I don't know about you but I love reading. I don't have as much time for it as I would like these days unfortunately but there was a time that I had a very large library. Think 'wall of books' in an apartment living room and we'd be in the ballpark. I no longer have all of those books as most were donated to libraries along the way as I moved from place to place over the years (moving is expensive and they charge by weight, yikes!). Buying books can get expensive though so now when I find time to read I typically will look for a cheaper option than purchasing at the bookstore. Often this means electronic reading but if you're a die hard physical books person there are options for you as well.
The most obvious first choice is your local library. Most libraries have online catalogs so you can see- and reserve- your book choices before even heading there but I love looking around at all there is to offer so will often take a gander at the new books area and themed areas when I arrive to pick up my books. With my commute there are also some audio books going into my bag 9 times out of 10 if we're being real. An audio book can be anywhere from 6 hours to 20 or more depending on the book which is longer than when I read them in my comfy clothes on a rainy Saturday like today... but for someone who commutes 3-4 hours minimum per work day that's not long at all and can provide a much needed change of pace to my morning routine. Getting a library card is easy... just bring in a bill in your name showing you are living in the city and most will accept that as enough. Some do have specific requests on type and number of 'proofs' though so check the website before you head over.
Once you're signed up at your library and are checking out with a nice stack of books, audiobooks, CDs (and maybe the latest Marvel or DC DVD) ask them if they partner with online libraries, inter-loan libraries or other services that can expand your reading potential. The library in my current city is tiny but they have an online library access so I'm able to download books to read or listen directly to my phone or other device for the checkout period. The last library system I was in had multiple locations as well as subscriptions to magazines, journals, e-libraries and more. You never know what they have until you ask. Take advantage of your library system!
Another service I have used over the years are book newsletters. Services like Pixel of Ink, eReaderIQ and Buck Books have regularly published lists of free and cheap books on Amazon. Pixel of Ink in particular sends you an email daily with a new list... you won't be interested in all of them but finding one a week would be pretty simple to do perusing these lists.
If you enjoy reading the classics (or need to read one for a class) check out Project Gutenberg. According to their website, they have over 57,000 free eBooks including epub books and kindle books. They have just about every classic I can think of for free on their website. You won't find the newest thriller here though as they focus on older works that have expired copywrites. Other options that is similiar is ReadPrint.
More an audio book fan... have you checked iTunes? Not just the paid book downloads (they have those too) you can buy through Apple- or Google, Amazon, and etc. but there are tons of free books out there that have been published as podcasts. The same goes for YouTube! Sometimes an author will post an older audio book on their website and through YouTube in preparation for their newest book release around the corner. I can't even tell you how many hours of content I have gotten through podcasted and streamed audio books... at least 100 in the last couple years alone. If you prefer your books in audio but don't really want to mess with YouTube and podcasting head over to LibraVox for other options.
Need children's books? Done! The International Children's Library and Read have you covered. I used to love listening to books with my Kinders. If that's a love of yours as well (teacher or family) I highly suggest checking out Storyline Online. You'll find quality videos of awesome children's books read by some of your favorite actors there.
There are literally hundreds of places to find free print and audio books on today's internet from the ones I discussed above to individual publisher's and author websites, browsing the web, trading with friends, and of course... thrift and discount stores. Even your library will occasionally have a book sale with books for under a buck. The one that I was taking a language lesson at a few weeks back has a perpetual sale of items that are being cycled out of the library as well as donated items from patrons. That sale was 25-50 for paperbacks and $1-2 for hardcovers... hard to beat those prices!
Until next time,