An efriend writer originally published this as a guest post on their blog to help me launch Against All Odds August 2020. In case you missed it there, here are my secrets on how to afford an out-of-control reading habit:
A whale reader is a person who reads 3-7 books a week, every week.
We’re an unusual species but there are more of us around than you’d think. I wrote about my experience as a whale reader here, going into detail on what that is, how I became one, and my favorite whale writers.
I’m often asked how I read so many books. For example, the last few years my Goodreads Reading Challenge has been around 200 books a year. The answer to how I do that is simple: I don’t have a life outside of reading and writing. Where other people do coffee with friends, movies out, and shopping trips, I do none of those. I don’t even do housework–I have a wonderful husby who doesn’t mind doing most of that. I used to be at the beck and bark of my beloved Labrador but now, he sleeps most of the day. As a result, it takes a lot of writing and reading to fill my awake hours.
If you’re interested in becoming a whale reader, the biggest barrier to entry (besides time) is affording all those books. You have to read books that interest you or you won’t be able to get through them. Starting with A in the library won’t work. Here’s how I find lots of books affordably:
I have an online account at the library. I reserve books I want to read and the library lets me know when they’re available. I have plenty on the list so some are always showing up.
The web-based Project Gutenberg has a wide assortment of free full-length books but focuses more on older books that have been in print for a while–not the most current books and probably no Indies. There is no fee, no registration. Just search and start reading.
Kindle Unlimited is a lending library available through Amazon for certain Kindle digital books. You pay about $10 a month and can borrow up to 10 books at a time. Once you’ve read the book, you return it to Amazon and can borrow another. My husband
forced encouraged me to do this because he tired of the daily charges for $.99-$4.99 for books I then consumed in a few days. He was right (he usually is). The $10 a month is worth it. You access this with your Amazon account.
NetGalley is a reader’s dream in that it offers ARC copies of a huge variety of books, both best sellers and niche. I get a ton of books from NetGalley. I have several publishers who auto-approve any selection I make. Others approve my request before making the digital ebook available. I usually get the books I request because I do my part to promote the authors by publishing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and wherever else I can think of.
Some Amazon books can be shared by the owner with others. Though this doesn’t work as well as I had hoped, I do get a handful of these books each year that I love reading.
Do you have any hints I can use for getting more free books?
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021.