Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Free Books

Here are a few tips I have up my sleeve for supporting my book-buying habit. I think that I will be especially glad for it after reading through the great to-be-read lists that will be posted beginning today for the Spring Reading Thing that Katrina is hosting.

Amazon Credit Card
--I signed up for this several years ago. For every $2500 I spend, I get a $25 amazon gift certificate (and I get triple bucks for any dollar spent at amazon). We do not use our credit card for all our expenses, but we do fly back home to see family twice a year, and usually take a vacation once a year, and usually make some sort of big purchase at least once a year--a new TV, or a piece of furniture, and all of those things go on my card, in addition to some online shopping and special date nights. The "cashback" value is as high or higher as on other cards and since I get a paper certificate, I can give it as a gift, or use it to buy gifts, household goods, or of course (and most frequently) books for me and my family.

Amazon Associates--if you have a blog and if you review products or books, you should join amazon's associates program. If someone buys a book from amazon by clicking through a link to that book, or from the link on your sidebar, you will earn about 4%. I haven't had that many click-throughs, but it's nice to see the little balance steadily growing. When it reaches $10, you receive an email gift certificate. Your own purchases made through your link do not count (which I learned the hard way after hoping that all of my purchases would at least earn me something), but you can alert friends and family if they use the link on your sidebar or any of your book links to make any purchase that you will benefit. I make it a point to use the links of bloggers who recommend a certain book that I decide to buy, to throw a little of the love their way (I think if you put a book in your cart on that click-through, even if you don't buy it immediately, she gets the credit). I think that some people purposefully don't use these links and I'm not sure why. It's beneficial in two ways: it helps to make blogging (very very slightly) profitable, and therefore encourages her to keep it up, and by clicking through and purchasing the books I like, she gets an idea which books resonate with her readers and might review or suggest more of those types of books.

(Just so you know, I get no kickback from either the credit card link or the associates link--I'm just sharing what's Worked for Me).

Harper-Collins First Look--I have been a part of this for two months and have yet to be selected to receive a free book, but it's a great program and worth looking into to see which free books they are offering each month. You do NOT have to be a blogger. If you receive a book, you have to review it on their site.

Chronicle Books gave away a whole basketful of kids' books last month, and this month they have an autographed book up for grabs. Bookmark this page. They will be having contests every month or two spotlighting some of their best children's books.

Author blog-tours--The publishing industry is beginning to see bloggers as a great resource. For the price of a few review copies sent to bloggers who request them, they get a lot of free press. When a book gets blogged about, it is a great combination of a review and a personal recommendation, which one might take more seriously. So, many authors will post a blog call in regards to publicizing their new book. If you blog about books or certain topics, authors or publishers might even contact you directly to review certain books. For integrity's sake, I try to state when I've been given a copy free for review, but I still try to be honest. If I don't like a book, I probably just won't post about it, but I am more than happy to pass along a good word about the books I enjoy.

It was one of my readers who alerted me to the First Look program, so do any of YOU have any tips and tricks for snagging free books??


Elizabeth said...

I love books and if they are free ... I love them more! I'm definitely going to check out the First Look page. Thanks!

Rae said...

Great tips & links, thanks for sharing! I'll have to remember to come back here and click through you if I decide to buy one of my Spring Reading Thing books through Amazon. Thanks for sharing! =)

MC Milker said...

Great tips! I'll check them out -

MC Milker said...

Great tips! I'll check them out -

annie said...

Great tip!

Julie in Texas said...

Thanks for the wonderful ideas. I am a big reader and to get books for free...woo hoo!

Karen said...

Thanks for the heads up! I love kids love anytime we have a chance to get them free? It's good.

Kathleen Marie said...

Excellent suggestions! Thank you and also for those who don't use credit cards - like me ☺ - Debit cards can be used like a credit card. I have a $200.00 a day balance but when I need to debit a plane ticket or large purchase I simply call the bank a day ahead of time and tell them that I need a limit increase or even an unlimited increase.

This also helps me to not impulse buy. If I see something I want I usually have to think about it overnight before buying and it is amazing how many times I have not gone back to the purchase I just had to have the day before.

Thanks for a great post!

Lori said...

Free books - what a dream! Thanks for these tips; I just signed up for HarperCollins First Look!

Becky said...

I have several tips.
This blog doesn't necessarily give away a book every week, but they generally give away two or three a month. They interview different authors and typically the author they're interviewing gives away a book. To 'enter' all you have to do is comment that week and there is a drawing that weekend. I've won two or three books from this site.

This is a current giveaway contest for books this spring and summer. I haven't won any yet, but I've entered a few. I'm hoping to win something :) They give away 25 books according to the website.
The Great American Book Giveaway
5 books per week. New books offered every Sunday. I have won one book so far. And they were very prompt in sending it. I think it was there within four to six days after being notified!
Teens Read Too keeps you informed of all the latest YA contests and giveaways going on.

And this site has updated links of current contests going on all across the web:

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennifer said...

Awesome Becky--thanks for taking the time to share all of those resources!

Gina said...

I echo the thoughts about blog tours. I have sooo many free books to read, I won't need to buy any for a year. Not that that will stop me!

Kim said...

Hey Jennifer,
I've been a member of the First Look program for a few years now and have received maybe 5 or 6 books from them. I haven't gotten any for quite some time now though. I was introduced to some great new authors through this program.

Your tips are great. By the way, since I haven't taken the time to gather my thoughts and blog about your reading challenge, I'll comment on your post about my results.

Distybug said...

Have you tried Check it end up paying for shipping but it's usually only $1.59, and you get free books for each one you send.