When I unwrapped my new tablet, I was quick to download a bunch of ebooks. However, I soon realized the cost of replacing my library habit with a bunch of Kindle books was adding up.
To save some money without denying my reading needs, I’m test-driving a new way to get ebooks at low prices. I’ve been using a site called BookBub for about two months, and I estimate it’s saved me $60 on five titles.
How Does BookBub Work?
You create a free account, which was pretty painless by my standards, then indicate the device you use to read ebooks and choose your favorite genres. I checked mysteries, nonfiction and young adult.
Each afternoon, BookBub sends me a customized email with a list of 10 discounted books in my chosen genres. Most are on sale for $1 to $1.99, a few are free and a couple might cost $2.99. The highest price I’ve seen is $4.99 for an entire series.
How Do You Buy the Books?
BookBub doesn’t sell the books directly; it just lets you know about deals you can get elsewhere.
When you choose a book from the email, the link takes you to the purchase page in Amazon’s Kindle store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store or Apple’s iBookstore. From there, it’s just like purchasing any other ebook.
How Do You Know Whether the Books are Good?
Once you’re on the book’s page on Amazon or another book-buying site, you can see its ratings and reviews.
When I first signed up, I assumed these cheap books would be lower quality or less prestigious than the full-priced titles.
But that hasn’t proved to be the case. Most of the books I’ve purchased have at least four stars out of five on Amazon.
And books by well-known authors also pop up from time to time. Since I’ve been on BookBub, I’ve seen deals on work by Michael Crichton, Anne Rice and Alice Hoffman.
Do the Deals Expire?
Sometimes. A lot of the deals are limited time only, so if you see something you want, it’s best to snatch it up while it’s still on special.
How Does BookBub Make Money?
Publishers pay a fee to submit their books to BookBub and be included in the daily email. Lucky for us, the service is free for readers.
Can You Search for Specific Books on BookBub?
No. If you’re after a specific book, it’s best to just purchase it like any other book.
For me, BookBub is like wandering through the library, picking up whichever book strikes my fancy. An added advantage is the online book reviews, which I definitely use when choosing a book.
Which Books Have You Bought?
The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman: The book has four stars out of five on Amazon and follows the lives of residents of small, magical town full of secrets.
I probably wouldn’t have clicked it if I wasn’t already a fan of Hoffman’s work, but I’m really enjoying it. And it was $1.99, so I can’t complain.
Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart by Christopher Fowler: Even though I haven’t read the rest of the Peculiar Crimes Unit series, I decided to go ahead and buy this one for $1.99 (it’s back up to $10.99 now).
The synopsis sounded like fun, and I’m always looking for a good mystery novel. I’m not sure I’ll read the rest of the series, but I’m glad I grabbed this light British mystery about a band of misfit detectives in London.
The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant. I haven’t started this one yet! But it was $1.99 and the synopsis sounds intriguing: “After a bizarre accident kills her grandmother, 10-year-old Pia begins investigating strange disappearances in her small German town — and plunges into a netherworld of folk tales, mystery, and all-too-real terrors.”
The cover is also gorgeous, which matters to me (even though it shouldn’t).
Your Turn: Do you use BookBub? Will you give it a try?
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Lyndsee Simpson is a writer and editor living in Washington, D.C. She’s reading a trashy mystery novel on her iPad, and no one’s the wiser.