How To Save Money On Ebooks: A Bargain-Hunter's Guide

I know I’m not alone in admitting I have an ebook hoarding problem. The allure of 99-cent novels and accumulating books that don’t take up physical space (I live in NYC, space isn’t cheap) is something I just can’t resist.

And I’ve become a master at not paying full price for ebooks. With so many sales, discount codes and loopholes, why should anyone? I’m not saying I won’t pay full price for a book, I absolutely will and have. If there is a book I must have immediately, I will pay for it as soon as it’s available. I’ve even paid for books I’ve gotten review copies of, because if something is that good and I want to support the people who worked hard to create it, I will.

I just can’t pay full price for every single book I buy because of this elusive thing called money. So below are my tips for scouting out deals and making sure your bank account isn’t demolished by your growing collection of ebooks.

1. Libraries

Free books! Many libraries are adapting to ebooks with digital lending. While this service varies among libraries, it’s worth checking out what your local library offers in terms of ebooks. The NYPL has a whole section of their website dedicated to ebooks and managing lending services online.


This site is great for finding deals. You can set your price range, browse by genre and create sale alerts for authors and titles you’re interested in. Right now, I have my eye on Jemima J by Jane Green, a book I’ve been wanting to re-read on my Kindle for months. I created an alert and when the price goes down, eReaderIQ will send me an email. All I have to do is wait.

3. Discount codes

My primary reading device is the Kindle app on my phone. I also have a Kindle Fire, but it’s bulky and I only use it for flights or long trips. Because my phone is my main reading device, I can use an assortment of reading apps, which allows me to purchase books from different online retailers. Kobo is known for having awesome, multi-use discount codes. If an ebook’s price won’t budge on Amazon, I turn to Kobo and read the book using the Kobo app on my phone. Same for iBooks.

This might be cumbersome for some folks, but for me it works fine and I’m able to access books from different retailers on the same device. If you read on a tablet I’d imagine this method would also work for you.

4. Book blogs

We post 12 ebooks for less than $3 every week in our Cheaper by the Dozen column here on the RT blog. Dear Author posts a few deals every day and Sarah Wendell from Smart Bitches Tweets ebook deals daily. Smut Book Club also Tweets ebook deals often — usually prompting readers to “one click that bitch”. SM Book Obsessions has a Free & $0.99 book deals page that gets updated daily. There are so many blogs doing all the deal hunting for you!

5. Publishers

If you have a favorite publisher, and if that publisher has a good online presence, they will usually post their discounted ebooks. If you love HarperTEEN books, Epid Reads posts HC’s YA sales on their Epic Deals page. Siren Bookstrand has a mobile app that provides readers with 12 free books if they download it. Check out the websites and social media accounts of publishers you like to see if they promote their ebook sales. If they do, keep an eye on them!

6. Subscription services

Subscription services are, in my opinion, the next up-and-coming thing. An ad for Amazon’s possible subscription service recently leaked. The subscription service Oyster debuted not too long ago and has been adding more books to their collection. If you read a lot and easy access to a large digital collection sounds appealing, subscription services might be the way to go. If Amazon starts offering an ebook subscription service for a reasonable price, I will definitely sign up.

How do you save money on ebooks? Leave me tips in the comments!