Sometimes being a book lover is a costly business, and however much you may want to support a creator, you simply don’t have the financial ability to do so. Life. It’s great, isn’t it? Never fear, because the bookish community is here for you. Here’s a list of ways to enjoy books and comics for free when things are financially tight.
Go To Your Library
Where else can a list like this begin? Get thee to a library my friends. It’s [usually] free to join and free to use! However, if things are really financially tight and you can’t afford the bus fare or don’t have a library anywhere nearby, there are other options…
Free Comic Book Day: May 4, 2019
Every year, the first Saturday of May is Free Comic Book Day. It’s a worldwide event designed to get people who may never go to comic book shops to go and enjoy free comics, special events and the chance to meet creators. You can find your local participating store here.
comiXology: Free Comics Library
ComiXology has an absolute ton of comics for you to enjoy for free online. It’s a great way to sample artwork and storytelling and see if you like something before going any further.
Zines are handmade magazines, made with a DIY aesthetic, and they’re about everything under the sun. My local comic book store has a zine library that you’re welcome to borrow and browse from. It’s worth asking yours if they do something similar. If not, your local public library might have a collection. There’s a list of UK and Ireland Zine Libraries here, and details on the NYPL Zine Collection here.
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Dolly is boss. She is the absolute boss, and her Imagination Library is a wonderful thing. If you are in an eligible area (check here!) and have a child of under five, they’ll send your child an age-appropriate book each month. It’s a remarkable program, running across several countries, and (if you’re able) can be donated to here. There are, of course, a number of similar organisations (such as Booktrust in the UK), so it’s worthwhile searching online for any based in your area.
BookCrossing is like a literary version of Pokemon Go. People ‘release’ books in the wild, and post details of where they are. If you find one, you can log it in the website and see where it’s come from. And once you’re done, you can send it off on the next stage of its journey. Here’s a list of the countries that currently have books ‘in the wild’. Maybe there’s somewhere near you?
If these aren’t enough ideas for you, we have more! Here’s 11 websites to help you find free audiobooks online; 15 of the best places to find free books; and tips for enjoying comics on a budget. Finally, if and when you’re able to pay things forward, here’s a list of bookish charities to think about supporting.