Bookish Musings: Free vs. Paid – Are All Free Books Really Worse Than Paid Books? (Guest Post)


Everyone get excited because today I have my first guest post!

We all know that myth that if something is more expensive, that means it’s better. And while that might be true of some things, is it true of books?

Cassie is a blogger at Culture Coverage, and today she’ll be discussing free books as well giving suggestions for where you can find some potential great ones. Take it away, Cassie!

There’s an unfair myth floating around which says a book’s worth is based solely on its price. While bestsellers often come with a high price tag, this does not mean an expensive book is a good one. In reality, a far broader perspective is required when looking at today’s literary marketplace.

There are countless reasons why books may be distributed for free. Thanks to the modern age of e-books and the internet, the ability to distribute work for little-to-no cost is simpler than ever. This means readers often get a fantastic deal. If you still aren’t convinced that a large amount of these priceless releases are as invaluable as some of the most prestigious titles on the market, then check out some of these sources to find the best free books available.

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is an invaluable source of high-quality literature. The foundation began with a student in Illinois transcribing the US constitution and now aims to transcribe all books in the public domain. It has grown exponentially to become one of the leading sources of free literature for the global digital community. Currently holding over 50,000 titles at no charge, the site includes timeless classics such as Pride and Prejudice, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and War and Peace.

This is a platform that will astound any book lover and truly stands as a challenge to the myth that free books are of little value. Often, when readers delve into these delights, they are left wondering why they ever spent so much time paying for quality literature that could be accessed for free.

The Kindle Store

When Amazon’s Kindle was initially launched, it revolutionized the standard model for book publishing. Since then this platform has collected a staggering array of literature, a sizable proportion of which is completely free. A wide range of the popular classics is offered to download for no cost. There are also thousands of free e-books published by a variety of contemporary authors.

Also unique to the store is an endless availability of promotions and offers that allow readers to download free books during a trial period. Due to licenses, these are usually dependent on location, so you can find ever more great free content by bypassing these geo-blocking restrictions. A Virtual Private Network (such as ExpressVPN) allows users to browse as if they were overseas and access an even wider range of titles!

This list denotes some of the best current free e-books available. Just remember again that they might be dependent on your location!


The self-publishing revolution has given a voice to some of the most exciting up-and-coming authors of our time. Now, via the internet, it’s easier than ever before to write and publish your work through distribution and publishing aggregate websites. However, whilst many young authors often have the writing talent, they lack a comprehensive marketing team and strategy to get behind their release. This means that lots of self-published authors produce work for low cost to hopefully get more eyes to it.

While these sorts of books aren’t always great, you can guarantee some hidden gems that bust the myth that all free books are worse than paid books. In fact, a good number of well-known books were self-published, proving that quality does not require a bookshop price tag.

Book Blogs

Literature blogs are a great way to find the latest book offers online. Often bloggers work with authors to promote sales or giveaways, making them an underrated place to get your hands on free literature. They also provide an added bonus of in-depth reviews of the books on offer. This will give you a basic understand of the work before you commit.

These blogs provide new authors with a great promotional opportunity. Many claim that their books go on to reach high sales volumes following their promotional period. This is great for readers because it gives you a chance to get a slice of the action before the release finds notoriety.

Still Unsure?

If you find a free book, there are also several ways you can investigate it before you commit to reading it. Goodreads is an excellent resource for user reviews and ratings and a quick scroll will often tell you everything you need to know.

You can search through a whole plethora of titles as well as browse some booklists that might interest you. Alongside this, there are also a bunch of message boards and forums you can check out that will likely provide you with some useful information. Chances are you’ll find some great recommendations!


It must now be clear that today’s literature market is far too complex and rich for us to hold outdated notions about the monetary value of books. In many situations, free books can rival and even surpass the value of paid books.

With these suggestions for places to find, appraise and download a wealth of free literature, any reader can now find free books that provide some amazing entertainment and information. So why not start investigating now and see if you can find your new favorite read for no charge!

Do you have any other thoughts on free books? Do you think that there are any other sources that we missed? Please leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

About the Author: Cassie is an entertainment and technology blogger. She’s been an avid reader ever since she was a child and loves to search for free work to sink her teeth into when the purse strings are tight! She always has a list of recommendations on hand for anyone who will listen!

