Well, since this whole idea started out with some thoughts on blogging, I thought that'd be a good place to start.
Before I go any further, I should mention that the tips in this post aren't just for bloggers. Whether you have a blog, website, or not you can follow the ideas I have here. Why? Because it's not about getting free books because you have a blog/website/etc. Having a book-related blog can lead to requests from publishers/authors/publicists for you to review a book. But this takes lots of months (even years) of hard work and practice before you reach that point. In my humble opinion, no one should start a book blog in the hopes of getting free books. Start a blog to talk about books. And then see where it goes from there.
But I digress. Back to the subject. Blogs are a great resource to find free and cheap books. The number one way? Contests. Find a blog you like and follow them. Chances are they'll direct you to a contest or host one themselves eventually. And although I usually have the worst luck in the world, I have won a couple contests myself. So it is possible to win, you just have to enter like crazy to bring your chances up. LOL.
Here at the Shady Glade, I'm currently hosting my own contest for my 4th blogversary. So if you haven't already, check that out. It's also my goal now that I'm home to start up my Monday Contest Roundup posts. I don't know how often I'll do them, but keep an eye out for that right now.
Here's one of my other favorite places to get cheap books from blogs: trading with other bloggers. Many bloggers will either post every once and a while about a trading list, or they may even have a static page or sidebar with that information. For the cost of postage you can send out a book you're done with/not interested in for one that you want. Some bloggers will also giveaway books for simply the cost of mailing them to you. You just need to keep an eye on your favorite blogs, or even email them and ask if they'd be willing to trade with you. In fact, trading is one of my favorite tips of all time for cheap books, so you'll see that come up a few more times in this series.
And here's another way I use blogs for free books: news. Yeah, that sounds kind of weird, so let me explain. Many publishers will occasionally allow readers to read their books online for free for limited periods of time. And many of those publishers rely on bloggers to get the news out for them. Keeping an eye on your favorite book blogs can let you know about when these types of promotions occur. The first book in the Pretty Little Liars series comes to mind off the top of my head, but I know there's been several of these recently.
If you'd like to help me compile a list of free ebooks and/or books available to read for free online, please leave me a comment or send me an email at shadyglade(AT)mail(DOT)com. If I'm able to get enough examples I'll post them in the sidebar or something.
So the bottom line is, blogs are a great resource for free books, but they don't always have to be from publishers. It's more about participating in the blogging community then anything else. And really? Participating is more fun anyway. ;)
So that's it for this week. Check back next Thursday for more ideas on how to get free (and almost free) books. And if you'd like to contribute your own ideas send me an email and let me know.
In the meantime, happy reading!