So you want to get free e-books?
You’re a book lover, book reviewer and/or book blogger and you, too, want to receive e-galleys of advance reader’s copies?
Alright, I’m going to tell you how.
How to Get Free E-Books
E-books, I find, are the easiest to get. In some cases, you don’t even need to have a blog to receive free e-books.
What you need to do:
1. Write reviews. Don’t think anyone will give you free e-books for your own pleasure; authors and publishers want feedback. And I don’t mean one-sentence reviews. There is no minimum, but I’d go with at least 250 words.
2. Be honest, but fair. Authors and publishers want your opinion, so give it to them. But don’t only concentrate on the book’s flaws or qualities: try to give both. And why not even find a solution to a problem you found with the book? I know sometimes a book can be so frustrating and annoying and BAD that you can’t seem to find anything good about it. In that case, say what you need to say, but insult no one.
3. Post your reviews. So you wrote a review – what now? You post it! You have an Amazon account? Put it on there! You have a Barnes & Noble account? Do the same thing! Goodreads and Amazon are usually the main places where they ask you to post your reviews, so do that. It’s not long, and reviews are very important for sales so, the more you share them, the better it is for the authors and publishers. Even if it’s a negative review. Can you imagine if every Amazon and Goodreads book had only 5 star ratings?
4. Say thank you. Authors/publishers gave you free e-books for your own honest opinion? How wonderful… so thank them! Building a courteous relationship with authors and publishers is salient if you want to continue getting e-books in the future and gain their trust.
5. Disclose. This is something requested by every program, so don’t forget to disclose in your review where you got your copy.
‘‘I received ___________ via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.’’
Where to get free e-books
1. NetGalley. This is the easiest place where to get free e-books. It helps to have a blog, but it’s not ‘‘obligatory’’. You create yourself a profile, set your role, add info in your bio and you’re free to request any book you want! It doesn’t mean your requests will always be approved, but you’re going to get there. Don’t forget: building professional relationships with publishers and authors is the key. So maybe your first request will be declined, and your second, and your fifth. I remember the day I created my NetGalley account, I requested 20 books.
Do you know how many were actually approved? 5.
Don’t lose faith! It’s normal: they don’t know you and popular publishers don’t send e-books to whoever requests their books. Be patient. The more you review, the higher your ratio gets and the more trust-worthy you look.
2. Edelweiss. Getting books from Edelweiss is harder than getting them from NetGalley. For this one, apparently, having a blog is not obligatory either, but again, it helps with the approvals. There are so many publishers on there, and so many books. You also need to create an account and then, when you request a title, they ask you to give a reason why you’re requesting that specific title. You have to give a good reason.
I don’t use Edelweiss anymore, because I now have the contact of 15+ publishers. And I prefer physical copies or requesting directly from them.
3. First to Read. This program was created by Penguin. How it works is that you create an account (don’t need a blog) and you start with a couple of hundred points. Every time you request a title, you gain new points, and when you have enough, you can use those points to ‘‘buy’’ a title, meaning you’re still requesting it, but you’re assured a copy.
Also, it’s only available to US residents.
4. Blogging for Books. This program offers both print and e-copies. If you’re not a US resident, you can only get e-galleys. I did create myself an account, but I never used it. All they ask of you is to 1) have a blog, 2) request a title and then 3) review it. It’s pretty simple, but the titles available are not exactly glorious, in my opinion, which is why I never requested one.
5. Book Tours. A great, easy and very enjoyable way to get free e-books and arcs is by participating in book tours. Sadly, you definitely need a blog for this one and again, if you want print arcs, you usually have to be a US resident. How it works: You sign up for a book tour on one of the many websites hosting blog tours. Then, the host provides you with an e-galley (or print in some cases) normally a month before the book tour starts. You read the book and write a review for it. But you don’t post it yet – you wait until the date the host assigns you for the book tour.
Pros: free books, a lot of traffic, great interactions with other book tour participants.
Cons: it’s a promotional tour, so negative reviews aren’t exactly accepted.
What happens is that, usually, if you rate a book lower then 3 stars, the host will give you a pre-made promotional post to publish, instead of the review, such as an interview with the author, a guest post, etc. They will ask you to hold your review for when the book tour has ended.
I did a couple of book tours, when I first started blogging, but I quickly after started getting print ARCs from publishers, so I lost interest in that.
6. From publishers directly. I recommend you start with the programs, if you’re a new blogger, and then contact publishers about e-copies. You’ll learn more about requesting books from publishers in my ‘‘How to get free advance reader copies’’ post, very soon.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
I meant to both do a ‘‘how to get e-books and print books’’ post, but it would have been too long for your liking. It will come soon, though.