A Year of Zero-Cost Reading


A new year, a new resolution. For 2017, I'm focusing on spending my money wisely. How very adult of me, I know.  But lately, I've developed some frivolous spending habits. I'd like to submit this train of thought as evidence: I really want his book. And this coffee. Oh, I shouldn't though. I just ate lunch out. What the heck, I'll just treat myself. Right?  

Before I know it, I'm looking at my bank account wondering how I've managed to "treat myself" over budget.  

What's worse is that I don't always read the books I buy. I could make up a million excuses to try and explain. But no matter the excuse, it doesn't change the fact that I spent about a hundred dollars on books last year that I never enjoyed (yet). 

So this year, I'm cutting myself off. I'm not spending money on books*. Instead, here is four ways I'll find "zero-cost" books to read:

Amazon Prime

Amazon now includes ebooks in their Prime membership benefits. You can download up to ten titles from Amazon Prime Reading (at one time) to read on your Kindle app. They don't have an extensive selection, but I was fairly impressed at the what they do have available. They include some big name magazines that I can't wait to read. My family already has a Prim membership, so there's no extra cost for me to take advantage of this feature. 

Google Opinion Rewards 

This is the best app I've ever installed. You simply answer survey questions and earn credits toward the Google Play store. I'm using all my credits to buy books! Note: You don't get credits for every survey you take, but I typically earn an average of $0.15 a survey. That may not sound like much, but it adds up quickly. I've been using it since June 2016 and I've earned more than $25 in credits. 


Penguin offers this great opportunity to become one of the first readers of their new content. Register for their First to Read program and you can request digital advance galleys of their newest and their best upcoming titles. They offer titles in every genre: romance, historical fiction, nonfiction, thriller, fiction, mystery, literary fiction—the list goes on. The more you participate, the more points you earn. The more points you earn, the easier it is to guarantee you'll receive the galley.  

Public Library 

I cannot stress visiting your local library enough! Even though you're not buying your own copy of the book, checking out library books does still help authors and publishers. But it goes beyond just that. I think young adult author Maggie Stiefvater said it best:  

 "Checking out books from your local library keeps the library alive. Public libraries need those circulation numbers to continue funding, and I can’t stress how strongly I believe that libraries are a crucial way to make stories and education available to everyone. If you can’t afford a book, check one out — such an act means that you’re helping lots of readers who can’t afford books, not just yourself."  

You can follow my zero-cost reading adventures this year on goodreads.com. I'll be participating in Book Riot's annual Read Harder challenge so I can't wait to get started!

* Except your book, Katie Bayerl. I can't wait to buy a signed copy of A Psalm for Lost Girls and celebrate your debut as a young adult author!!!!