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Building an eBook Library on the Cheap
June 10, 2011
Over the past week I’ve been linking to some ebook deals and have been surprised at how many people have apparently taken advantage of the deals. This got me thinking about the best way to build a library of Christian ebooks. I thought it would be worthwhile to combine forces here, to put together a list of the places you go to find ebook deals. So the purpose of this post is not so much to point to individual deals as much as to point to the places we go to find those deals.
One of the concerns when buying a Kindle or another ebook reader is the initial expense. However, with the price of both books and devices falling rapidly, many of us are finding it increasingly justifiable. If you are a heavy or even moderate reader, most of these devices will pay for themselves before long. Even if you save just $4 or $5 per book by purchasing it in an ebook format, you will very quickly account for the cost of the device. Meanwhile, you should be able to build an extensive library of classics while barely spending a penny.
But that’s not all; there are now many contemporary books that are available at ultra-low prices. Many publishers are investigating the value of deeply discounting some backlist ebook titles and we are the happy beneficiaries. The deals come and go quite rapidly, so you need to keep your ear to the ground.
So here we go. Let’s build a list of places to go to find those deals. We can do this in two sections: Kindle and Other Devices.
In some ways it is easier to build a library of contemporary books on the Kindle than on other devices. This is simply because the Kindle has so much momentum behind it right now; publishers are easily persuaded to offer Kindle editions at low prices. Remember that you can read Kindle books not just on the Kindle but on all kinds of other devices such as iPads, iPods and even your personal computer.
How do you find those cheap Kindle books? Truly, there isn’t a great trick to it. The best way is to head to the Kindle Store and click on the Christian section. Doing that turns up a treasure trove (though granted there’s lots of junk to sort through to get to the treasure). As of today all of the following can be found in just the first 10 pages: Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef ($2.99), Think by John Piper ($2.99), Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper ($1.99), What Is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert? ($0.99), Affirming the Apostle’s Creed by J.I. Packer ($0.99), Contentment by Lydia Brownback ($0.99), On Who Is God? by Mark Driscoll ($0.99), Church Planter by Darrin Patrick ($2.99).
There are also some not-so-good books that you may want to read just to understand what has gained traction in the Christian world (90 Minutes in Heaven and Pagan Christianity both come to mind).
Another way of finding deals at the Amazon store is to go to the Kindle store and search for a specific publisher. For example, type “Crossway Books” in the search field (click to see). You are then able to sort by price (low to high). That turns up quite a few more books: My ABC Bible Verses by Susan Hunt ($0.99) and To the One Who Conquers by Sam Storms ($1.99) are examples.
As for other Kindle-specific resources…
Bring the Books has a section dealing specifically geared to building a Kindle collection of classic works.
There are several web sites that offer great collections of ebooks for free or for sale and there are other sites that simply keep track of deals.
Gospel eBooks provides near-daily updates on cheap and free ebooks. You will want to be choosy, but keep tabs on the the site and you will find lots of good deals there.
Puritan Library, a web site owned and operated by Monergism.com, has a great collection of classic works all available for free.
CBD Reformed is building a pretty good ebook library. You can filter by prices to narrow down to books that cost less than $5. That will deliver a few pages of deals.
Monergism Books has a solid selection of ebooks. They tend to offer very good prices on some of the classics (such as books by A.W. Pink).
Now, help me build a useful page here by telling me where you go to find good deals on ebooks.