An experiment in free reading

I read a lot of YA fiction and review a lot, too, on the Paisley Piranha blog. Recently, I signed up as a blog tour host/reviewer with YA Bound Book Tours. As a result, I’ve been reading a lot of review books (and discovering lots of new, fabulous authors). I joined YA Bound deliberately to widen my exposure to different books/authors and also to widen my reading community since reading tends to be rather a solitary activity. A result I didn’t expect is that my bank balance has been unexpectedly buoyant the past couple of months. I didn’t realise how much I spent on books until I wasn’t spending it.

A lifetime of free books?

I often hear as a cry of joy for readers the argument that you could fill your Kindle/Kobo/Nook entirely with free books, read for the rest of your life and never spend another penny on books.

I’ve decided to test this supposition.

The rest of my life is way too large a commitment, but for the rest of the year I’m going to see if it’s possible to have a satisfactory reading experience only reading free books. For clarity, my reading matter can be:

1. Books I’ve got for free to review.

2. Books I’ve chosen which are either permafree or on a time-limited free deal.

3. Books borrowed from the library.

4. Books lent to me by friends.

5. Books given to me (since my birthday isn’t until the end of November I don’t forsee this resulting in many books during the course of this experiment :-().

But aren’t books worth paying for?

However, as both a writer and a reader the concept of “free books” makes me deeply uneasy. If a book is worth reading, it’s worth paying for, in my opinion. To ease my conscience, I’m going to allow some exceptions:

1. If I’ve read a book for free and really enjoyed it, I can buy another book by that author in order to support them and, hopefully, help them keep on writing.

2. When a writer friend releases a book I can buy a copy to support them and help their book launch (and because a lot of my writer friends are on my must-buy list and I can’t bear to wait six months for their book).

3. I can buy books for other people. Since that’s just as much as pleasure as buying for myself, that should help with any withdrawal symptoms.

And that’s about it. I’ll blog at least fortnightly to let you know how I’m getting on and whether I can stick to my rules and still enjoy reading.

If you’ve tried reading only free books for any length of time – or did so by chance – do let me know how you got on in the comments.

5 thoughts on “An experiment in free reading

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