Getting Free E-books Safely and Legally

I recently signed up for Blasty after it was recommended to me by several authors. I knew when I went into it that I wouldn’t like seeing how many times my books have been pirated. Even so, I was unprepared to learn that I’ve been robbed of about $50,000 worth of e-books! To put that in perspective, one of my publishers just sent me a monthly royalty check for $2.19.

Now, I know most of the people downloading pirated copies would never have paid to buy my books legally. They would say that since they weren’t going to make a purchase anyway, what’s the difference? Why should they be deprived of reading the book? Well, I’m never going to buy a mansion, but you don’t see me breaking into one while the owners are away just so I can enjoy lounging around it for several hours. The kicker, though, is that no one has to be deprived of reading an e-book anyhow.

There are legal ways to get free or cheap e-books that support authors. I wrote a whole article about it in August of 2012. I think that post bears updating and repeating, because I really do want to stay positive and encourage all the voracious readers out there to get ahold of the books they want the right way. As an added benefit, these methods are way safer for your computer. In using Blasty, I came across half-a-dozen pirate sites that tried to load a virus to my computer (just for visiting the page, not even hitting that download button). You certainly don’t want to crash a $500+ computer trying to steal a $3.99 book.

So without further ado, here are some great ways to legally download those e-books you want:

1. LIBRARIES – If you’re a reader, you can’t tell me you don’t love the library. With so many libraries stocking their Overdrives with e-books, you don’t even have to leave home. Downloading e-books from the library is free to patrons, yet it also helps out the authors. The library purchases a copy of the author’s book to lend out. If the librarian sees that the book is popular (feel free to borrow it 50,000 times!), then she/he will be likely to order more titles by that author. This gives us writers exposure to all the readers in that library system and can really help our rankings. I get at least half of the books I read from my library.

And if your library doesn’t have the e-book you want, go to their website and look for something like “Send Request” to ask your library to either borrow the book from another library through Interlibrary Loans or to purchase a copy of the e-book for the Overdrive. You can also just use the “Contact Us” on the library website to contact a librarian, or you can visit the library in person. Your taxes are already supporting the libraries, so you might as well use them.

2. FREE READS – A lot of authors offer free reads—either permanently or for a given week or weekend. Jump on these offers! If the author is new to you, this is a great way to try out their work. At the time of my writing this, there are over 100,000 free e-books on Amazon alone. You can find free books in lots of different places, including

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:

Barnes & Noble:




Coffee Time Romance:

3. GIVEAWAYS – Every author I know does a giveaway at some point, and there are also the fantastic TRR Parties at The Romance Reviews, where readers get to play games to be entered for prizes. Yet you wouldn’t believe how many people skip these giveaways, or they win and never collect their prize. Your chance of winning can be 100% if you’re the only one who takes the thirty seconds to enter. The best part is that entering these contests boosts traffic and helps us authors get the word out about our books. You can increase your odds of winning even more if you follow a blog hop, where multiple authors participate and offer prizes. You’ll see announcements for giveaways on Twitter and other social media, as well as author websites. Don’t miss the giveaways and contests on review sites, either. Here are just a few:

Long and Short Reviews (LASR):

The Romance Reviews (TRR):

Coffee Time Romance:

Hearts on Fire Reviews:

4. BOOK BLOGGERS/REVIEWERS – Authors everywhere are desperate to have their books reviewed, yet there aren’t enough reviewers to handle the demand. You don’t have to be a fantastic writer yourself to do a review. Just write a paragraph or two saying what you honestly thought about a book. It’s so simple: explain what you liked about the story and what you didn’t like about it. That’s it! As author Pippa Jay commented, you can start by reviewing a few books you’ve already read. Here are some sites looking for reviewers:

Manic Readers:

The Romance Reviews (TRR):

The Romance Studio:

Joyfully Reviewed:

Night Owl Reviews:

Long and Short Reviews:

Coffee Time Romance:

Hearts on Fire Reviews:

As a last resort, you can e-mail the author directly to request a copy for review. We’d much rather gift you an e-book than see you go out and get a pirated one. As long as you hold up your end of the bargain with a rating and review on Amazon and Goodreads, we authors are happy to work out a trade.


So please keep reading, and get those e-books the ethical way. I can’t express my gratitude enough to all the readers out there who have bought my books and supported and encouraged me to keep writing. Thank you!


See the original post “Legal Alternatives to Piracy” at


Picture from (Creative Commons)

2 responses to “Getting Free E-books Safely and Legally

  1. Authors and publishers are being forced to walk the financial plank. Not only do these brigands cost us hard-earned income, they can even contribute to ending our careers. Sales determine an author’s success and if thousands of our books are being downloaded from the pirate sites instead of legitimate sites, it can seriously impact our sales and future career.

    What surprises us the most about these bandits is they list “being a mom” on their profiles. Are these moms going into grocery stores and stealing food? If they need a new car, do they steal the neighbor’s? Do they spot a designer dress and stuff it in their pants and run out the front door? Probably not, because they know they’ll end up in jail with a nice arrest record and fingerprint goop all over their hands.

    • I know. It’s not only frustrating; it’s demoralizing for us authors. That’s why I want to convince all those I can to take advantage of the legitimate freebies and bargains instead of using black market sites. And I found proof positive that those illegal sites really can hide nasty computer viruses. Yet another reason not to go that route.

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