How to get Free Books!

Recently authors have been speaking up against piracy in the YA world- which is rampant at the moment. Every time you pirate a book you are taking away not only from the author who has worked hard on that book, but also the publishing industry which means less published books in the future- it’s a vicious cycle.

Instead of pirating books, if you can’t afford any why not look at these ways of reading free books?

Ah, the magic word. No, not please, but FREE.  Let’s discuss how to get these golden NO MONEY INVOLVED books.

  1. Swoon Reads

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Swoon reads is a website with crowd sources books, and lets readers vote on what book they most want to be published! Writers can upload their work to Swoon Reads and get constructive feedback from readers, and then readers will be allowed to vote on the winning book. There are always a big selection of books to choose from, and if you can take the time picking through books you don’t like all that much to find ones you will like then you might even be able to say you helped get a book published!

Screen Shot 2016-06-11 at 22.18.58Swoon reads also publishes some great articles on upcoming YA books and news, so it’s a great place to be. On Swoon Reads you can even save books to your shelf and it’ll remember where you last read, so no forgetting your place!

Click here to go and start an account with Swoon Reads!

  • FREE!
  • Easy to use
  • Saves your place
  • No limit to the amount of books you can read at once
  • You can help out aspiring authors!
  • You can vote for your favourite books to be published into actual physical books, so when you pass it in the bookstore you can smile to yourself, knowing you HELPED for that book to be published!
  • Due to plagairism you cannot download any books
  • You can only read on Swoon Reads’s website and mobile website
  • This is not a physical book
  • Because of the nature of anyone being able to upload to Swoon Read’s you may have to spend sometime finding a good book
  • Books on Swoon Reads are transient, they move around quite a lot. When they are published they are taken down, but authors can also choose to remove them from the site, so if you get attached to a story you’ll have to remember it could be gone tomorrow.

2. Classics/Out of Copyright

I’m assuming most of you will know about this one, but lets jog your memory if not.

Did you know that books go out of copyright after 70 years? (well, arguably, there’s a lot of rules and exceptions etc, etc) But what that actually means is YOU CAN GET THAT BOOK FOR FREE NOW! With the advent of e-books the only cost of producing out of copyright books, which used to be the cost of printing and binding, has been eradicated. If you want to read a classic on an e-reader or your phone or computer YOU CAN for FREE!

Amazon, or whatever company your e-reader belongs to, will have a catalogue of them if you search for one, but here’s some websites to get started; is a website dedicated to cataloging out of copyright books

This goodreads list lists some popular out of copyright books for you to peruse

(also on sidenote this means you can read ALL THE AUSTEN YOU WANT for free!)

  • It’s free!
  • You can download them to your e-reader or app and take them everywhere you go!
  • There’s loads of choice
  • You can act well-read
  • It’s not a physical book

3. Free audiobooks

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Much like with out of copyright books, some audiobooks of out of copyright books have been made free for educational purposes. These are totally legal and free to download. There are apps for iPhone and android that will allow you to play them free of charge!

Useful links is a website used for archiving links to popular free audiobooks lets you download from their website to your computer!

Librovoxaudio does much the same, but has some foriegn translations of classics as well

Spotify also has a number of audiobooks available.

  • Good for listening/reading while working
  • Good for visually impaired people or people with dyslexic
  • Portable on a mp3 player
  • Not always the best narration
  • Takes up a lot of memory/space on your device
  • Not a physical book

4. Netgalley

Screen Shot 2018-08-01 at 15.42.10.png is a website on which publishers share e-ARCs (find out what an ARC is here)to reviewers. The majority of these books are upcoming releases, but some may have already been released and some are even ‘read now’ books, meaning you only have to sign up for a free account to download these books to your reading device and start reading!

Other titles you’ll need to apply to read. Publishers will check things like your location, and the amount of followers you have before they allow or deny you, so these may be harder to get to- but also free.

Do make sure you always leave a review after you’ve been allowed access to a book- even if its to say that you did not finish it, because publishers need these reviews to base marketing and publicity off of- plus netgalley keeps a percentage of the amount of books you’ve accessed vs the amount you’ve reviewed, and if this percentage is below 80% it may affect your future success in accessing books.

5. Your Local Library


If you are lucky enough to have a local library, then use it! It’s a great resource, plus the more people who use it, the more funding they receive. This is your best bet for getting to read the newest releases for free- and some libraries now have online e-book and audiobook services, so you may not even have to leave your house to check out books.

Bookstagram Advice: How to start a bookstagram!

So, you want advice on how to start a bookstagram?

