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Free Books!


My kids love reading. We can’t walk past a bookstore without them begging to go inside. I can easily say no when they beg for candy or fast food but books? I want to stoke the fire they have for reading. Unfortunately, books are expensive and my kids are fast readers. Books don’t last a week around here. Fortunately they enjoy the same types of books so at least they can share.


I know what you are thinking, ‘Why the heck don’t you just go to the library?’ I do! But not often. Our local library is still working on reduced hours due to COVID but even if it was open longer, it wouldn’t solve the problem. We’ve been on the road for more time than we’ve been in our house this year. We can’t borrow in one town and return in another. Plus, I struggle to remember what books we have, when they are due, and where they are.


We took the kids to dinner and a band was playing. My husband and I wanted to enjoy the live music (it’s been SO long since we’ve heard live music and we crave it!) but we knew the kids wanted to go home. We grabbed their books from the car and they read while we enjoyed the show. The hostess came over to compliment our kids who were quietly reading and I said, ‘I love that they love reading but UGH, such an expensive habit! I wish libraries worked with our schedule a little better!’


Her face lit up. ‘Haven’t you heard about the Little Free Library?!?!’ she exclaimed.


And that was the day my life changed for the better. The Little Free Library is a book sharing program! It’s a neighborhood book exchange where everyone is invited to take a book or leave one. You don’t have to return it. There are no pesky due dates. AND, there are 8, yes 8 near our home in San Diego! We were in Michigan and there was one a mile and a half from where we were staying. They are seemingly everywhere!


The downside, if you are looking for something specific, they are very unlikely to have it. The upside, it’s a treasure hunt. We’ve left some great books like Dog Man for other kids to find and we’ve discovered some amazing Lego books. Occasionally we’ll even find crafts or DVDs.


The Little Free Library has been a budget saver! And, it’s the first thing the kids want to find in a new city. You can find more information about this AMAZING program here: Homepage – Little Free Library


  • Reply Ang |

    Most library’s give you the ability to rent ebooks to read on your tablet, phone or e-reader. It’s great for traveling because all you need is wifi! Check out to see if your local library offers this.

    • Reply Beks |

      Yes! I forgot to mention that! We do have a kindle Fire we use in a pinch and we rent books that way but I’m not crazy about screen time for kids. Don’t get me wrong, they use games but I like to limit it.

  • Reply Cynthia |

    I’ve had great success with very gently used books at Goodwill and Savers. Most are $1-$2.49 and you can usually catch a half off day. I let my kids load up.

  • Reply Katie |

    Thrift stores are great sources for books. I actually buy a bunch at thrift stores and Goodwill and use them to stock my little free library.

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    I’ll add garage sales and trades with families/friends to the other suggestions above. There are also many books that are free for download on Amazon and other e readers sites because of their age.

    • Reply Beks |

      Oh! I didn’t think of that! I’m so glad I posted this. Everyone has so many great ideas!

  • Reply Anonymous |

    I read about a book a week and just borrow on my Kindle using Overdrive or Hoopla. They have books, audiobooks, movies and music. Use your Library card!

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I can’t remember the ages of your children but kids in first through sixth grade can earn a free book from Barnes and Noble(from a list of books for their grade) by filling out a reading journal for eight books they read. The books don’t need to be purchased. They can be library books or books from friends. My kids did this during summer when they were younger. It was cute to watch them pick out the book they “earned.” Scholastic also has activities and reading tracker for kids during summer too. It allows the kids to help give books to kids in rural America that don’t have access by reading.

    • Reply Beks |

      My oldest is in 3rd grade. I’ve never heard of this! I’m going to try it out!

    • Reply Cwaltz |

      If you search Barnes and Noble summer reading program you should be able to download and print the reading journal with the choices of books. You’ll have to bring it to the store to get the book but you can totally start the journal beforehand.

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    Another though I just had. Pre-covid the library system in the state I just left would have a massive sale every year at the fairgrounds to get rid of inventory they no longer wanted or wasn’t in fit condition for circulation. You could get books for less than a dollar, sometime for a dime or quarter even. See if yours does that

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    Yet another thing! (Sorry I was a voracious reader as a child and marvel at the technology today that allows for such widespread sharing of content). If you have Amazine Prime, you get access to free books and a file ding library. But you can also sign up on Amazon for Kindle Unlimited. It’s $10 a month and you have access to a larger inventory of free downloads, over a million books, audiobooks, and magazines they say. You can have 10 items downloaded at one time. If you’re want a new download you ‘return’ one you already have. I have saved a small fortune with that subscription and found some new authors I really enjoy with Amazon’s recommendations from their algorithms. I know some people hate Amazon but I think they do some things really well, and this is one of them.

So, what do you think ?