How To Get Free Books for Review in 3 Easy Steps

September 30, 2011 — 3 Comments

Depending on your definition of “easy,” this could be your ticket to drastically reducing your book expenses. It does take some work, but here’s what I did:

#1 Start a blog and write on it consistently

I’ve been blogging in one form or another for over 8 years now. I’ve been blogging about theological topics and related interests ever since I went to Word of Life, but most intently in the last 4 years or so (coinciding with my start at Dallas Seminary). After writing consistently about theology, biblical studies, and practical living for about 2 years, I moved to step #2.

#2 Start reviewing books here and there on your blog

I didn’t go crazy on this one, but I did start sprinkling in book reviews from my reading. After doing this here and there for a year or so, I finally stumbled upon this post, which led me to step #3

#3 Start asking publishers for books to review

I started by enrolling in Crossway‘s book reviewer program. Later I would jump in with Zondervan and Kregel when they offered blog tours. I also got involved with New Growth Press and got added to their list of reviewers.

Then, following Nick’s advice, I:

  • Contacted some publishers via email.
  • Shared a little information about (a) myself (b) my blog, (c) my audience.
  • Listed the books I was interested in reviewing.
  • Prayed/Hoped for the best.

So far, I’ve gotten books from InterVarsity Press, Zondervan, P&R, Westminster John Knox, Fortress Press, Bethany House, and Wipf & Stock.

So there you have it. You may not have to wait as long as I did to start requesting reviews, but you do need to establish your blog and have a certain level of hits each month before you can legitimately ask for free books.

The other thing is that you need to do a good job of reviewing the books. I may follow this up with a post on how to effectively review a book (which I should know since I took a class on it in seminary). But for now, if you’d like to be getting free theological books to read, this was how I did it, and you my friend, can too.

Keep your eyes peeled for a post next week on “how to write a good book review.”


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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

3 responses to How To Get Free Books for Review in 3 Easy Steps

  1. I’ll look forward to your post on how to write good reviews—God knows I’ve been trying to figure that one out for years!

    I’ll also add that I think it’s a shame that some folks don’t legitimately ask for review books. I’ve known some reviewers to get books and then fake reviews. Obviously they just wanted a free book. Same goes for those who have received books and then written blurbs rather than reviews. I’ve even known people to sell the books they’ve received for review. Some might disagree with me on this, but I think that shows a lack of integrity.

    • Nick,

      I’ll see what I can put together, not that I’ve got it down to an exact science or anything like that. I feel like the class I took (which was an independent study) helped make sure I knew what a review for a journal looks like (if you have access to BibliothecaSacra, you can see the results) but doesn’t completely transfer to blog book reviews which I think are a little more informal.

      I’m with you though, I think more should ask for them, and if they do, they need to put some diligence into actually reviewing the book!

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