10 Loopholes To Exploit When You’re In A Book-Buying Ban

Just to be clear, when I committed to the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge, I didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to add new books to my collection. I only meant that I wasn’t going to read any new books I acquired and that I wasn’t going to buy them with my own money.  

I simply wanted to save money for the month and I have been fairly successful on that front.

But I will admit that more than a few books have entered my collection and my home library keeps growing, which is a wonderful thing. All of them were free (to me) and I haven’t read them so I haven’t failed the challenge yet!

If you find yourself in a book-buying ban for whatever reason, I have compiled 10 ways to get your hands on new books without having to buy any of them. I hope you find this list useful!

10 Loopholes To Exploit When You’re In A Book-Buying Ban


1 – Plan a date with your partner at a bookstore and hint aggressively that he or she should buy that amazing book you’ve heard so much about. 

  • It can also be family member or anyone whose books you have easy access to. Once your special person is there with you, go immediately toward the book you have your eye on and start gushing about how amazing it is.  If you’re effusive and annoying enough, you just gained easy access to a great new book.

2 – Visit your local library!

  • If you are addicted to buying books, it makes perfect sense to finally get a library card and borrow all the books you want. Unfortunately, you eventually have to return them but it’ll save you tons of money.


3 – Browse the internet for free eBooks

  • If you have a Kindle, it’s easy to find hundreds of books for free! Granted, not all of them will be great, but if you have a craving for Classics, you’re in luck. And if Romance is your thing, there are tons of free books available. There is also Free-eBooks.net and plenty of other websites and phone apps. Free books  are literally a Google search away.

4 – Request an eARC from NetGalley

  • You will be more likely to receive a book you actually want to read if you maintain feedback ratio of 80%. Don’t go crazy requesting all the eARCS because you probably won’t read all of them, which is going to negatively affect your feedback ratio. But if you’re careful and diligent, it’s one of the easiest ways to get free books.

5 – Visit Blogging For Books and get a physical book you’d like to read straight from the publisher

  • It’s a great program that only allows bloggers to request one book at a time, which will benefit people who lack self-control when it comes to requesting free books. You request a book, you review it within 90 days, and then you can request a new book. It’s simple! And very free.

Blog and you shall receive

6 – Ask a friend to borrow his or her most recent, favorite book

  • For this to work, you will need a friend who trusts you. So if you have a reputation for not returning books or returning books damaged, you’re out of luck. Skip to the next step. 

7 – Create a Craigslist ad begging for free books or browse for ads offering books for free

  • Only do this if you’re desperate or if you’re bold and adventurous. Craigslist is a strange place filled with stranger people, but there are lots of goodies and treasures to be found there. If your ad is funny and/or desperate enough, you might just get a reply! You can also browse the ads and look out for people trying to get rid of their books. It sounds crazy to me, but it happens a lot.
Craigslist Ad
Meet a stranger at a motel to get a box of free hardbacks. It’s not as scary as you think.

8 – Participate in a Book Swap!

  • Be on the lookout for Book Swap events hosted by bloggers (such as this one, which is unfortunately now over). Or join a website like BookMooch if you have books you no longer need and would like to receive new books in exchange.

9 – Sign up for the 1-month free trial of Kindle Unlimited

  • It’s like Spotify for books! If you only committed to the ban for one month, this free trial is perfect. Once you sign up, you will have access to thousand of books for free. Don’t forget to cancel the subscription if you don’t want to pay $9.99 a month after. Or keep it! It’s a pretty sweet deal.

10 – When someone asks: “Hey, can you do me a big favor?” Respond with “I will if you buy me a new book.”

  • This will either result in you getting a new book or people never asking you for a big favor ever again. You ether win or you win.

Please let me know of any other loopholes you have discovered and write them in the comments section below.

I have exploited 5 of the ones listed, but I won’t reveal which ones. Can you guess?

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35 thoughts on “10 Loopholes To Exploit When You’re In A Book-Buying Ban

  1. Ooh these are fantastic tips! I don’t have to use ALL of them yet because I have so many unread books at the moment, but I’m filing these away for the future.

