Looking for Free Books?

Every once in a while, I get an email from a reader who tells me they love my series but can’t afford to buy all my books. (So far there are 21 books in the Haunting Danielle series, with the 22nd to come out this summer.) As of next week, the first 19 books in the series will be available in audiobook formal.

Compared to other eBooks on the market, the Haunting Danielle books are on the low price end, at $4.50. Yesterday, my mother found an eBook she wanted me to order for her, and I about fainted—it was almost $17! And it only had a 3-star average review! Yikes!

But I understand being on a fixed income, and even $4.50 takes a person off budget. Fortunately, there is a way to safely and legally download FREE eBooks and audiobooks—your local public library!

I have a lot of readers who check out my books from their libraries, some of them downloading eBooks and others audiobooks. Sometimes their libraries already carry my books—other times the readers have to request them. Occasionally, the library will have my paperbacks to check out, but typically it is easier to get ahold of one of my audiobooks or eBooks at the public library. 

It requires an app like Overdrive to facilitate the download. When I did it, I went down to our library, and they assigned me pin number to use in order to access the service. Of course, you also need a library card!

The reason I said the public library is a legal and safe source to download free books is because there are websites out there that offer books for free—pirate sites. Very often the person looking for a deal will later discover they downloaded more than just a stolen eBook—they can get a virus or Trojan. Picking up a book at one of those sites is no different than going to the back alley and picking up stolen merchandise. Yet in this case, instead of risking arrest your computer is often compromised.

However, there are a few legitimate online services out there that will get you a safe free read, like BookBub. The difference, they are offering specials offered by the author. They aren’t a pirate site stocking up stolen eBook files. (Some of the pirate sites don’t even have the eBook files they claim to have, just the virus or Trojan they intend to hand out!)

So if you are looking for a free read, take Ben Franklin’s lead—check out your public library. 

The library is a little like safe sex.

Did that headline catch your attention? Actually, it is an apt analogy. Just hear me out…

Readers, like all other consumers, love a deal. That’s why websites like BookBub are so popular with eBook readers.  Each day in your email inbox they send you what’s on sale or free in the genre you love to read.

But what happens when you discover a new favorite author or series—and the other books by that author or in that series aren’t on sale? I suppose you could wait around for them to go on sale, but you may be waiting a long time. And it’s possible some of those books will never go on sale.

Some thrifty readers turn to pirate websites or shady Facebook groups where pirated copies of the book are passed around.

The most obvious problem with that, it is stealing.  Yep. People who do that may not think of themselves as thieves, but that’s what they are. Some may try to justify it by saying eBooks are too expensive anyway. I knew a woman once who used to steal makeup (when I say woman, I mean a woman in her sixties, no teenager) because she insisted it was too expensive—not that she couldn’t afford it, but she didn’t agree with the prices charged.  Whatever her justification, she was still a thief. Just like those people who pass around pirated copies of books.

There is another problem with downloading from pirate sites—and this gets back to the headline of this article. Viruses.  Yep. Pirate sites are often not about giving you a free book as much as it is about giving you a virus or trojan.

And for the record, while a Trojan might protect someone having sex, it means something completely different when it comes to downloading files.

So, what do you do if you just can’t afford to buy that book that you would love to read?

The library.

Just today I received a message from a fan who has read all the books in the Haunting Danielle series, and she hasn’t bought them. She downloaded the eBooks from her local library. She told me when the library didn’t have one of the books, she requested it and they got it in for her!

It’s relatively easy to check out free eBooks from your library, and much safer (and more honest) than downloading them from a pirate site. Plus, it makes the author—you know, the one who is entertaining you with the story—smile knowing his/her books are at the library.

First, you need to get an old fashion library card from your local library. When you do this and tell them you want to check out eBooks, they will typically give you a pin number. The great thing about checking out eBooks from your library, you can do it from the comfort of your home.

I use OverDrive to check out eBooks from the library. It’s an app I downloaded to my devices. When I open the app, I first select my library. It then gives me a login screen where I insert the email address and pin number my library has on me. Once you log in, you can start checking out books.

If the library doesn’t have the book you are looking for, request it, just like my reader did.

Oh, and don’t thank me, thank Ben Franklin. The lending library was his idea.