How to Get Free Books from Publishers [Includes a Simple Formula]

I’m an avid reader. I read about 60~70 books a year. Had I purchased every single book, it would cost me roughly around $1,300/ year. If I keep up with this pace for the next ten years, I’d spend a whopping $13,000. As a life-long learner, I find this investment thoroughly worthwhile. At the same time, I definitely don’t mind reading books for free – especially if I’m directly or undirectly promoting the book. That just means, I can redirect that money on other self-development opportunities.

Let me share with you a simple and proven template and formula I’ve used for the last several years.

1. You Must Have a Platform

The #1 pre-requisite for getting any type of free books is that you must have a PLATFORM. Without a platform, this will not work! Whether it’s a blog, vlog, podcast, or YouTube channel, you need to have an active platform. Now, I didn’t say you need a crazy big following. You simply need a platform and an audience to speak to.

2. You Must Feature the Book

You need to somehow feature the book on your platform. That’s why a publisher will give you a free book. This could be a book review, excerpt or any key points you’d like to highlight to your readers.

3. Know Your Niche

Next, you need to identify what type of books you’d like to get for free. What’s your platform about? Is it about Leadership? Business? Faith? Fashion? Food?

For example, my blog is all about leadership, faith, and self-development. Therefore, it makes sense that I only request books that align with my key topics. I usually find good new releases of leadership and business books on Amazon. If I find a book I want to read, here’s what you need to do next.

4. Find Out About Publisher

You need to find out about the publisher’s information. On Amazon, scroll below any book you’d like to read and you can find more about the publisher and ISBN. Here’s an example.

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Find the right contact for the publisher on this list. If you’re going to look up Wiley, here’s what their information looks like on the list.

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5. Make Contact

Once you’ve procured the right contact information, you need to craft the right message. Publishers will be very specific on how they would like to be contacted. These are busy people. Don’t be long-winded in your email. KISS (Keep it Short and Simple). Here’s an actual email I sent out to get one of the books for free.

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Note: I sent this email more than 3 years ago. At that time, my readership was minuscule compared to today. (Today, I get 3000+ views/ day). In other words, you don’t need to have the following of Michael Hyatt or Jeff Goins to pull this off.

  • Title: Requesting Book Review – [INSERT BOOK TITLE]
  • In the body of the email, follow my template. Keep it short and simple.
  • Include a url to your blog/podcast/vlog – this ensures you’re legit!

The most important components you must include are book title, author, publication date and ISBN number. 

The publisher should contact you in the day few days. If they don’t, reply with a simple reminder.

RELATED: 30 Books Every Young Influencer Should Read

6. Read and Write a Review

Once you receive the book, read the book and write a review. It might take you a week or two to finish a book. Now, turn that into a book summary or highlight key parts of the book into a blog posts. Here’s an example of how to write a blog post on a book I read.

7. Send Them Your Link and Ask for Another Book

Once you’ve finished writing a review, send the publisher the link of your review. If you find another book you’d like to read from the same publisher, you can follow up with another request including the same components of the title, publication date, and ISBN. Once you do this for several times, you start building a relationship with publishers. If you’re an aspiring author, this might give you a leg up in getting your manuscript into the right person.

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  • Thanks for this article Paul! Great information.

  • Thanks a bunch Paul. This is very helpful. I’ll try it out.

  • Charles

    Nicely done Paul! Thank you!

  • Thanks Paul. I like how you have simplified it.

  • ross34769@mail.ru

    Incredible story. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing, Paul. I trust Teddy changed Miss Thompson’s life the same amount of as she did his.