There are more books than you could possibly read in your entire lifetime, so finding titles you’re likely to enjoy isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are lots of resources available that can help you discover your new favorite author.
Libraries, Thrift Shops, and Book Clubs
Go to the library! Yes, they’re still around, and they’re filled with thousands of books you can check out for free. Many libraries also have movies, music, and video games, as well.
Some libraries are partnered with Overdrive (iOS, Android), an app that allows you to check out e- and audiobooks. This means you don’t even have to leave your house to check out a new book—you just need a library card and the app.
Of course, after the library, the best place to find physical books is at a bookstore. If you’re looking for discounts, thrift shops and some local bookstores sell used books. They might have a few scuff marks, but that won’t prevent you from reading them.
Another great way to find new books is to join a book club. You should be able to find one at your local library or bookstore. The club members decide on a new book to read (usually each month or every two weeks), and then all the members meet to discuss it.
When you’re in a book club, you’re constantly reading new things and thinking about what you’re reading. It also introduces you to genres you wouldn’t normally choose on your own.
Buy an E-reader
E-readers might not have that awesome new book smell, or the fun of tangible page turns, but they do save a lot of trees. However, the best reason to get an e-reader is the large library of books you can download.
You can store thousands of titles on a device smaller than most books. You can also download and read files in many formats on an e-reader. If you have PDFs or textbooks to read, you can load them onto your e-reader and take them with you wherever you go.
Here are some of our favorite e-readers:
- Kindle: The classic device from Amazon only has four gigabytes of storage, but that still holds thousands of books. It has a 167-PPI, glare-free touch display, and a backlight so you can comfortably read at night. It downloads books from the Kindle Store via Wi-Fi, or a computer via USB cable. It also plays audiobooks via Bluetooth. Like all Kindles, its battery can last for weeks, even with daily use.
- Kindle Paperwhite: The Paperwhite is the upgraded version of the original Kindle. It has a 300-PPI screen, an IPX8 waterproof rating, and multiple storage size options. There’s also a cellular data version that gives you a free connection anywhere you can get service (really, it’s free—Amazon covers the cost of the cell coverage). If you have the cash, the Kindle Oasis is an even better upgrade that gives you page buttons, adjustable warm lighting, and a slightly bigger screen.
- Kobo Clara HD Six-Inch Carta: If you want to avoid the Kindle ecosystem, there are other options, like the Carta. This e-reader has eight gigabytes of storage—more than enough for thousands of e-books. It has a touch display with a backlight. The Carta displays Kindle format e-books if you convert them in Calibre. It uses the Overdrive app or a computer to load other e-book formats natively.
It’s never been easier to acquire new books. There are so many online markets for new and used books, it’s almost impossible not to find the book you want online.
Here are some of our favorite sites:
- Amazon: The tech giant we know today started as one of the first online bookstores. It remains the leading marketplace for ordering books and e-readers. Many writers skip print versions entirely and self-publish their books straight to the Kindle Store.
- ThriftBooks: This is our favorite site to buy books. It has a huge library of used titles for insanely cheap (everything we’ve ordered has been under $4). Usually, if you order more than $10 to $15 worth of books, you get free shipping. The only caveat is it can sometimes take a couple of weeks to get your stuff.
- Abe Books: Another great online site with tons of used books. This site also has a lot of first editions and rare books. If you have the cash, they even have some incredibly expensive giant maps and manuscripts from centuries ago.
- Book Finder: This website indexes books that are for sale all over the internet. You can search by author, title, and ISBN. Then, you can search by individual entry across many sites. It’s useful when you’re having trouble finding a particular title or if you just want to find the cheapest option.
- Project Gutenberg: This online library of 60,000+ e-books are all in the public domain, so they’re free to distribute and download. Most of these are classics and old books that are difficult to find in hard copy.
If you’d like to read more, but just don’t have the time, audiobooks are a great option. They allow you to listen to books while you’re driving, doing the yard work, cleaning the house, or any other fun adult chore. The narrators also add their personal flair, which, when done right, can add a lot to the story.
Here are our favorite services for audiobooks:
- Audible: The largest seller and producer of audiobooks, this Amazon company is also integrated into the Kindle environment. This means it’s incredibly easy to download titles to your e-reader, or you can use the Audible app (iOS, Android).
- Audiobooks.com: This popular audiobook hub has thousands of books and podcasts available for download. You subscribe for a monthly fee, and then you can check out two books every month. There are also special offers if you want to purchase more.
- Overdrive: You can check out thousands of audiobooks for free from your local library or school with this app. It also includes two other apps that have the same e-book collection. The Libby app has a more modern design, while the Sora app is specifically for schools and children.
Online Communities and Blogs
If you want to discover new books and authors, you only get so much from the title, cover, and brief description. Fortunately, there are many online communities that rate, review, and discuss all forms of literature.
These sites can give you a better idea of what a book is about, and help you find new authors in your favorite genres:
- Goodreads: This site has over 90 million members, making it the largest book community on the web. When you create an account, you can keep track of the books you’ve read, rate them, and publish reviews. You can also follow other users, and see what they’re reading and what they’ve reviewed. It’s the perfect place to connect with other readers and get recommendations.
- Bookish: Bookish is an editorial site filled with literary articles and book reviews. It’s also a fantastic resource if you want to start a book club because it provides recommendations, discussion guides, games, challenges, and more.
- Amazon Book Review: This popular book blog has a very active group of reviewers. It mainly sticks to books available on Amazon (which is almost every book published), but there’s also a regular podcast and newsletter.
- Reddit: There are tons of book-related subreddits with incredibly active communities. r/books is the most popular, and it’s full of general book discussions and recommendations. r/bookclub is, essentially, an online book club. Members regularly pick new books to read and discuss. It has 70k subscribers, so it’s a great way to find new books and get involved in the community. r/booksuggestions and r/suggestmeabook are also fairly active. If you share the kind of books and genres you like, other members with similar taste will make suggestions and help you find new books.
Book lovers should never run out of options with so many great resources to find new books. Whether you peruse the stacks at your library or join a virtual book club, there will always be more books to read!