This is the third post in a series of advice posts for bookstagrammers and bloggers! You can find the rest here, or find advice on getting ARCs here, and how to make your rep search entries more successful here!

There will be a follow up post for existing bookstagram accounts, on how to make your posts more successful, very soon!!

Please find the glossary at the bottom of this post.

1. Choosing a username

It’s always hard to chose a name which reflects you and your interests in a couple of snappy words. When choosing a bookstagram name it’s a good idea to feature a bookish element, i.e. cityoffiction- it has the word fiction and is a reference to the Mortal Instrument books. When you first start out other accounts who are also just starting out will be a lot more likely to follow you back if they can tell you are a bookstagram straight away.

Try combining words and references, or things you like.

For instance, Lauren at @fictiontea likes fiction and tea. It’s simple but incredibly memorable!

Make sure you aren’t choosing a name already taken. Even if you are hyphenating a username already in use, for instance @cityoffiction is taken but you use @city_of_fiction instead, that’s not a good move. Firstly, it seems like you are a copycat. Secondly, you won’t be memorable without an original name!

Try not to hyphenate at the start or end of your username as well, as this can make it difficult to remember your username for other users.

So, once you have a catchy bookish name, i.e. cloudydayreads, what next?

2. Start following other bookstagrammers

Though you might be following a few already you want to be following MORE once you are a bookstagram. Plus there are so many amazing bookstagrams out there, why deny yourself?

A good place to start is by looking through who you favorite bookstagrammers follow, and then taking a look at their accounts and seeing if you want to follow them! Follow other new bookstagrammers as well. Go through the recent uses of the #bookstagram hashtag and check out accounts there- these new bookstgrammers are more likely to follow you back.

3. Find an aesthetic

This one is a bit optional, and most people will fall into an aesthetic sooner or later anyway, but you can always do a little research into the kind of photography and feeds that are your favorites. Save pictures you really like for later inspiration, and make mood boards to help you along! Pinterest and using the new save option are both good ways to do this.

Most accounts will be taking pretty plain-ish photos when they first start, it’s also daunting to think you could be confined to one theme, but it does help your photography improve and gives you a visual guide. Other accounts with the same kind of theme may also be more likely to follow you!

4. Set up your photos

Find a good place in your house to take photos. Preferably somewhere with the same-ish background, because consistency looks good in feeds.

Think of a place that looks nice in photos, maybe a bedspread, a table, the outside world! It could be anywhere! Regardless of what people may tell you, phone cameras are great! They let you edit on your phone, and there’s no extra expense. Definitely don’t rush out and buy extra equipment because you feel you need to before you know you’re committed, you don’t want to waste money + lots of successful bookstagrammers don’t use fancy equipment and still produce amazing photos!

I can’t say this one enough- USE NATURAL LIGHT! Please don’t try and take photos with artificial lighting, they nearly always* come out grainy and weird looking. Try and use consistent lighting as well, so if bright sunshine is part of your photos continue to use it so your feed looks cohesive.

*unless you are using editing software or light boxes.

5. Post daily/ or as often as you can!

Bookstagrams grow faster with more regular posts, so the more you can post the better! Aim for at least one post a day if you are looking to grow your following. Posting is one of the only times you can be found by other bookstagrammers, as you will turn up on the hashtags you use, so make sure to make an impression.

6. Use the right hashtags

Using the right hashtags is important, because posting is one of the ways other bookstagrammers will find you.

I always use;

#bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookstagramfeatures #igreads #instareads #instabook #yalit #yareads #yalove #yafiction #books #bookphotography #bibliophile #reading #bookish 

and then add on other tags when they are relevant-

#rainbowbooks #bookishrainbow or #yafantasy #acowar etc.

You can also tag the author and publisher in the post so other people can find it through their page.

7. Join photography challenges

Photography challenges are a good way to stay motivated and plan out your photos. Here is a bookstagram secret (well, not really, but my sister had no idea) most of us don’t take our photos on the day we post them. I take a months worth of photos over three days every month, and then post them on my practice account to work out the days.

It’s hard when you are taking so many photos to think of ideas for them all, so challenges are a really good idea!

They also encourage you to meet new accounts and become more involved in the bookstagram community. And you can always team up with some other people and make your own challenges!

You can find challenges on accounts solely dedicated to uploading the challenges from that month. Type bookstagram challenges into a profile search and you should find some! Or look out for the challenges your favourite bookstagrammers are participating in, and join them! There are no rules, you can join whenever and quit whenever and you can even do more then one challenge at once!

