How To Get Free Books To Read And Review

If you’re looking for how to get free books for review, if you have a book reviewing blog started (or you’re thinking of starting one), you’ve come to the right place.

There are thousands of books written on every topic known to man (or woman). Regardless of your interest or hobby, you will find plenty of reading material through books, be it on fiction or non-fiction topics. And if you’re one of the folks who also love to put their thoughts about the read book on paper so to speak, you will soon realize that buying every single book you want to read will become impossible, unless you are a wealthy millionaire.

free booksimage source

So the question is, how do you get all the books you want to feed your brain?

Well, it depends on whether you only want to read them, or also review them somewhere – like on your blog.

Getting books to read without having to review them

If you only want to read the books and be done with them, a great way to go about obtaining them is to join one of the free book trading/swapping sites such as Bookmooch, which is open to anyone regardless of the country they live in, or Paperbackswap, which is open only to folks in the US.

To join these sites you do need to have some books at home that you are willing to give away to good homes. By giving books to people who want them, you obtain points that allow you to get books that you want to read instead. All you need to pay in cash – literally – is the shipping cost of your book to the new reader’s home. When someone sends you a book, they pay for shipping the book to you.

Here are a few more book trading sites to check out, they are all free to join:

Read it Swap it – open for the readers in the UK

Bookcrossing – this site is part trading site, but book release site. It has a really cool concept and I’ve been a member from the very beginning

Getting free books to read and review

If you like reading and writing, and want to let the world know about what you thought after reading a particular book, you can get access to literally thousands of free books to review from various publishers. That’s right, these books are free for the taking, but there is a caveat – you do need to review the said books and let the publishers know of your reviews as well.

For them is a win situation because their writers get the much-needed attention via the bloggers who spread the word about the books they’ve read.

And for you it is also a win situation because you no longer have to spend your hard earned cash to read the books your soul craves. Especially when you read at least a book a week, which could add up to a small fortune over a whole year if you’d have to actually buy them.

Now before you get super excited about the endless possibilities of reading to your heart’s content, there are a few things you need to know, things that most publishers will want from you before they hand over your free copy.

First of all, you will need a website where you write your review – preferably on its own domain, but Blogger or WordPress blogs are ok as well. Personally I do prefer to have full control over my site, so I ended buying my own domain, Mystery Sequels to review books about mystery and suspense.

And this brings us to the second point – your blog should be focused on a particular topic (niche as we call it online). A blog called Reading Books where you review mystery novels, romance novels, biographies and cook books as well, might not grant you as many free books from publishers as a blog focused on let’s say mystery novels only – or urban fantasy, or cookbooks only – or only book on self-help. You get the idea.

Such a smaller purpose blog will give you a more targeted set of visitors who love reading a particular genre of books. A very generalist blog will have a very chaotic readership with more new readers than those coming back. For example let’s say you wrote a book review on the life of Napoleon. Someone who is a Napoleon fanatic – or loves the history of France, noticed your link in Google and followed your review – and maybe even bought the book you recommended. Heck, he might even subscribe to your newsletter.

The problem is when he comes next time to your blog to see what else you’ve written on the topic, only to see a book review about Dracula the vampire. He will be the first to unsubscribe from your blog and you’ve lost him pretty much forever, simply because he doesn’t care about Dracula and he can’t find anything else on your blog that interests him – namely Napoleon and the history of France.

And publishers don’t like that very much in a blog.

Third, your blog should be pretty active and you should write reviews and ramblings about books fairly regularly. Noone will visit a blog where the last post was made 23 months ago.

In addition many publishers like to see that your blog has a following, and you will be granted access to free books more often if you also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account that you are using to spread the word about your book reviews.

And finally, many book publishers like to see the number of your blog visitors (blog traffic) so that they know that what you write will reach a lot of people. If noone’s reading your blog, or if it’s too new to have any number of visitors, their free copy given to you is pretty much wasted.

Some sites will give you free book copies even without most of the points above met. However the more serious publishers (who really have the best books from great authors under their belt) will want to give books to bloggers who show that they are serious about their blogging business.

And now for the fun part, the places where you can request books to read. I am only using 2 or 3 of these sites and I already have more books than I can read. And yes, I still buy books to read and review, I do like to support authors, even if the bought book is only one in every 3-4 books that I read.

NetGalley – this was the first site that I joined and got free books from in exchange for an honest review. I still love it and peruse its shelves on a weekly basis. It has books on every topic you might want to, fiction and non-fiction.

Bethany House – this is a site that I haven’t used yet, but I intend to soon. They offer print copies to the US and Canada only, but ebook versions can be obtained internationally – since I am living in Cyprus, Europe, that’s pretty much the way I get my books from publishers, either in ePub, .Mobi (Kindle) or pdf format. I can read on my iPad any of these formats without a problem.

Hayhouse Book Nook – I love Hayhouse, I bought from them many books on self-help, spirituality and more esoteric topics. I don’t have a blog on those topics, but if you do, this is a great place to get free reading and reviewing copies of some of your favorite books.

Edelweiss – this is another favorite place of mine to peruse books. The layout is just a bit less user-friendly than that of NetGalley, but they have a great book selection to peruse.

GoodReads – I love Goodreads, I am a member from 2008 if I remember correctly. It is a wonderful social networking site for book lovers of all genres, and something that not everyone knows about – where you can obtain free ARC copies of books. Just check the Giveaways on a regular basis and you might see something that you’d like to read and qualify for shipping to as well.

Story Cartel – You get here several topics to choose from when you joint his site for free books to read and review

Tyndale Blog Network – I haven’t tried this site, but I know they allow bloggers to sign up for book reviews

Blogging for Books – This site seems to be currently geared towards the Christian book genre (fiction and non-fiction)

Book Sneeze – Another site that I might join at some point, but right now I have more books that I can read as it is

O’Reilly – If you studied anything tech related, then you already know this site. I bought over the years from them many books on Microsoft products, videos on how to use a particular software, you name it. If you have a blog reviewing books and videos focused on leading-edge software, technology, and social media trends, well then this is the place to be for you!

Book Browse – This site sends ARC (advanced reading copies) of books only within the US, so I guess these are not eBooks, but actual paperbacks.

Reading Alley – A new book reviewer site opened June 2015 has a very similar look and feel to Netgalley. I have written my first impressions about Reading Alley here.

If you’ve explored all these resources and still want to get free books that you can’t find otherwise, here is another way to get access to them. It’s a great guest post on Problogger, one of the sites I’m reading on a regular basis.

As a last note, I need to point out something. Since I’ve joined a few of these sites and made my blog, Facebook profile and Twitter profile known around the net, I’ve started to get email requests to read and review blogs sent directly by authors (usually new authors who need to get the word spread about their new books) and publishers as well. When I say I have more books on my virtual shelf than I can read in any realistic timeframe, I mean it.

And if you know of another resource for book bloggers to get free books that they can read and review, post it in the comments section and I’ll add it to this list.

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