6 Ways to Read Books When On A Budget

Reading books doesn't have to be an expensive hobby

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Books can by expensive, especially the latest titles and that can deny some people access to books at home. An article in The Guardian (September 2022) states that the National Literacy Trust reported that one in five children in England between the ages of five and eight do not have access to books at home. But there are several ways to be able to pick up and read the latest titles, as well as older titles, from your favourite authors if you are on a limited budget as well as being able to get children reading and enjoying books. Here are just 6 ways (if you know of or use any other ways do let us know in the comments at the end of this article).

Libraries – Book Borrowing

Your local library (you can find your nearest one here) is the best way to read books for free in the UK (and where authors signed up to the scheme will still receive a bit of payment, albeit a small amount, which can be a lifeline for lesser known or less well-established authors). I grew up borrowing books from my local library, they store such a wealth of different books from a plethora of genres – and if they don’t have the book you want, speak to the librarian and they might even be able to get a copy in.

If you love books, then join your local library – they are FREE to join and FREE to use, probably the best way to borrow and read books (including e-books), especially if you are on a budget or don’t have space to store your own library of books. A lot of them no longer impose late fees either.

Digital Lending Libraries

Whilst you might think that libraries are good for borrowing printed books, what if you are a digital reader and love your eBook reader? Again, visit your local library and check if they are part of the BorrowBox scheme or Libby app. BorrowBox is a digital library linked to your local library where you can borrow books that are sent to your eReader and returned back to the library when finished. You will need to join your local library and be in possession of a library card to use this service but is another free resource where you can borrow thousands of eBooks and even audio books.

Whilst BorrowBox is a free service attached to your local library, there are also digital book subscription services such as Scribd available (these generally have a charge attached, Scribd is £10.99 per month, which depending on how many books you get through in a month could be really good for your budget). With Scribd you pay the monthly subscription which them gives you virtually unlimited access to eBooks, audiobooks, podcasts and magazines.

Used Book Shops and Charity Shops

Buying used / pre-loved books is an excellent way of saving a fortune on books and shopping this way saves lots going to landfill, so as well as good for your wallet it is also good for the environment. I often buy used books and the majority of the time they are in excellent condition. If you buy from charity shops, you are helping support that charity and picking up a book for a fraction of the cost, obviously your choice is limited as stock depends on what people had donated.

If you choose to buy used books from books shops, online or physical shops, you are supporting a business and in a lot of cases, a small business.

Now you may be saving a fortune picking up a knock down price book from a used book seller, but what about the author – there aren’t that many authors that make an absolute fortune from their books sales. Granted, the author has received royalties from the original sale, but for any subsequent sales they don’t receive anything. If you want to support the author but can’t afford to buy a brand new book, there is another option – if you purchase your used books from a company that has signed up to the AuthorSHARE scheme (such as World of Books), the authors will still receive a small royalty payment from the sale of that book.

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If you own an eBook reader, eBooks, for the most part, tend to be cheaper than their printed counterparts. You can save some money with the purchase of an eBook, and you don’t even require bookshelf space to store the book as it will be saved in your digital library. I prefer the feel of reading a proper book but my Kindle makes taking my books with me to read whilst travelling a very good option, so I do purchase both ways, especially as some books are only available as a eBook (my ideal solution would be when buying a new hardback that the eBook was attached so that I could switch between the two for reading at home and on the go).

Kindle Daily Deals

If you own a Kindle, then there are the Kindle Daily Deals (other eBook systems may offer similar deals) where you can pick up eBooks at a very good discount for a limited time. For the most part, Kindle Daily Deals books are £0.99. Not only is this a good way of picking up a bargain but an excellent way to discover new authors, and at a budget that won’t break the bank.


We all have birthdays, then there is Christmas, Eid and other religious festivals you might celebrate, and once Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and any other day that you use to celebrate certain occasions are added to the mix there are plenty of opportunities to request books / book tokens / book gift certificates as a gift and a great way to increase your library.


As you can see, there are plenty or ways to read for free or at a discount. Reading books is a privilege, but not being able to because of money doesn’t have to be. You don’t always have to have the latest novel, there are plenty out there to choose from and with the use of libraries, subscription services and used book sellers you should always be able to pick up books, in whatever format you prefer, somewhere that suits your budget.

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