20 Ways to Get Free or Cheap Books, and Give Away Your Old Ones

Post written by Leo Babauta.

If you’re looking to declutter your home and simplify your life, if you’re like me, one of the hardest areas to deal with is books: getting rid of old ones and cutting back on the expense of buying new ones.

But there are plenty of ways to get free or cheap books, and for the true fan of simplicity, these are the only ways to go.

First, let’s address the issue of getting rid of books: you gotta let go. I know, it’s difficult. It’s like getting rid of your children. But as the father of six children, I can tell you, sometimes it’s better with fewer of them in the house. (I’m kidding! About the children. Not the books.)

The question to ask yourself is this: “Why do I want to keep this book?” If you’re really going to read it again, keep it. I have a couple dozen books I truly love and really do plan on reading again, once I’ve forgotten the details.

But often books are kept almost like trophies or mounted animal heads — they show how much we’ve read, and the big books we’ve tackled, and how smart we are. Be honest with yourself — you’re never going to read most of those books again. You have too many ahead of you to tackle.

Get rid of them.

What follows are some of the best ways to get rid of your books, and to get more great ones for very little.

This is one of the best ways to regularly get free books. Of course, you can do it for free with friends, family members, classmates, neighbors — I regularly swap books with people I know. But when you really want to get books you really want, online bookswapping services rock. They’re not free, as you usually have to pay for shipping, but they’re close.

Similar to book swapping, bookhopping is a way to exchange books over the Internet. Basically, you list the books on your shelf, and agree to ship any of your books when they’re requested. In exchange, you can request any books you like. No points are earned or exchanged.

Really free books

Other options