Free Books for Review and a Project


It’s not that I need another book in this house. As I write this there are over forty boxes of books in my garage stacked forehead-high. When I moved out of the 100 year-old downtown house and into the snazzy new garden home, the trade off was no yard work for no built-in bookshelves. The boxed darlings just languish there in the garage now, and my small yard is immaculate. Clearly something must be done.

My answer, of course, is to build bookshelves. Well, have them built. I’m not wood-working inclined and don’t want to be. There used to be a husband who was handy with such things, but the trade off there…well.

Since it’s a holiday weekend/gas-price-induced Staycation and all and I’m lazing around doing what I please, there’s time for some throw-down reading. Right now it’s The Rise of the Creative Classwhich everyone should get their hands on. I’ll give you a full review when the last page is turned, but reading this book made me realize I’m tired of reading books four years after they’re hot. It’s like watching movies after they’ve come out on video – a bit anticlimactic. I did a little internet snooping and found several ways to get get advance copies for the price of a review or even less. That’s about as timely as we can hope for. Here are seven:

1. I’m a Library Thing gal, and they’ve got a fabulous Early Reviewer program that sends out free pre-publication books for review. You’ve got to sign up for them and it’s a bit like a lottery, but when you win it’s great fun. Library Thing usually puts up its Early Reviewer choices during the first or second week of the month, so get there fast. Maybe they’ll choose you and maybe not, but it’s worth a try. Be sure to read the rules and regs, as well as the way they choose the readers.

2. Harper Collins has a First Look program that seems promising. The sign-up is easy and since it includes a way to check off the genres you love, it’s possible you won’t get something dreadful like diet books when you really crave short story collections. I signed up yesterday, so we’ll see how this pans out.

3. Knopf also has a program for pre-release books and a lot more. Fill out a survey about your reading habits and such, and you could be a reader with free books in the mail. They’ve got some fascinating essays from authors on their site as well as Behind the Book info – I’m just book-geeky enough to care about this.

4. has a monthly book giveaway, but you’ve got to sign up by May 31 for this one. Easy entry email sign-up.

5. Online Publicist also has a giveaway. This one is fairly straightforward – just send an email entry. Sure, there may be hundreds of thousands of rabid readers out there doing the same thing, but I doubt it. I entered, so I’ll update you on how it turns out.

6. Reader Views has a contest/giveaway that’s a simple sign-up. You can also become a reviewer but it’s not something you do lightly. A potential reviewer must submit a sample review and if chosen, agree to review at least two books a month. The free books are the only payment. This one sounds too much like another unpaid job to me, so I’ll probably stick with the giveaway.

7. Barnes & Noble has a First Look Book Club that was easy to sign up for. They send an advanced reading copy (ARC), you read, then you can privately discuss the book with the author. You have to sign up each month, but this one could be the Big Win. I’m a little stoked about this one.

I realize this only compounds my book storage problem. When the police and emergency response folk come screaming down the street to retrieve me one day, let them pick through the books and typewriters to find me. Who cares. At least the yard will be pristine.

If I can’t get those bookshelves erected, I may choose an alternative route like these fellows did. The only thing better than a full bookshelf might possibly be a full book bar anyway.

6 thoughts on “Free Books for Review and a Project

  1. Yeah, where to store the books… Shoot, getting the books ready to move is a major feat. But I look at them, and they are so, well, booky. And some of them are absolute trash, but they aren’t in print any more (and there may be good reason for that, actually). Anyway, I feel you. And shelves sound like a dandy idea in my new house (if I can ever get this one pained and clean long enough to show it).

  2. Oh, Laura. The moving company charged an extra $500 just to move all my books across town. They charge, you see, by WEIGHT. My heart goes out to you on the move, but even more so on showing the house. I can’t think of anything more irritating on a Sunday morning than getting that call from the real estate gal who wants you to gather your whole family and skedaddle while she shows the house. God.Bless. Your. Heart.

  3. Just found your blog on “Blog of Note”. Congratulations! I had to comment on this post. My husband and I are both collectors of books. When we decided to sell our house, get rid of just about everything we owned, (we stored SOME things) and hit the road in our trailer and travel the US, we donated 650 books to the library! But I did bring with me 100 paper backs in the trailer! LOL! We did store some books, too! They are like a drug to me. I love the idea of the “book bar”, but how'd he have all the same size books? LOL!

  4. Thanks, Pat, I'm glad you stopped by! Parting with so many books in one fell swoop might scare me to death. I have to do this in baby steps, but I still need to get steppin'.

    Books are my drug of choice, too.

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