and sales from instagram. There’s a lot of awesome people there that share whenever they find books on sale on kindle.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bewitched Reader Book Blog says:

    Wonderful tips! I also love browsing my local thrift stores, like Goodwill, for used books. Local libraries can be a great resource. Especially since most now use the Libby and Hoopla apps for checking out e-book and audio books.


  7. Christina - Recipe & A Read says:

    I love to get most of my books from the local library. There are some I’ll purchase because I feel like they’re gonna be amazing and I want to own them but my library also tracks how much you save and it’s like THOUSANDS of dollars! Great post!!


  8. Melanie (TBR and Beyond) says:

    This is a fantastic post, such good information. I see people mentioning the library, which is great but lots of people don’t have that option in their area or don’t have the means to get there. I think these are amazing other options to keeping your budget down. I never know if Bookoutlet saves me any money though because I am so weak when it comes to that site and buy all the books lolol

    Liked by 1 person

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