One of the joys of travelling is having as much time to read as I want. I’m not trying to fit a book in between doing laundry and planning my next vacation. Unfortunately, reading can be expensive and if I can read for free or cheap that’s more money to spend on our trips. I’m sure my list here is not exhaustive but hopefully it can point you in the right direction for getting some free or cheap reads for your travels.
Since I read both e-books and dead tree books (DTB), I’ve included both in my list.
- Library Books and Magazines: You likely don’t want to be taking a library book on a long trip with you but the library is a great way to access not only DTB but electronic and audio books and magazines. Using my library card and an app called Overdrive, I can load up my tablet with as many as 10 books and put another 10 on hold. When I know a new book is coming out from one of my favourite authors, I put a hold on the book before it’s published and fairly often I’m the first or second person in line for the book. Books expire after 14 days just like DTB. My local library also offers magazines electronically.
- Library Book Sales: It seems that most libraries offer some sort of book sale. My local library has a sale room which they open up twice a month. The books are not all discarded library books and sometimes I’ve been able to pick up books that have only been out for a couple months. Books can be purchased for a donation or some sales have a set price depending on the type of book. You can also check out Book Sale Finder to find book sales in your area. Don’t forget that your local library book sale will gladly take the books that you’ve finished reading and resell to raise funds for their books or projects. (I’ll add a plug here for the Friends of the Lindsay Library since they keep me well stocked in DTB.)
- Discount Websites: There are a couple ways to find deals on e-books. One is to subscribe to a service like Book Bub and they will email you a list of deals daily. Or you can just go to your favourite e-book store and do a search on your preferred genre and then sort the books from lowest price up.
- Other Travellers: Ask! Hey, if someone is reading a book that you think you’re interested in, ask them if they would be willing to exchange books with you when they’re done. Even if they’re not interested in your book, they may pass along the one they’re reading. The worst they can do is say no.
- Book Exchanges: I’ve been to a lot of hotels and resorts that have a book exchange tucked away somewhere. You may also find a book exchange at a local store or restaurant. Just keep your eyes open or ask around.
- Bookcrossing: Bookcrossing is a variation on the book exchange. Basically, people register their books and then “release” them for others to find. You can then either search (“hunt”) for books in your locale or join the site for free and set up an alert to be sent to you when a book is released in your area. If you decide to join, please reference LastMango (that’s me!) as your referring member.
- Little Free Libraries: Another variation on the book exchange. People set up little libraries in a public accessible spot (like their front lawn) and you can drop off a book and exchange it for another. I’ve only used them here in Canada but from the map they provide on their website it looks like they are worldwide.
- Yard Sales: This isn’t my favourite method of getting books for free or cheap but it does work. I’m not the early bird so usually all that’s there when I get there are the older books.
- Thrift Shops: Again, not one of my favourite methods but it does work.
P.S. When this post is published, I’ll be happily loading up my tablet with library books for my trip to Cozumel. Check back at the end of November for my trip report.