8. Catching up on the lingo

Around bookstagram we’ve got a couple of sayings that non-bookstagrammers (or muggles, take your pick) might not understand. But worry not, I am here to de-mugglefy you!

ARCs/ARC- ARC (mostly pronounced arc, like the boat) stands for Advanced Reader Copy and is a book sent out to reviewers/bookstagrammers before the books general release to promote the book on social media. Read my post about how to apply for ARCs here!

Bookstagram- a hashtag on instagram dedicated to the posting of book photos. Bookstagram has become the collective term for the bookish community on instagram, much like booktube on youtube and Booklr on tumblr!

Bookstagrammer- someone who posts on bookstagram. Do you post pictures of books? Then you sir are a bookstagrammer!

Candles- forget everything you know about candles. On bookstagram candles are gods.

Giveaways- giveaways are people giving away stuff! You’ll have to find the original post to find what the person is giving away and how to enter, but once you’ve followed the rules you’ll be in with a chance of winning!

Rep searches- you might see a lot of people posting rep search entries and wonder what is going on. Rep searches are when companies are looking for new representatives in the bookstagram community. They want people to take pictures of their stuff, and promote it to their audience, and in return the bookstagrammers get stuff sent to them! You can read my whole article about how to enter rep searches more successfully here!

Subscription boxes- sub boxes in bookstagram tend to be book boxes, which get sent out on a monthly (sometimes quarterly) basis. Boxes, for example Fairyloot and Owlcrate, send subscribers a box full of book related goodies and a chosen book each month, and everything is a complete surprise until it turns up! You’ll see them around, and you might witness a lot of unboxings as well.

Unboxings- when people get mail they like to show people whats inside! This could be anything- books, bookmarks, subscription boxes, candles, the list goes on! You can also post unboxings on your story- make sure to tag the shop so they can see!

Questions you still may have;

Why is everyone on bookstagram obsessed with candles? 

They smell good and look pretty.

What do the random assortment of capital letters and numbers on people’s bios mean?

They are rep codes! You can use them to get a discount at a shop.

How many times a day should I post?

Up to you, but try and be consistent with whatever you choose.

Do I have to buy all this stuff, books and candles and funkos, to be a popular account?

NO. Never think you have to buy into the commercial side of bookstagram to be a part of this community.

I want to make friends but I don’t know how?

Message them and let them know! Ask them their favourite book! Keep in mind bigger accounts may not have the time to respond to you, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get one- instead try a smaller account!

What editing apps should I use?

I literally just use instagram, but I know VSCO is very popular.

Was this helpful? Let me know!

You can find me on bookstagram, I’m @cityoffiction!

ARC advice: How to get ARCS/or How to make your requests more successful!(with UK publisher contact list!)


Want to know how to get ARCS? Want to know how to make your requests more successful? Want to know what ARC means?! You’ve come to the right place!

This post is the second in a series of advice posts for bloggers/bookstagrammers!

There are already some ARC advice blog posts which are extremely helpful but they all focus around how to contact US publishers, not UK ones, so this is going to be a little different. I’ll share my general advice and then share some UK specific advice as well.

ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy, and they are proof copies of books sent out by publishers to reviewers. These can also be called ‘Unfinished proofs’. For the purposes of this post I am referring to physical ARCs, but I will briefly talk about e-ARCs and netgalley (and there will be a whole post dedicated to this soon, so keep an eye open for it!)

Publisher’s send these a couple of months before the books general release to get an early pool of reviews, and to hype up publicity.

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Rep Search Advice: How to Make Your Rep Search Entries More Successful!

Before we start, a disclaimer: I’ve been made a rep three times for three different companies, but this in no way makes me an expert. These are not hard set rules, more advice from me to you on how to become a rep/be a good rep. You may even know things I don’t know, in which case leave a comment!

It’s also EXTREMELY important to remember that rep searches aren’t giveaways- you are being employed to do a job for someone. Please don’t enter rep searches if you just want the ‘stuff’, only enter if you are passionate about promoting that stuff to your followers.

1. Before the rep search is posted

Really the first steps to being chosen a rep starts BEFORE the rep search is even posted. If you have a favorite company then check out when their last rep search was held, and for how long a rep period the new reps will be kept on for. Expect a new rep search just before or just after these reps are retired.

Once you know around when the rep search will be held you should make yourself known to the shop owner (not in a creepy way!) but leave comments on their posts, make conversation. If you can, buy something from their shop and post pictures and unboxings. This will really make the shop owner remember you and they’ll know in advance that you’d be a dedicated rep.

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