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Three ways to use Goodreads to find discounted and free books galore

written by Betsy Flak on 2018-08-13

Today, I'm going to share a strategy about finding discounted and free books that I stumbled upon recently: Goodreads.

Note: This was originally posted on February 20th, 2018. See the original post here.

Back in 2017, I joined Goodreads. I mostly did this for the author side of life. Since I did it over the holidays, I had extra time, so I entered in a bunch of the books I'd read. I also started using it to keep track of the books I wanted to read. It was a pretty useful little tool.

What I didn't know was that Goodreads would start emailing me. Not so much that it annoyed me and I unsubscribed (I hate a full inbox), but enough that it caught me eye. In particular, there are three different email types from Goodreads that I use to find discounted and free books.

1. The Want to Read shelf sale

Example of Goodreads email regarding sale in Want to Read shelf

This is by far my favorite thing Goodreads does. When a book on your Want to Read shelf is discounted, Goodreads sends you a quick little email telling you so. For me, this works wonders. Typically, the things stopping me from buying a book are the price (especially for traditionally published books that tend to be $9.99 or more) and already having more books to read than I have time for.

Enter this email. First, it brings books down to the $0.99 - $2.99 price range, often with 60%, 70%, or 80% off (who can resist a good sale?). Then it says something like "today only," making the decision easy for an indecisive reader like me. Hmm, I can get 90% off but only if I buy it today? Done. And now it's at the top of my reading list since I actually bought the book.

P.S. Yes, I bought the book shown in the picture. No, I haven't started it yet (still working on The Mortal Instruments series).


2. The generic sale

Example of Goodreads email regarding sales on popular books

This is a good option if you're looking for books that you haven't considered yet or in a different genre from what you usually read. Here, Goodreads emails you a list of popular books in a variety of genres that are on sale (again, 60%, 70%, or 80% off, usually in that $0.99 - $2.99 price range).

I have to say that I have yet to buy a book off this one. That said, I always find books that I want to read on it. But I usually don't pull the trigger since again, I have too many books to read as it is. For prolific readers, this is a great option.


3. The Want to Read shelf giveaway

Example of Goodreads email regarding giveaway for book on Want to Read shelf

Again, Goodreads uses your Want to Read shelf to send you a targeted email. This time, it's for a giveaway, usually for a certain number of print books of one of the books on your Want to Read shelf. You enter to win and hope for the best.

I have entered a giveaway using this option. I didn't win, but hey, I gave it a go. Bonus: Entering the giveaway didn't result in any extra emails from Goodreads or anyone else. (Again, I love a clean inbox.)


There you have it. Three ways to use Goodreads to find discounted and free books.


Want even more discounted and free books? Join my email list! Every two weeks I send out a newsletter, which always includes the latest free and discounted books and giveaways. Plus, you'll get a free copy of my choose-your-own-adventure-style book, The Impossible Adventure (The Clan-Vampire Clash: Meet Your Misadventure #1). Sign up to hear about discounted and free books.