  2. I exploit the waitlist. I’m on a waiting list for a bunch of books, and when my turn comes up, I get the book, even though I’m supposed to be reading the books I own, not reading new ones.

  3. Haha – this made me laugh!
    I’m going to guess you’ve used #1, #4, #5, #6, and #9. ??
    I’m a big believer in #2. That is where all my problems lie. Except for a biggie – no financial problems with the library!
    I don’t read e-books so scratch all the loopholes that have to do with ebooks.
    But Blogging For Books would be so much fun, and perfect for me, if only I did not live outside of the US.
    I had never thought to try #10 (I’m too nice) – good idea! 🙂

  4. Naomi, that was uncanny! You get them all right. lol
    I haven’t had a chance to try #10 yet. I feel like people won’t take me seriously when I say it. But I’ll try to adopt a deadly serious tone so they know I mean business.

  5. Haha! These are brilliant! I especially love number 1, and shall bear it in mind if you ever invite me out for coffee at a bookstore… 😉 Just off to visit Blogging for Books now – one I haven’t come across before…

    1. You’re so right. I personally don’t feel that we should give any of our books away, but I don’t want to assume that everyone feels that way. So I included an option for people who want to do some spring cleaning. I truly don’t understand it, though. My books are ALL my preciouses.

      1. Sadly for us, I know there are people who do give them away and that is really up to them. (Though I’m the sort of person who’d save them like stranded kittens XD )

        Books hold more than just the stories they tell. They hold memories: from of how you came about them, the reading process, to how you behaved when you were digesting the content

        For me its like I’m giving away pieces of my soul O_O

  6. Nice reminder post! I’m a big fan of #2 – since I work at one! (Also why I don’t buy a whole lot of books.) And I’ve never visited Blogging for Books! Intriguing.

  7. Haha awesome loopholes! 😀 I love the many ebooks you can acquire, but somehow only real books feel real to me 🙂 Also ha I need to get a special book buying someone!
    I rely on the uni library and Scribd though of course I don’t get to keep them and I have a 1 book max a month rule so I love choosing each book and spend ages deciding.

    1. I know what you mean. I filled my Kindle with tons of new books recently, but they don’t really feel like they’re part of my library. It’s strange.

      I miss my university library. It was enormous and wonderful. sigh.

  8. Haha, this is such a great post! I laughed so hard at that Craigslist ad. Unfortunately, Kindle Unlimited isn’t available in Australia (but then maybe that’s a blessing in disguise). I struggle with the concept of book buying bans, but I do A LOT of these already so now I can kinda trick myself into thinking that I’m sorta technically on a ban (except not really, but we can pretend).

    1. Thanks, Lauren!

      I should label all of these kinds of posts as being U.S. – centric. Sometimes I forget I have readers from other countries. Sorry 🙁

      A book-buying ban is not for everyone. But I just wanted to try it as an experiment, also, I will be moving soon so I needed to save money. It seems it worked out. I won’t place myself in another ban at least for another year when my book buying gets out of control.

  9. Haha that last point – story of my life. I’m just terrible when it comes to book buying but I’m even worse when it comes to book buying bans! I applaud your effort of holding off from buying all the shiny new goodies out there!

  10. This was funny. I have been on a book buying ban for years (unless it’s a book in a series I’m committed to or something I already know I love), so I almost exclusively use the library. The library is just the best in general so I feel like more people should exploit that resource.

    1. Oh, my goodness! For years? I can’t even fathom such a thing.

      Hah, I kid. I understand that not everyone has an obsession with owning all their books like I do. I also want to personally support the publishing industry and writers of color with my money, so the best way for me to do that is by buying all my books. It hasn’t ruined me financially yet 😛 but my wallet did need a break – hence the book ban for April.

    1. That’s impressive! You really know how to save money and find a good deal.

      The Craigslist one was only a joke, obviously. I wonder if anyone has ever been desperate enough to do something like that. Lol

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