I made it a whole year without buying a book. It has not been easy, but it was not difficult either. If you have access to a library with a decent ebook catalog or an impressive physical catalog you can read a lot for free. Looking into the next year, I will not limit myself to libraries, but will the e-catalog in my rotation when looking for books.
One of my reasonings for attempting this challenge was to see if someone who enjoys reading could actually read for free. In short, yes. It is very easy to read for free if you have access to a decent library. Something that has bothered me for a long time about the bookish world is how expensive it can be. When I totaled up my book cost in 2021, I was shocked. Should you feel ashamed of how much you spend on books? Absolutely not, but moving forward I will be more mindful of my bookish purchases.
How can you start reading for free? First, join your local library. I promise there will be at least one title that interests you that you can read. Libraries are great places for so many reasons, one being they offer three formats for readings: hardcopies, ebooks, and audiobooks. You can access ebooks and audiobooks through the app Libby, but check out your library’s selection of physical audiobooks. There will not be a wide selection, but if you are looking to read older books or classic titles you can likely find them in that section. Outside of joining your local library, you can use websites like Librivox, which houses a large selection of classic books and plays found in the public domain. If you enjoy short stories, consider listening to podcasts that feature dramatic readings of short stories. My favorite podcast for short stories is LeVar Burton Reads, which is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, and Stitchers.
What are my biggest takeaways?
- Experimenting with new genres is easy when it is free.
- Libraries get new releases, and often there isn’t a long wait if you request the week of the release date.
- Popular titles will have up to a 13-month wait. Place a hold, and move on with your reading journey. I canceled the hold on many titles I knew I was not going to get a copy of in 2022.
- The first book in a series almost always has a wait, but the rest of the series typically does not.
- Now that I have done close to 365 days of this, I am more thoughtful about what books I want to purchase and which I will read from the library.
Check out my monthly check-ins
- Wrapping Up The Year 2022: I “spent” $546.94 On Books This Year!
- A year without books: January Wrap up
- A Year Without Books: February Wrap Up
- A Year Without Books: March Wrap-Up
- A Year Without Books: April Wrap-Up
- A Year Without Books: May Wrap-Up
- A Year Without Books: June Wrap-Up
- A Year Without Books: July Wrap-Up
- 2022 Reading Challenge: A Year Without Books
- Wrapping Up the Year: $335 in books