Can you resist free books?

Posted August 16, 2020 by Lory in discussions / 36 Comments



When I go to church in a nearby city, there’s a booth by the bus station that is crammed with books — mostly French and German, but quite a few in English, and free for the taking. I usually come home with as many as I can carry, but I haven’t read most of them yet.

After shedding so many of my possessions in moving to Europe, I really don’t want to pile up more stuff. I’ve managed to buy less, but free books are so hard to resist. Perhaps I need to make a “book in, book out” policy — I can donate books I’ve read in my turn. For a while I may need to shut my eyes when I walk past the Booth of Temptation, at least till I get through some of my current hoard.

How about you? Can you resist the lure of free books? And if you can’t, how do you deal with all your new acquisitions?

Linked in the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!

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36 responses to “Can you resist free books?

  1. Neither of us can resist at least looking at free books, which sometimes leads to bringing them home. How we deal with them is lining our house with bookshelves and not moving for thirty years. (Maybe I should put some pictures up again at Necromancy Never Pays)

    • Moving has always been the main impetus for me to cull my book collection. Once I settle in, I start collecting again. So it goes…

  2. Resisting the lure of free books is too hard. I always end up downloading tons of free Kindle/Kobo books… and then it takes me ages to read them. Or I don’t read them at all!

    Happy readings!

    • I’m not even counting the e-books I’ve collected! They can sit on my reader (until it fills up, I suppose).

  3. Sometimes it depends on the freebies, since not all books are necessarily of interest. But in general, ARGH! It’s so hard to resist free books! If nothing else, you can use them for paper art projects… yes, I have a book hoarding problem. ;D

    • I can resist uninteresting books, but unless hopelessly outdated or dull there is usually something in any pile that interests me, so there’s the problem.

  4. There was a time when I would have to grab books offered to me. I have changed. Because of ebooks I have gone to a system where I acquire a book just when I want to read it. This is working out fine for me.

  5. I am much more discriminating now than in years past, when any free book could be an “I might read this someday.” However, I am very good at culling my existing books for those moments when I believe “I really WILL read this book someday!” As long as there is space on my shelves I will consider it 😬

    • My tastes and interests change so I just have to review the shelves periodically. Sometimes a book does sit there for years until its time has come, but sometimes I have to say “okay, this is enough.”

  6. I’m a picky reader, especially on the books that I buy. But free books are indeed difficult to resist, but I also try to be picky there. Do I really want to read it? Being minimalistic helps of course. I don’t like too much stuff.

    • I really don’t want to accumulate too much stuff either. I’m pretty sure we’re going to move again, so I have to keep that in mind.

  7. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

    We have little free street libraries in my neighbourhood, and I donate many of the books I read to them. BUT I still have a huge pile of books to read 🙂

  8. I’m quite picky about my free books, but given the massive deluge of free books that I have in my life, I still wind up with quite a lot. I can’t resist looking at the neighborhood Little Free Library, though I rarely take anything; I donate more than I take. Since quarantine started, I haven’t gotten to do the book donation sorting 🙁 so the flow is nearly dried up right now. But a lot of people know me as the person who will make your decluttered books disappear for you, so it will never end.

  9. I mean, dang, I can’t even resist not-free books. I am a books fiend. And especially when I’m anxious, I know there’s a teeny bit of a hoarding gene that kicks in and makes me think I will be happy and safe if I just acquire enough books. 😛

  10. I have so many books to read on my shelf that yes actually, I can resist. I don’t take any from the sales corner from my library. The only ones I buy (dirt cheap, almost free) is to give to my book club members.
    I receive at least 10 offers of books to review per week, and I say yes maybe once a month. I have also decided not to open the email with new books through Edelweiss until at least the end of this year. I’m probably missing tons of awesome new and upcoming books, but when too much is too much, I can say, no more!

    • I think you need a good system to deal with your book supply otherwise you will be buried. Glad you’re able to be strong and resist when you have to.

  11. Haha I too find it very difficult to resist free books!! If there physical books I can feel a bit guilty as they pile up on my shelves, so find it a little easier to resist more. However I am terrible for downloading free and review copies to my Kindle, because I can’t physically see them: out of sight, out of mind! 😅

  12. I find having a wish-list helps. I tell myself that I will only acquire books from that list (free or otherwise). It doesn’t work (of course!) but it does add an extra hurdle, gives me a chance to really think about the acquisition. Do I *really* want this free book? As much as I want the others on my “wish-list”? If yes, it comes home with me, but if not, no loss. I even go so far as to sync the list between my laptop and phone, so I’ve got it on me at all times 😅

  13. I always look but am fairly discriminating. After all, some don’t look very clean. Having become a Louise Penny fan years after everyone else, I now regret all the times I saw her books discarded and did not pick them up, however. I miss library book sales so much!

  14. Honestly, I can only avoid picking up free books or buying books by avoiding the opportunity! If I spend more than a few minutes near a little free library or a library book sale, I’m definitely coming home with books, so I try to just avoid all sources of books, haha.

  15. I do often feel a spike of excitement when I realize a free book is within my grasp, especially if it’s one that I’ve been meaning to read. But I usually quickly temper that thought with more practical reasons about why I shouldn’t take it home (or request it on NetGalley) – usually because I only want five star reads in my house!