Lucky kids in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia can get a free book every month from the Dolly Parton Foundation.
You must live in an area that offers the program; click the “register my child” link to see if your child is eligible. If you don’t qualify — or you don’t have kids — why not share this opportunity with friends or family members who might?
The premise is simple: take a book and leave a book in one of the small boxes in various locations around the world.
If you haven’t seen Little Free Libraries’ book houses around your town, check out their website to see if there’s one in your community — or even start one. Last summer, I found one outside a McDonald’s near my home. I made sure to always keep a few books in the car so that I always had one to leave in case I found one that I wanted.
Attend or host a book swap. Families who have gently used books, that they no longer read, swap them for other books they would like to add to their libraries. If a family brings five books, they get to take five different books home.
Many publishers offer giveaways in the form of sweepstakes or contests on social media. They will often give away their brand-new titles or collections. Follow your favorite publishers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here are a few that I follow that do giveaways several times a year.
Again, you’re not guaranteed to find anything you like, but if you’re looking for children’s books, keep your eyes open for garage sales held by retiring teachers. They usually have immense classroom libraries and often just want to pass on their books to eager readers as they downsize and enter retirement.
Scholastic Reading Clubs
Find a classmate who runs a Scholastic Reading Club.
Also, check with your child’s teacher to see if they’ll make the book orders available, or sign up if you’re a teacher in a public, private or home school. As a bonus, teachers who organize reading clubs earn points to redeem for free books.
Summer Reading Programs
There are various organizations and libraries that reward kids with a free book for tracking their reading over the summer.
To make room for all their new books and generate money to pay for guest lectures and programs, most libraries have book sales once or twice a year. I’ve bought hardcovers for $1 to $2 and paperbacks for $0.50 to $1.
For the best selection, be there when the doors open on the first day. On the last day of the sale, prices are usually slashed even further, allowing you to get a bag full of books for just a few dollars.
The kind and quality of books you’ll find in local thrift stores vary by the store and region. I find that the best books are at thrift stores in more affluent neighborhoods or towns. A friend of mine once found a set of hardcover Harry Potter books in excellent condition for a dollar each and resold the books on Ebay for a nice profit.
Edwards, Charlotte. "A Home Library on a Budget: 9 Places to Find Free and Low-Cost Books." The Penny Hoarder. The Penny Hoarder, 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/building-a-home-library-low-cost-books/>.
Https://www.facebook.com/growingbookbybook. "Want to Build Your Child's Home Library? Try These 8 FREE Ideas!" Growing Book by Book. Growing Book by Book, 28 Aug. 2016. Web. 28 Dec. 2016. <http://growingbookbybook.com/8-great-ways-to-get-free-books-to-build-a-childs-library/>.