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Oct 27, 2020

Book habits can be expensive, especially when you like REAL books to hold in your hands, but there are ways to save money on paperback books, and I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorites—five, to be exact!

Before I get into them, though, I want to point out that this is episode is about PHYSICAL books.  There are lots of ways to get free or very inexpensive ebooks.  Just a few are:

  • Kindle Unlimited
  • Net Galley
  • Free Kindle Store

Additionally, there are services that notify you of great ebook deals.  Sites like:

Also, sign up for your favorite authors’ newsletters. Many give you a heads up first on when books are going free etc.

Blog post for show notes is here:

Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you.

But how can we get free or really inexpensive books without having to scour used bookstores or driving halfway across the country to go to stores like Ollies etc.?

The First Cheap Way: Shop Sales!

Yeah, I know. It’s rather unromantic and prosaic, but sales are huge. In just the last couple of months, I’ve gotten tons of paperbacks for under 5.00 each (some just a couple of dollars!) on sale from regular retailers like Amazon and Christian Books.

Once Upon a  Dickens Christmas by Michelle Griep. I got several copies of this one for about three dollars each—thick paperback. This thing is beautiful with deckle-edged pages. I’ll be giving away one of these in a big promotion I’ll talk about in a bit.

The Santa Claus Chronicles: Heartwarming Tales from a Real-Life Santa by Rene Gutteridge and Dan Short.  This one was like 2.30.  Seriously.  Hardback, beautiful book written by an author I love?  SOLD. Bought four or five of those, too.  I’ll use them as inexpensive gifts with a mug and hot chocolate and squee! Instant last-minute gift. I got these from Amazon and they shipped free with Prime, too.  Get this:  It’s 3.40 right now.

Check out the synopsis:

Santa Dan’s Stories Will Soothe Your Soul  
Thirty years ago, Dan Short left the corporate world to follow a calling—to give the gift of God’s love to children and adults alike. How did he do it? By becoming Santa Claus, of course!
These are “Santa Dan’s” tales of hope and humor, collected from his three decades of playing Jolly Old Saint Nick. And as you might have guessed, Santa has his share of stories to tell—some tearful, some joyful, and all of them filled with heartwarming Christmas spirit.

You’ll meet some of the unforgettable people Santa Dan has encountered… 

  • Anna, a young cancer patient whose fulfillment of her dying wish becomes a life-changing experience for those around her.
  • Rose, an elderly woman with a longstanding grudge against Saint Nick.
  • Terry, a precocious boy with more moxie than clothing.
  • Front Yard Santa, a neighborhood icon whose passing prompts a poignant gesture from a fellow Santa.
  • Faith, Hope, and Grace, three enterprising young girls whose overwhelming generosity befits their virtuous names. 

…and you’ll be inspired to share the joy of Jesus with those around you!

CBD had their mega sale recently. 

Aside from Bibles I’ve been wanting to replace (at half the usual price), I got a book by Carrie Stuart Parks for around four dollars and one by Colleen Coble for three.

Stores like and have HUGE numbers of Christian fiction titles for three to five dollars. Booksamillion also has good deals

And really, doing a good search on Amazon can find you great deals.

Quite by accident, I found yesterday that my book, Deepest Roots of the Heart was reduced from 12.99 to 3.40. Now, it’s up to 4.79 as I type this, so who knows how long it will be on sale, but that’s still a great deal.  I didn’t know anything about it, and that’s a book that doesn’t go on sale very often. In fact, the paperback sale price right now is less expensive than the Kindle usually is.

My second suggestion for finding inexpensive paperbacks: online used booksellers!

Amazon has a HUGE number of used and discount booksellers on their site.  You can buy almost any paperback for just a couple of dollars in good condition, and usually, you can get “very good” for around five. Many of the used books found on Amazon can also be shipped free with Prime (which totally blows my mind every time I see it!).  So, I always check to see if I can get the book with prime and what the difference is. Often, I can get a book in good to very good condition, shipped to my door for five dollars.  This is usually 1/3 of the retail price of the book.

There are other online retailers, of course.  I’ve purchased from:

Facebook has several buy/sell/swap groups where you can sell the books you don’t want and find others you do. Two of them I found are:

A third way to augment your paperback book budget is… Join Author Launch Teams!

First off, I should point out that not all authors send out paperback books.  Indie authors, for example, can’t always afford it—especially if they’re doing blog tours, such as the ones I’ll share with you in a moment, but we do sometimes. Just remember that being on a launch team is a responsibility.  You’re agreeing to share, to review, to promote that book when you join. While books are not meant as payment for the review and promotion, they do come with that responsibility I mentioned.

