Paul enjoys a glass and a read with his Android phone in NM
I’ve always been a voracious reader. It’s my favorite thing to do in the wee hours before sleep and I usually get through at least one or two books a week. We had a huge library in our old stix house and losing my books was actually one of my biggest worries getting on the road…how was I going to feed my need to read??!
Well our first year out I broke down and bought a Kindle which immediately made my reading life 1000% better (I’m a huge fan now). Since then I’ve read many hundreds of free books and discovered a bunch more ways to get free books on the road. Here are a few of my favorite tips:
1/ Electronic Books With Expired Copyright
P.G. Wodehouse is one of my favorite all-time classic comedy writers
Anyone can download and read electronic books, even if you don’t have a Kindle. You can use your smartphone, your Nook, your PC or your iPad. One of the easiest way to get titles is from older books with expired copyright (anything pre-1923 is open game, although more modern books can qualify too). Many have been converted to electronic format and these are legally free and available to everyone -> IF you know how find them. Here are my favorite links for snagging them:
- On Your Kindle: The Kindle has tons of old classic books for free. Just look-up old authors and go banana’s with downloads. I use this method when I know what I’m looking for. Otherwise I go to the internet.
- On the Internet: Archive.org is the gateway to the internet’s largest collection of copyright-free books with over 3 million titles for download in just about any format you want for any reader you want. Browse and download titles through the nice, searchable interface at openlibrary.com or link to any of the sub-collections like Project Gutenberg.
- On Your Smartphone: If you have a smartphone you can download cool apps like Free Books or Wattpad that give you instant access to thousands of classic free titles right on your phone.
2/ Amazon.com Daily Free Listings For Kindle
This is a fabulous resource for Kindle users that I only discovered recently. When new titles are listed on Amazon.com they’re often offered for free for a few days before going on regular sale. In a similar vein some authors may offer one book of a series for free or do a few free days to promote sales. There are literally hundreds of contemporary books listed like this everyday covering any and all topics from fiction to investment to cooking. The key is to catch them while they’re free!
My new FAVORITE site!!
You can find these books directly on your Kindle (under “Best Sellers” there’s a link ”Top 100 Free”), but I find it hard to sort through them that way. A much better option is to use an online search engine like eReaderIQ. Sign-up for a daily list of top 25 free books with description and ratings included and you’ll get a handy-dandy e-mail everday sorted by topic. You’ll literally never out of stuff to read this way!
3/ Physical Bookswaps
The free bookswap at Quartzsite, AZ
For those of us who still like to have the paperback in hand (and I do every now and then), bookswaps are a great way to get real books on the road. Many private RV parks will have a small local bookswap and some towns will too.
We found a huge bookswap at the laundromat in Quartzsite, AZ and a hidden swap in the mailbox at Peg Leg Monument in Borrego Springs, CA. The locals usually know where to find them (as will people where you’re staying) so ask around to find those hidden book-gems.
4/ OnLine Bookswaps
There are tons of online bookswap sites where users can exchange used books (sometimes CDs & DVDs too). Typically these items go slow-mail and take a few weeks to get to you so they’re best suited for when you know you’ll be sitting still for a while (e.g. a winter spot?). Before we packed up our stix house we used paperbackswap.com to get rid of a ton of old books and ended up with over 80 credits that we’ve been slowly using on the road. Other good swaps sites are BookMooch and TitleTrader.
I read most of my stuff on the Kindle and have been going banana’s with new titles ever since I discovered #2. My need to read has been freed
Got any tips to finding free books of your own?
Posted in CA, General Musings & Travel Tales, RV Tips & Practical Stuff
Tagged archive.org, book swaps, books, ebooks, ereaderIQ, free books, free Kindle books, Kindle, literature, openlibrary, paperbackswap, Project Gutenberg, RV, RVing, technology, top 5, Wattpad
Twas a few days before Christmas and all the shopping was done…..or was it?
Home-made truffles anyone?
Last-minute Christmas shopping is a daunting prospect and can drive many a sane person into a blubbering mess. So, for the sake of Christmas harmony and general world peace I decided to finish off my RV Christmas Wishlist series with some last-minute and relaxing gift ideas. All of these babies can be done from the comfort of your home with Christmas music, Santa hat and eggnog in hand:
1/ E-Books for the RVer: Electronic books are perfect gift ideas and even more perfect for RVers. They’re full portable, can be re-used and all you need is a reader. For those without a Kindle or Nook, you can download free readers onto your PC or smartphone and off you go. Here’s a couple of interesting picks for the any existing or aspiring RVer:
- Answers to the Common Excuses - Worried about how to start the full-time lifestyle? From technomadia this book answers all the excuses and how to overcome them. If you’re looking to get on the road or are already on the road and want to expand your horizons this little book can help get you there.
