You know what smells better than a fresh book?
A fresh, free book. Or eARC, you get me.
If you’re like me, a blossoming money-grubbing Mr. Krabs, then you probably also appreciate free things. Here are four ways to get books for free.
Book giveaways on specific sites and social feeds can be a great way to win a book, though it’s definitely not going to rake you in a ton of free books in the long run. That said, I would suggest frequently checking out the Giveaways tab on Goodreads and even just googling “book giveaways” from time to time to see what’s out there. (Of course, don’t share your info unless it’s a credible source like the publisher or a sponsor.) You can also find frequent giveaways for ARCS and hard copies by following your favorite authors and book bloggers on social media. I follow many popular book bloggers who often do Book Depository giveaways on Twitter. (Check out my Twitter here to see who I follow.)
NetGalley and Edelweiss
If you have a book blog, BookTube or talk about books somewhere, a solid way to get free books is by signing up with NetGalley and Edelweiss. Both sites connect publishers of upcoming books to the people who talk about them. In exchange for a free copy of their upcoming book, often in Kindle or ePDF form, publishers want an honest review. It’s not a bad deal and can be an awesome way to get books before the general population. That said, it takes some work to set up your accounts and bios for each site, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get approved for every book you request.
I personally don’t use Edelweiss but I’ve had a fair amount of success with NetGalley. Check out my tips for creating your best bio here.
Trading and #BookishWish
A fun way to get free(ish) books is to join a book-related or Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook and post about a book you would be willing to trade. While not exactly free, it can be a great way to hand off your stack of unwanteds to someone who would love to get their hands on them, all in exchange for a book you really want. (Side tangent for those in the know, what’s up with all these people posting crazy rare ARCS or books but are only willing to trade them for similarly crazy rare ARCS/books? I think we need to create a separate FB page for these crazy collectors because their posts are clogging the feed for people who just wanna trade a good book for a good book.)
Also, you could try using the tag #BookishWish on Twitter, and someone with a copy of your desired book might grant your wish! Of course, no guarantees, but always worth a shot. If you do get a free book through this system, I think the nice thing to do is pass on the good karma by granting a wish yourself.
Reach out to authors directly
And of course, there is the entirely shameless practice of asking the author directly for the goods. Of course, if you do this, you gotta offer something in return; for example, a review on your blog or shared on social. I recently had success with this tactic by filling out an ARC request form for Joan He’s Descendent of the Crane on her website. I now have a beautiful ePDF sitting in my inbox waiting to be cracked open but hasn’t yet because life, but don’t worry Joan, IT WILL HAPPEN. I suppose if you’re even ballsier than I am you could try emailing the author or publisher directly and see what happens.
A final tactic, although a passive one, is to make sure you have a contact me page/link on your blog or social feeds encouraging authors to submit review requests. While these are usually going to come from new authors, a free book is still a free book and you’re supporting new authors just tryin’ to make it in the world.
Anyway, that’s my spiel on how to get the free goods. Let me know if any of these tactics work for you or if you have other wisdom to share!