Read E-Books for Free

We recently told you how to save a few bucks and precious shelf space by getting on board with the e-book craze. Despite the potential long-term savings, many consumers are still daunted by investing in both an electronic reader and a virtual library full of books.

But what if you could strip your investment down to only the cost of the reader? With most models in the $200 - $300 range, that's a fairly manageable cost -- especially with holiday wish-list time fast approaching.

But how is a law-abiding citizen to gain access to copyrighted e-books for free? The answer to this decidedly modern-day dilemma is so old-school, it's shocking.

Your local library! More than 5,000 public libraries across the country have already started lending out electronic books under the same (free!) policies that govern their hard-copy titles. The major advantage is that you don't actually have to go to the library to make the transaction -- just "check out" online, and most participating libraries will issue you a 2-week license to your chosen book.

Search for a participating library near you, or - if you're still not convinced that you can stand reading on a screen instead of good ol' paper - see what a digital reader display would look like.

Of course, Amazon's Kindle and its proprietary e-book format will likely be left out of the book-lending party, so if you're looking to maximize your access to the free stuff, go with one of the other players.

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