- RV Packing Tips, Easy Living and Life Lessons - by Peggi McDonald A very cool book that goes through all the ins and outs of RV living in a practical way.
- The Original Checklist for RVers - For the RVer who loves to check, Mark Polk has written this and many other useful e-books.
2/ Software: Another gift from the comfort of home. Here’s a couple of festive and cool software ideas for the RVer:
Microsoft Streets & Trips
- Microsoft Street & Trips - For the man…or woman…that loves to plan. This is really one of the nicest (in my opinion) trip planning softwares. Keep tips on where others have told you to go, download Walmart and camping locations and so much more. Get the whole thing online.
- iPhone or Smartphone Apps – If you’re the techno type you can go crazy and download all 10 best RVing Apps for your honey for Christmas (the list specifies iPhone, but you can find many of these on a smartphone too).
3/ Home-Made Treats - They say any man can be won over by a good plate of chocolate chip cookies, and in return any woman can be wooed with chocolate. The latter is certainly true for me, and several years ago my I learned to make home-made chocolate truffles. These things are actually really easy to make and are a great last-minute gift item for loved ones with a food penchant. All you need is chocolate and cream. I’m a fan of the cooking for engineers recipe with an added tablespoon of brandy for the festive spirit.
4/ Amazon Gift Card - Ahhh…the joy of gift cards. So simple and so gratifying, especially when you can buy them from home. I love these things and most people love receiving them too. My top pick is Amazon simply because you can get just about anything there and it’s wonderfully easy to buy a gift-card online. Print it out and deliver by hand or just send via e-mail to the lucky receiver.
5/ Magazine/Club Subscriptions – Who doesn’t love to get the latest news and tips? Or discounts on camping? These are our favorite picks:
Family Motor Coaching Magazine
- Family Motor Coaching - Probably my absolute favourite of all the RV magazines. The maintenance and upgrade tips are always detailed and interesting.
- Escapees - We really like this club as well as it’s magazine. Nice group of folks and a cool way to introduce newbies to RVing. They have “birds of a feather” groups that cover almost every interest you could think of. As a member you can also get their ”Days End” directory of free/low-cost campgrounds.
- Good Sam RV Club – Good Sam’s is a discount camping club which also carries a nice magazine (Highways). Their online forums are very active as well.
That’s it folks. I’ll be doing small jaunts of limited blogging over the next few days as we get through Christmas, but fear not….as Arnold so eloquently put it I will be back, and my Solar RV series (which is sure to inspire, enthrall and electrify) is in the plans for right after the holidays.
“Reading is the basic tool in the living of a good life” Mortimer J.Alder
A few of my favourite Danish books along for the RV ride
If I were to be re-born as an animal I think it would be a book-worm, simply so I could immerse myself fully in the written word, inside and out. I love reading, simply love it, and one of the biggest worries we had going full-time on the road was giving that up. At home we had a 400+ book library, and it was almost heart-breaking to pack it away. We took a measly 30 books on the road.
Thankfully, in this modern day and age there are plenty of options for book-loving-full-time-nomads like ourselves. Here’s just a few:
1/ Electronic Readers – I’ve always been one of those people who said I could never read a book electronically. I love the feel & look of paper, and just couldn’t imagine giving that up. Hubby bought a Kindle some time ago, and after I’d read our mini-RV-library for the 10th time I broke down and bought one too. It’s been one of my best purchases ever and I’ve enjoyed more reading since we got the Kindle than I have in the past many years. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Not only is it portable and light, there’s an enormous selection of free “classics” in the wireless storefront, plus amazingly it’s really, really pleasant to read. The connection is decent, and we’ve had access to download books in all but our most remote campsites. There are lots of other electronic readers out there (e.g. Apple IPad, Sony Reader, Nook), but we’re very happy with the Kindle.
2/ On-Line Book Swaps - To supplement the Kindle we also do on-line book-swaps. Most book-swap sites are free services based on the honor system. You place any books you’d like to swap on-line. If someone orders it you post it at your expense and get an online ”credit” once it’s received. With that “credit” you can ask for any of millions of books (sometimes also CDs, or DVDs) posted by others and receive it for free. The only negative is that posting takes a while. Most swap sites use low-cost Media mail which can take 2-3 weeks to arrive. Since we travel around we can’t get books sent to us directly, so we ship to our mail forwarder (we use Alternative Resources in SD) and stick with light books when we do it. Here’s some of the best swap-sites:
The Amazon Kindle. One of my best RV buys ever.
3/ On-site Book Swaps - Lots of RVers love to read, so you’ll find plenty of people willing to swap on the road. Some RV campsites will have a swap library on-site or in the laundromat. Also, some local bookstores will buy or barter used books as well.
So, fear not that your mind will be idle. Go ahead and kick back in your RV backyard, crack open your favorite author and enjoy the view.