Receiving, Buying and Swapping Books

7:06 PM

Have you ever wondered where book reviewers purchase their books? How some receive some serious freebies? Or if it’s possible to receive free books to review? Both physical copies as well as eBooks? Are you new to all of this or just curious of your options?

One of the most frequently asked question among beginning book bloggers are often on how to receive Advanced Review Copies straight to your mailbox or eReader. Receiving these may be at times tricky unless your blog results in a nifty amount of traffic — so click here for a lovely how-to guide on this topic to see if you may qualify or if you just want to give it a shot anyway.

If you don’t think you’re quite at the appropriate amount of traffic, have no fear: there are other alternatives in receiving free books or purchasing some very cheap copies on your own dollar. (And it’s always important to remember that while it’s nice to receive freebies, that shouldn’t be the biggest incentive to running a book blog!)

So here’s a helpful list that will hopefully guide you as you try to make your book blog work. And if you have any suggestions/options for the beginners, please don’t hesitate to send me your input.

Beyond looking at the free books section on sites like Amazon or through the book app via iTunes, there’s one site in particular that many go to for free eBook downloads and that is NetGalley.

NetGalley is a very simple site to navigate and offers quite the selection. Upon registering, you take a small amount of time fill out your bio and include a link to your blog as well as other ways to contact you. After doing this, you are given the option to browse their library freely and then can submit a request to download a story that catches your eye. If chosen, you can either have it emailed to your Kindle or you can easily download the file to your computer.

Simple enough, right?

Now, the important thing to do is remember to always, always, always submit a link to your reviews so your Feedback to Approval ratio goes up. Reasoning behind this is simple: the higher your score is, the more likely it becomes for you to receive a download from certain publishers.

And trust me, there are a lot of options out there.

But since this may not be everyone’s cup of tea…

(I know I prefer the sort of books I can tuck away on my shelves and the feeling of excitement when receiving a new physical copy.)


Now, if you’re willing to pay for some books, there are many cheap options out there beyond the bargain bins at Books A Million, Barnes and Noble and other various bookchains you’re most familiar with.

It’s important to always, always check out the discounted section that bookstores have online and in stores. Sometimes there are duds that you’d never in a million years read, but there are often surprises as well. This includes bestsellers and sometimes heavily discounted boxed sets of your favorite series.

Some great shops to look into are as follows:

  • Book Outlet this outlet shop is the perfect solution to helping your craving of purchasing a large sum of new books without breaking the bank. Books at this store are often anywhere from 50-90% off their original list price. Their books are all new and unread and it’s definitely worth the look.
  • The Book Depository is one of the most popular means of purchasing new books online. They’re known for their wide selection and the fact that they provide a rare feature. Free. Worldwide. Shipping. How helpful is that? We all know how rough shipping costs may be…

I’ll be adding more to this list as I find more shops online.


Always, always check out your local thrift shop or used book store. Some people may not be fond of the idea of a used book. And then there are some who think used means damaged. Though this may be the case sometimes, there are often new books or like new books mixed in with the shelving — you just have to be willing to dig!

Best part? Used books average at $2 USD and price ranges can be anywhere.

Remember: not everybody keeps a book after they purchase it, so it’s always likely that you can find copies of bestsellers you otherwise couldn’t normally afford at an exceptionally affordable price! 

Great news, right?


We’ve all been there — struggling college student with no source of income, high school student who is saving up for one thing or another, or somebody who is just suffering from bad luck and an even worse economy. It’s okay, though. You still have options.

Let’s start with...


It’s a lesser chosen option when you have little to no money because unfortunately, you still have to pay for shipping when swapping a book with somebody for another online. If you’re able or willing to shell out a little cash to pay shipping on a book you’re giving somebody, this option is a winner. And my only tip is to be careful with who you swap with: you don’t want to be scammed.

What’s the best part about this? You can trade more than just your books on some sites. This may include DVDs, CDs and textbooks! So get those books that are collecting dust off your bookshelf and let the swapping begin!


These days we have options online to earn a little extra cash or giftcards — whether that be signing into places or taking surveys. More and more options have begun to pop up for some easy cash, and here I will list a couple of my favorite options for you.

You should note that earning the rewards isn’t an overnight process — it can take you anywhere from three weeks to a few months. But, what’s a little wait when you’re doing virtually nothing to earn a little money, right?

  • Viggle this app is simple and to the point. You check into a TV show, so long as it’s on a channel that is available for check-in, and you earn one point per minute watched. Nowadays, it offers the feature of checking into the music you are listening to as well! Super simple. Downsides are that sometimes it takes a while to recognize the audio on a show or song, but usually comes about easily and it may not be available for everyone.

    You can only be checked into one thing at a time and you must not check into anything else until the episode/song you are on is over.

    It won’t be long before you’ve gathered enough points to receive a giftcard or many other rewards. Typically, the cards will be emailed to you and the stores available often include Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, iTunes and others. If a giftcard disappears for a while, just wait it out before redeeming your points… sometimes, they run out of their cards but they do restock.
  • FeaturePoints is an easy to use app that will not quite give you the rewards that Viggle does, but still will give you rewards nonetheless. All you have to do is simply download the apps they suggest, for free, and you will receive anywhere from 50 to 130 points per app. You can check back frequently for more downloads and eventually you will be able to redeem your points for game freebies via iTunes or iTunes giftcards. I find it’s easier to have them send $5 payments to my Paypal account or payments to your Amazon account. I’ve redeemed my points for $5 to my Paypal and it’s worked just fine. It may not be a large sum of money, but it’s something — and the more points you earn, the higher rewards you can get.

If you don't know what Shelf Awareness is, it's essentially a nifty little newsletter that offers book reviews and news as well as advertisements to receive galleys and regular old fashion giveaways. Joining their mailing list is well worth it and clearly is the book reader, reviewer and seller dream.

Well, I hope this helped some of you beginners. If you have anything to add to the list, please don’t hesitate to message me — and don’t forget to spread the word, so other beginners can have a small amount of resources.

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