Would you like to get your hands on early free copies of books? How about a few ARCs? Actually, they are the same thing. The very best way to get free books if you have a Kindle is right on Amazon. Browse their free books, updated daily. You can even sort by categories.
ARC stands for Advance Reading Copy or Advanced Review Copy. In traditional publishing, it refers to advance copies sent to reviewers, librarians, the media, even celebrities to create a buzz about a book before publication.
In the brave new world of self-publishing, authors do their own marketing. They send out ARCs to bank up all-important reviews which will, in theory, push their book up Amazon’s rankings the moment they hit ‘publish’.
Reviews are oxygen for indie authors, they send them even after their book is published – keeps the Amazon algorithm on its toes.
But enough marketing. How do you, avid reader, get your hands on all these lovely free books? Here are 5 ways:
1. Become A Book Reviewer
Don’t want to become a book reviewer? Proceed to point 4
To be a reviewer you will need a digital platform: blog, website, social media. Put out your shingle and wait for those ARCs to arrive. To speed up the process, make sure you already have a presence on both Amazon and GoodReads as a reviewer – include your website or blog address in your profiles. Do not give your email unless you enjoy spam. Check out this Amazon reviewer profile: Room with Books.
On your blog/website/social media include information about what sort of submissions you are interested in – i.e. genre, word length, style. Just like these two:
- Candida Martinelli at Italophile Book Reviews sets out her book-review preferences on her Contacts and Review page
- Patricia at Room With Books, mentioned above, has an actual submission form on her Review Requests page.
You’ve set up your platform and attracted self-published authors, time to go after some big names.
2. Become A NetGalley Professional Reader
Did you see the NetGalley logo/stamp of approval on both Candida’s and Patricia’s sites? They review for a site that receives ARCs from a whole range of publishers, including the biggies.
You too could be a NetGalley “professional reader”. According to their info page, professional readers are librarians, booksellers, educators, media and reviewers/bloggers.
Once you have your platform and a few reviews under your belt, fill out their submission form and cross your fingers. You could also try Edelweiss, which is basically a collection of publishers’ catalogues brought together on the one site.
3. Join Reading Deals’ Review Club
Reading Deals is a site that offers free books in exchange for reviews and you don’t need a digital platform. Sign up, choose your book, write a review, mentioning that you “received a free copy for an honest review”, and your review will appear on Amazon.
Authors pay a modest amount to place their books with Reading Deals but there is no actual vetting process, as far as I can tell.
4. Subscribe To BookBub’s Mailing List
You don’t want to review books. Okay, no problem: here’s the biggest and most popular place for finding free books – BookBub.
BookBub has a stringent vetting process to make sure they are offering good quality to their email list. All you need to do is sign up for their regular email and they’ll let you know when books are free and how to access them.
Why are the books free in the first place? Book publishers offer deals at online sites like Amazon and Apple for promotional purposes. Self-published authors can too. BookBub acts like a curator, ensuring that only high-quality offerings are put their list. There is a hefty cost involved for publishers and authors, but from all I’ve heard, it’s worth it.
There is one catch though – the free books are ebooks.
On the subject of book reviews, please consider leaving a review. Speaking from experience, authors really appreciate your effort.
5. Support One Or More Sites Promoting Free and Discounted Books
Here are five to get you started:
Of course, you could bypass all of the above by going straight to Amazon and typing “free books” into the search function.
Now you know how to get free books and ARCs, go forth and read more – you’ll be supporting writers and publishers of all stripes.
YouTube Channel: LovingDemBooks
Featured Image Via Caroline Middlebrook