See, as a Christian when we agree to do something, we need to do all in your power to DO what we agreed to.  Last year, I dropped the ball on two launch teams I was on. I agreed before my life fell apart while I took care of my mom. When I sign up, I always do it with the personal understanding that I’m going to give it my all if I possibly can, but even then, it hurt when I saw promotions I couldn’t keep up with.

So, this year, a few opportunities came up, but I still didn’t quite know what the new normal was with having my mom living with us, still playing catch up, etc. So I didn’t do it.  It’s one thing for life to knock you out of the ring in the middle of a boxing match, but it’s another to sign up for the match and not show up to the ring at all.

Seriously, though, authors need readers. 

We need folks to tell others about the books because none of us like to be that pathetic one out there pleading, “buy my book!”  It’s so much nicer when people who love the book share why with others who might like it, too.

And closely related is… join a blog tour/reviewer team. Seriously, review teams are great ways to get free books—ebooks and paperbacks.  You have to be willing to put in the time to read the books on time, post your reviews on time, and even accept a lot of ebooks before you’re given the coveted (usually limited in number) paperbacks, but if you’re willing to put that effort in, you’ve got a great way to get a LOT (as many as you can keep up with usually) of free books!

My Fourth Suggestion— Library sales and Little Free Libraries

I don’t know about you, but our library in our town has a “Friends of the Library” sale every year (often more than once a year).  You can get a ton of great books—even ones you don’t necessarily want yourself but you know others might want to swap you for.  It’s a great way to stock your “share” pile so you can…

Go find the little free libraries in your town or towns you plan to visit.  Take along a stack of books.  Check and see if there’s anything in the ones you visit that you’d like, and leave one of those ones you got behind.

I suspect you won’t find tons of Christian fiction that you haven’t already read in most, but I know many authors (I’m one of them) who when they have books handy and are in unfamiliar places, they go find these libraries and pop a copy of their books in them.  You might just find a treasure, and if not, maybe you could leave one, right?

Finally, the fifth one: Giveaways

Seriously, follow blog tours and enter the giveaways for free paperbacks, audiobooks, and ebooks. Companies like CelebrateLit have five to seven tours starting every week!  MOST of those give away a book!  Many give away Amazon gift cards.  Enter.  Get those gift cards, and save ‘em up.

Also, new book releases.

There are parties on Facebook, Instagram, and even private ones on blogs.  Like, for example, this week the Independence Islands authors are celebrating the release of Rachel Skatvold’s, Her Merriweather Hero.

Starting with Rachel’s Blog today, October 27th, you can go from blog to blog, and enter to win paperbacks, ebooks, and even an audiobook of the prequel to the series. That link will be in the show notes, but it’s just an example of how you can follow new releases. This is why you want to be on all your favorite authors’ newsletters.  They tell you about these things!

Then there are bigger promos like CelebrateLit’s quarterly (and then some) multi-author promos.

Most of those include some ebooks and some paperbacks, and they also have a good-sized amazon gift card (usually two to three hundred dollars or more!) and #BecauseFiction Magazine’s monthly giveaways from their authors.

Finally, there are seasonal giveaways.

Summertime usually has a few good ones for beach reads and such.  Christmas and Thanksgiving both have Facebook parties and multi-author promotional things.  In fact, I’m doing a fun one with twenty-five different authors this Christmas starting December 1.  I’ll be doing an advent countdown of prizes folks can win—prizes donated by some of your favorite authors such as Liz Tolsma, Robin Pachen, Cathe Swanson, Hallee Bridgeman, Jaycee Weaver, Carolyn Miller, Joanne Markey, Laura Hile, Angela Strong… the names go on. Twenty-five prizes (many of them books and some paperbacks!  In fact, mine is going to be a prize box that includes one of those Michelle Griep books and one of those Rene Gutteridge books as well as a couple of mine etc!). We’ll also have a hefty Amazon gift card giveaway as well.

Giveaways are a GREAT way to win the books you can’t afford to buy.  Yes, you have to be patient, but you can enter while you do other things.

In Conclusion:

Look, if you’re creative, you can get a lot of books for a very little bit of money. This gives you lots of reading material without breaking the bank. I could probably come up with a dozen more ideas (there’s always the library!  Help an author and ask yours to get that book you keep seeing shared everywhere!) Meanwhile, have a good day, go read a good book, and I’ll see you next week!


This week’s is Celebrate Lit Publicity Group.  Celebrate Lit offers blog tours which are a great way for readers to find out about books and authors and what other readers like them thought of said books and authors.  Both authors and readers should go to, see what’s on tour this week, and see what books are available right now!

Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: