Reader's Corner: BooksFree.Com, Netflix for Paperback Books?

A reader recommended this link to me, Booksfree.com which seems similar to Netflix.com where instead of renting movies, you’re renting as many paperback books or audiobooks as you want according to your membership plan. I’d never heard of this site before now but it looks like it was launched in 2000 and is still growing strong (they delivered their 2 millionth book in Feb).

I quickly scanned the website and it seems like another viable choice for those readers who are looking to save $$ on books. Members have 24/7 access to catalog and supposedly, all you have to do is add books to your que and your books are sent to you within 14 days via media mail (or sooner depending on where you live). Members are even allowed to donate books for credit toward purchase (haven’t read all the deets on that).

Book Rentals R Us?

The prices for plans range from $9.99/month to $47.99/month. There are no late fees and you’re free to keep your books as long as you like but you must return either 2 or 3 books, depending on your plan, before you are allowed to receive any more books in return. Mailers are free as is shipping “both ways” and like Netflix, if you like the book you’ve read, you have the option to buy (unless the title is rare or limited availability).

The Catalog

The catalog boasts of having new and OOP books. Of course I went straight to the catalog and selected “Romance” and had 18356 matches. The categories are nicely broken down and I did a search on “Anne Stuart” and saw that her May release, Silver Falls, will be available to rent and you can save it for your que, too. Also, I like this website’s functionality. You can browse by popularity, author (first name or last name) and pub date (newest and oldest). Most established and well known websites can’t even do that much. Looks like a great website overall, but those prices…

My Thoughts

I don’t know. Book rentals? I already have a stockpile that I am actively trying to get rid of at the moment and I don’t need the extra added expense. I personally think the prices are too steep. I had mistakenly thought the prices were per year not per month. Well, I like using my local library and luckily that’s free and I can wait. Book rentals? One reader said it saves her a ton of money which is all to the good. With everybody cutting corners on spending, book rentals just might be the right choice for you (or not).

Concluding Thoughts

In closing, I am not reviewing this website. More like bringing it to your attention (if you’ve lived under a rock like me). Also is the name “Booksfree” a misnomer since you’re paying each month for these books? Just to play devils’ advocate here, are members required to make sure the books are returned in a “like new” condition (as I am completely anal about my books). What would make you want to pay to rent a book versus owning it, buying it from a used bookstore or if risk is what you’re worried about, check it out from the library?

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About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Avid Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Reader's Corner: BooksFree.Com, Netflix for Paperback Books?

  1. Angela James says:

    About…5 or 6 years ago I lived in a really (really) small town for a year. The town had a similarly small library and no bookstore other than Wal-mart. I used Booksfree.com during that year, and it was much cheaper than driving to the nearest bookstore an hour away (this was before I did a lot of online shopping and just at the beginning of my digital buying) and buying enough to keep up with my reading habit, and kept me in as many books as I could read and mail back. I think there are circumstances where this is a really great option for some people!

  2. Avid Reader says:

    This seems to be more for voracious readers. I just can’t justify the cost. I didn’t think about the cost of gas or the lack of a usedbookstore or even library for that matter. Tx.

  3. Lori says:

    I’ve been using Booksfree for about 6 months now & it works very well for me. I’m in a large city, but the library system is severely underfunded and doesn’t carry many of the books I want to read. There also aren’t many used book stores nearby. Given the number of books I read in a month, using Booksfree is much cheaper than buying new. Since I’m not keeping the books I also feel freer to try new authors or genres without worrying that I’m going to get stuck with something I don’t like.

    I agree about the name being a total misnomer though.

  4. Ashley says:

    The first time I saw this website a couple weeks ago, the name kind of annoyed me because the books aren’t free, you still have to pay for them. It definitely seems like a misnomer to me.

    I use Paper Spine, and I get 2 books at a time, but unlimited throughout the month. It’s $10 each month. For me, that’s usually the cost of one book if I buy it new. My library is a bit outdated and slow at getting new books in, so that’s kind of out. I’ve only tried it for a month, but so far it’s been worth it. I also still use Amazon to buy books I really want to own, and also Book Mooch.

    Also, if you really like a book that you get from Paper Spine, you can pay a little extra and keep it. I don’t know if they all offer that or not, but it’s kind of neat if you really want to keep the book.

  5. Avid Reader says:

    See, $10 a month reasonable. I could do that. Most def.

    Thanks everybody.

  6. jennygirl says:

    Yes that is a misnomer. I guess if you don’t have access to a library, it could work. However, I just don’t see the need to pay for rental books. Keeps the post office busy.

  7. Avid Reader says:

    jennygirl: How­ever, I just don’t see the need to pay for rental books. Keeps the post office busy.

    Ditto. I loathe my local post office and avoid going there if it’s humanly possible. I guess I’m the only one who sees these prices as being too steep. I don’t spend that much on books on a monthly basis. I’ve cut back A LOT since I started reading and buying my own books.

  8. Priya says:

    I am a newbie to reading books, just started following the Amazon Kindle Best sellers. Any suggestions for newbie like me are appreciated. BTW m not sure how to subscribe to your feeds?

  9. Avid Reader says:

    @Priya: Hi, my subscribe button is in the corner top right. Just added it. Also, if you are following Kindle bestsellers, what type of books do you enjoy? I’m more into romance and mystery and can some of each if you like? Also you can email me by using the contact form above.

  10. Priya says:

    @Avid Reader: As I m a new to reading I njoy something which can keep me engaged in reading for long. I hv read some Dan Brown fictions and liked them.

  11. Priya says:

    BTW I forgot to mention that I own a kindle, and would appreciate if you suggest some ebooks for Kindle reading.

  12. Avid Reader says:

    @Priya: Dan Brown? Hmmm. I haven’t read Dan Brown’s stuff much to ascertain who would be similar. I can recommend these authors to you and yes they should have titles available in Kindle format. Michael Connelly (The Lincoln Lawyer & The Brass Verdict). Or Julia Spencer-Fleming’s series that starts with In the Bleak Midnwinter. Karin Slaughter’s Will Trent series starting with Triptych and Chelsea Cain’s series that starts with Heart Sick.

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