I am a lover of books. Anyone who knows me well knows this. In my precious free-time, I can usually be found with my nose in a book...sometimes I can be found with my nose in a book when I technically shouldn't be having free time, but that's another story. :) Lately, I've been noticing that I've passed on my love of books to my kids, and I love that! While I have been making frequent use of our local library--especially now that school is in full swing with my older two sons--I've been working on building our own library here at home, full of living books and classical literature. And all at practically no cost to me.
How do I do this, you ask? There are a couple of ways. First, I registered for free at Paperback Swap (if you sign up, please use living4him2007 as your referrer!). Upon signing up and posting 10 books, you get 2 free credits. Each credit is good toward any book, or audio books cost 2 credits. Then, when someone orders one of your books, you pay postage to send it to them. When they receive the book, you get a credit. Obviously when you order a book, the sender will pay the postage and you get it for free. I have gotten quite a few books this way, and they come in very good condition. I'm always on the lookout for free books or really cheaply priced books at garage sales, just so I can post them on Paperback Swap and keep my list fresh and keep my credits coming in.
Another way I get free books only costs me in time, and little at that. I am registered at Swagbucks, and that is also a free registration. Now, having been a member of quite a few "points" programs online, I have gotten very wary of these types of programs. But, Swagbucks is completely legit! All you do is use their search (as opposed to Google or yahoo). Each search you do has a potential for getting Swagbucks. That doesn't mean you will get Swagbucks every time you search--you won't! But, if you like researching things like me, you can earn quite a few Swagbucks in a day. Each search gives you the potential to earn up to 50 Swagbucks (realistically from my own experience, when you do get Swagbucks, it will be anywhere from 6-10 at a time), and Fridays are mega Swagbuck days, so then, the max you can earn per search goes up to 1000! I haven't gotten that one yet, but I try! :) Plus, when you refer your friends to use Swagbucks, they will match what ever Swagbucks THEY get to YOUR account for their first 48 hours of being registered. Take a look through the Swag Store and see what kind of things you can buy with your Swagbucks. I always go for the $5 Amazon gift cards, which cost 450 Swagbucks each. I have redeemed 6 of those in the past 3 months, and have been chipping away at my extensive Amazon wishlist with them. I have my Swagbucks almost down to a science now...I just got a book in the mail that I ordered with a $5 gift card I earned, while I'm waiting for the last gift card I snagged to be credited to my account (it usually takes 5-7 days), AND I'm almost ready to snag another.
With just these two programs alone, I have a pretty steady stream of free books coming in the mail. And, the kids love it, because most of the books are for them. :)
One more way that I could earn more Amazon gift cards is through my Amazon Associates program. There are 3 ways to get your commission: by check in the mail, by direct deposit, or by Amazon gift cards. Right now, I have it set to gift cards, just because I don't want to wait to get $100 and pay the processing fee required for a check, and I haven't set up direct deposit yet, but I will eventually.
So there you have it. If you love books and would love to build up a collection, but don't have the money, there are ways to do it very cheaply or even free. It takes a little more time and patience, but--at least to me, anyway--it's worth it!