Culture Coverage | Twitter


Talk to me!

I definitely agree, some of my favorite series are hidden gems I found all because the first book was free!
What about you, do you also think free books can be just as great as books that cost more?
Or do you stay away from free books?
What's the best book you've ever read that you got for free? (Excluding review copies, those don't count!)


Your Thoughts


28 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Free vs. Paid – Are All Free Books Really Worse Than Paid Books? (Guest Post)

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  1. Greg

    Nice post. I’ve read stuff on Project Gutenberg and Gutenberg Australia as well- older stuff that the copyright expired. It’s a great way to read older stuff. If I’m looking for really old sci fi for example or out of print stuff I’ll check to see if Gutenberg has it- if they do I don’t have to scour used bookstores for it. 🙂

    The sheer volume of free ebooks is pretty amazing too.

    Have to agree about Goodreads. I only discovered it shortly before I began blogging but I love it. I don’t use it enough but I love it ha ha. Such an amazing resource.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve actually never used Project Gutenberg, but it does seem like it’d be great for older books. No sense in paying for books that no longer have a copyright! Used bookstores are the second best option lol.

      I agree, the sheer volume is overwhelming. I have so many on my kindle that I don’t even remember most of them, but at the same time it means I always have a great range of options to choose from.

      I didn’t start using GR until after I started blogging, but I love it now too!

  2. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I think there are both good and bad – both when it comes to free books and books with a price tag. I have read some really amazing freebies, and some very bad expensive books. I don’t think a free book is necessarily ‘bad’, even if some are. Especially when it comes to contemporary freebies that are self-published. And that can be a very unfair generalisation, as there are also contemporary self-published freebies that are amazing.
    I think what’s the most important is to take a chance every now and then 🙂 We might find a treasure, you know?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree, there are some terrible free books, but there are also some terrible books that cost money, and vice versa. I don’t really read contemporary, so I can’t comment on that, but I’ve found way too many treasures, seriously some of my absolute favorites, by reading free books from Amazon, so I definitely think taking the chance is worth it 🙂

  3. Lola

    Yay for your first guest post!

    Another great source to get free or discounted books are newsletters like bookbub and lately instafreebie is growing in popularity as well and it’s a great place to find free books. And authors who combine their instafreebie promotions in one post, so you can find lots of free books in one place.

    I definitely think that free books aren’t always worse than paid books. It’s about the book itself not the price. And there are so many reasons to put your book for free, like to attract new fans, as newsletter extra or as promotion. The idea that a good book has to be pricey definitely in outdated. I wish traditional published books would go on sale more often as there are some I would love to try, but I find the price too high.

    I also think that with other products the pricier is better rule isn’t always true. In some cases it definitely is worth it to pay more for a pricier product, but not always. But that also depends on personal preference. For example I am willing to pay more for a slightly pricier brand of earl grey as that tastes much better, but there are also products I buy the cheapest version of as it doesn’t matter as much to me or I don’t taste the differences.

    I grab lots of freebies nowadays and sure have found some amazing books that way. And have lots of unread books I got for free on my kindle app waiting to be read.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m always such a lone wolf with my blog, so it’s exciting for me to try something new for the first time!

      I agree, I used to use those newsletters and found a lot of free books that way, but then I just kinda stopped because it took too much time every day. I have gotten some books recently through instafreebie though!

      And yeah, I also think it’s about the book. That method of making the first book in a series free has definitely worked on me because there are some cases in which I loved it and then went on to buy all the rest of the books. So it is outdated that free = bad, at least with ebooks. I also have numerous trad published books I’d love to try but can’t afford and can’t find at the library or Hoopla, so who knows if I’ll ever get to read them.

      Oh, it totally depends on the product. For some things, it’s definitely worth the higher cost. But for other things, they all taste/look/work/whatever the same and it makes more sense to buy the cheaper brand.

      I used to grab far more freebies in the past, but I still grab them when I find them 😛 My kindle has way too many books on it lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’ve not heard of that book, I’ll look it up 🙂 And I completely agree! I’ve discovered some of my favorite authors/series by reading one of their books that was offered free on Amazon.

  4. Rowena

    Goodreads also gives away a lot of free books too. Sure you have to enter the giveaways but the books are free and there are plenty of good books on there so I would give that a try too.

