February 1, 2020

How I Read 37 Books in 2019 for $0

Hello, hello! I hope your day is going well. Today I’m sharing how I read 37 books last year for $0. I’ll be going through the different ways I made that happen, and also my strategy for always having something to read! Okay, let’s get started!

I should probably start with the fact that I’ve always been a reader. I remember when I was little making a fort with the bunk bed I shared with my sister, and reading a book in a day (shout out to The Babysitters Club Little Sister series!). I spent my money on books and CD’s. I loved nothing more than going to the bookstore and buying 10 books at a time. I am the person who’s always reading something!

When we were planning our wedding, I knew I would be DIY’ing a lot and wouldn’t have time for reading, so I set the 2018 goal low. Once I passed that, I set the goal to 30 for 2019, and I passed it. So let’s get in to how I did that.


The Libby App

The Libby App is my #1, and how I read the majority of the books. It used to be called Overdrive, and is an app for ebooks that you rent from your local library. So my account is linked to my library card, but I have access to books from the whole province. You can have 10 books rented at a time, and 10 books on hold. I’ll share my strategy below, but it is basically taking advantage of those holds!

I’ve seen people in the US mention this app, so make sure to see if it’s available to you, or if there’s something similar from your library. The number of books or the length you can rent them for might be different (for me it’s 2 weeks), but it’s an awesome free way to read books that means you don’t even have to leave your house! The even have audiobooks that my sister uses!

I believe you can also link multiple cards to the app, so if you work in a different city or town than you live you could get another library card and get even more books! But I just use 1, and it works!

The app doesn’t have every single book, but I have enough on my to-read list that I figure it out! And if a book is really popular there will typically be more copies available.

One tip: make sure to search by title and look at all of the options. Last year when I was reading It by Stephen King, there were 2 copies available. 2 different covers, but the same book. 1 had a 6 month waiting list, and the other was available. So that was the one I grabbed and I could renew it multiple times because it didn’t have a wait list. So I did over and over because it took me about 6 weeks to read!

Gift Cards

I think I only actually bought 3 books last year, and I used gift cards for 2 of them (the last in mentioned below). I had some gift cards for Indigo that I’d forgot about, so I put them to good use! If reading is a love of yours, always put gift cards on the list of suggested gifts! I actually still have a gift card but can’t decide what book I would want enough to get the physical copy!


This one is a little bit of a cheat, but I asked my husband if he would buy me Christmas Shopaholic because I wanted to read it during the holidays, and I didn’t want to spend any money. Thanks hubby! 🙂

Shopping my Bookshelf

As I mentioned before, I used to go crazy at the book stores. So I still have shelves of books that I haven’t read. I have at least 3 bookcases that I need to go through and sort what I’ve read and can get rid of, still want to read, and want to keep but have already read.

If you are a book hoarder like I am, you’ll be surprised how many books can be added to your “to read” list just by shopping your shelves! I also picked some shorter books towards the end of the year to get my count a little higher!

My strategy

Now I’ll share the steps in my process.

First if I find a book that I want to read, or see a list on Pinterest, I’ll head over to Goodreads and add it to my “want to read” list. It’s like my shopping list of books, and where I keep track of what I’ve read as well.

Next, I head to the Libby app. I’ll try to find it there, and if it’s available I will grab it, if not, I’ll put it on hold. Some take over 6 months to come in, but you can have 10 on hold. So I’ll continue this process until all 10 are taken up.

Sometimes a few will come through at a time, and if I can read all of them that’s great, if not I will hold them again. In the weeks that I’ve been writing this post I had 3 books come in! I’m averaging about a book a week right now, so I read the first one, am almost halfway through the second, and should have time for the third!

I basically just repeat this process and always have 10 holds on the go. It’s rare to not have something checked out or coming up soon, so if I don’t have anything to read I will shop my shelves! If something from the library comes in while I’m reading a physical book, I might stop reading that because the library holds have a 2 week limit.

It’s pretty simple but has been working for me for the last few years! I incorporated Goodreads into the mix last year, and previously I had a wish list on Indigo to keep track of what I want to read.

How my thoughts have changed

I know that I should support the authors I love by buying their books, but if you added up what I would have spent on books last year (37x $20= $740 ) that’s a lot of money! Plus, how many times are you going to read a book? With the exception of Harry Potter, I don’t think I’d re-read much. So, I don’t want to buy books just to have them on my shelf! I just don’t buy books much anymore, and it doesn’t slow down my reading!


If you want to see a list of the books I read last year, check out part 1 here and part 2 here. And if you want to follow along thins year, follow me on Goodreads, and I’m also sharing my 2020 books in my Instagram stories!


What’s on your to-read list? Or what is your favourite book? Let me know in the comments below!


Thank you so much for joining me today! Happy reading!


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