I love books. I know I am slightly biased, being a former bookstore employee, but I like to think that most people like reading books. The hard part is finding books you want to read. Maybe you can’t find the right authors, or books have gotten too pricey, or you haven’t made the leap to ebooks yet…but don’t worry. No matter the obstacle, at Gear Diary we are here to help you make sure your 2013 reading list stays nice and full!
This is the hardest part. Maybe you have a local bookstore you can pop into and ask an employee, but if you don’t, you’re at the mercy of the hundreds of thousands of titles and options available. Do you dig into a series? Take a chance on a new indie writer? Go back and read those classics you skipped in high school? Luckily, there’s a few good ways to narrow down your choices.
Goodreads: This is a great site if you like discussing and discovering new books. Tell Goodreads what you’ve been reading, and how you liked it, and you get recommendations in return. Rate the various books you’ve read, and share your thoughts with friends. Check out what your friends liked. Take quizzes on books. Basically, it’s a book-themed social network, and a great way to discover books that you may not have heard of, or to check out what’s generating a buzz in your social circle. There’s apps as well as a website, so you can manage your library, ratings, and recommendations on the go.
Inkmesh: Ever want to compare eBook prices across multiple stores? Or are you getting tired of trying to hunt down free and discounted titles? Inkmesh is great because it aggregates all of those searches for you into one search engine. You can look for free titles from each store, search for an author or book and find out the price and availability of it in each eBookstore, even hunt around by genre to narrow your search to your tastes. It is much simpler than a site like Goodreads, but it has a very clear purpose: make searching for books easy.
Buying and Reading Books:
We have a bit of an eBook bias here, but there’s plenty of eBook and non eBook ways to make reading books affordable. Sure, brand new titles can cost upwards of $20 in paper form and $10-12 in eBook form, but you can track stuff down for much cheaper without giving up reading quality stories!
Library: this is an obvious one, but so many people forget the public library! It’s usually free to join, and they have best sellers as well as a deep backlist. The major downside is that for a very popular title you may have to sit on a wait list…but it can be worthwhile to grab a stack of books for free! Libraries also carry audiobooks, which can translate to a huge savings when you consider new audiobooks can easily run in the $20-40 range.
Overdrive (Digital Library services): You may or may not realize this, but your local library also offers eBooks and digital audiobooks! Most libraries use Overdrive, though there are competitor programs. However, assuming you have access to Overdrive, downloading eBooks is very simple. You can send them your NOOK or Kindle, and even return them to the library right from your eReader. If you’re a tablet or smartphone user, Overdrive has an app that let’s you read books and listen to audiobooks. I know I’ve used their audiobooks many times, and it works great. Plus, the whole service is free!
Kindle Daily Deals: Amazon has an email newsletter with daily Kindle book deals. Sometimes it’s just a few dollars off, sometimes it is a more dramatic deal, but either way it’s a daily list of cheap books! Sign up here.
Barnes and Noble Free Fridays: Barnes and Noble’s blog offers up their version of a weekly deal, called “Free Fridays“. Just like the name implies, it’s a free book each week. Depending on how fast of a reader you are, and how broad your tastes are, this could keep you well stocked for quite a while!
Smashwords: If you want to find a solid self-published title, you’ll find it on Smashwords. It take some work to separate the good from the bad, but it’s a great way to find a new voice that may have been drowned out by mainstream publishing. As an added bonus, most titles are far more affordable, with most being anywhere from free to under $5!
Amazon Prime Lending Library: This one is only affordable if you already have a Prime membership and a Kindle. But if you do, this is a great deal. Any titles in the Prime Lending Library can be checked out and held for an unlimited amount of time, but you can only check out one at a time, and only one title per month. If you have a Prime membership already, this is a great way to get the full use out of it and save some money on your book budget!
Paperback Swap: For those who aren’t 100% eBooks, Paperback Swap is a great way to access new books. You list books you want to swap, and in turn search for books from others. It doesn’t cost anything to request a book, but you are on the hook for the cost to mail books of yours out to others. Since media mail will only run you a few dollars, it’s a great, low-cost way to keep your library in check and still find new books to read!
What’s your favorite way to discover or buy books? Let us know how you plan to stock up in the new year!