    I used to download a bunch of kindle freebies but I never read any of them so I stopped getting them. I’m a lot more particular about the books that I read these days so I’m not jumping for freebies anymore. I’m sure there are plenty of good freebies out there but I’m not reading them. I’m distracted by all of the shiny new books by my favorite authors so I’m reading those instead.

    Great post Cassie, thanks for hosting it Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love GR giveaways! I don’t win that often, but still lol.

      I also used to download tons of kindle freebies, but not quite as much any more. I have SO MANY on my kindle now that it’s ridiculous, and it just takes too much time looking through the emails and whatnot every day to find them. But if I happen to come across one that looks interesting, I’ll still download since it can’t hurt.

      Thanks for joining in the discussion!

  5. Christy LoveOfBooks

    I love some free books! These are all great suggestions. I subscribe to those newsletters like Bookbub or something like that, and it shows me any new freebies on Amazon. I get way too many. 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      I love free books too! And I used to check those Bookbub and other emails every single day without fail, but then it just got to be too much work and I have SO MANY books on my kindle now lol. So now I basically just download freebies when I happen to come across them.

  6. Jessica

    there is another site to find free books. is where you can get ebooks and audiobooks for free through your library. all you need is a library card.

  7. S. J. Pajonas

    Yeah, I totally rebel against the idea that free books “devalue” literature when really they’re a gateway drug to more books (and usually paid ones). I offer plenty of free books and I think it’s actually helped my sales instead of hindering them! I do like all the resources mentioned here, but also include Instafreebie and finding free books via author newsletters.

    1. Kristen Burns

      As a reader I can attest that free books work! Some of my favorite series I only read because the first book was free, but then I ended up paying for all the rest of the books in the series. Free books are totally a gateway drug to more books lol. And I’ve recently started using instafreebie 🙂

  8. Melanie Simmons @mlsimmons

    I’ve read some really great books and found some wonderful new authors because of free books. There are many authors (including NYT Best Sellers) that have promotional free books. Books that I’ve grabbed because they were free (usually for a limited time, but if you keep an eye out you can get a lot of free books this way). I’ve seen where publishers will put a book one of a series as a free download to help promote a new release later in that series. I’ve also read several books that I grabbed free and gave the books 4 or 5 stars. I haven’t tried many of the resources you mentioned, but I will be sure to check them out. Libraries are a great place to get free books too. That is where I get the majority of mine. Wonderful post and thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      I agree! I actually keep a wishlist on Amazon for the purpose of checking for sales, and sometimes I just stumble upon free books that sound good. And I’ve given 4, 4.5, and 5 stars to some free books too! Libraries are also great, though not so much if you like indie and self-pub books since they don’t always have those. Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

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  10. Bookworm Brandee

    This is a great post and I appreciate you sharing it! I’ve read many amazing books that I paid nothing for…some were offered for free for a limited time, and some were just free. I absolutely agree that a book’s price has little to do with how good it is or how I will experience it. And there are so many ways of finding great deals these days. I, of course, support any author’s work which I enjoy, no matter how much it cost me. But there is a plethora of brilliant work out there for little or nothing that shouldn’t be ignored simply because of the cost being low.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks! And I agree, the price definitely doesn’t have anything to do with how good or bad a book is in my experiences. I can’t really afford to support authors at this point, even though I would love to because they absolutely deserve the money, but there are a few whose books are definitely worth it. And in the future I’d love to be able to actually *buy* some of my favorites, especially in paperback! But yes, some of my favorites have been offered free as the first in series or very low-priced, and I would’ve missed out had I ignored them!

  11. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    I definitely don’t think a book is bad just because it is free. In fact, a book that I love and featured as one of my authors/books for Authorly Love was up for FREE that month. I loved that book. I’ve also hated a bunch of books I paid 20$ for. I wish people wouldn’t judge a amazon freebie based on the fact it’s free – in fact, one would think it would make people WANT to read it. ITS FREE! My mom used to always tell me “don’t knock it till you try it”, so that’s what I do 🙂 Great post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Agreed! Lots of books I’ve loved were free at the time when I got them. And yeah, I’ve hated books I paid for lol. It is a shame when people judge books based on the price, they’re missing out!

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