You can borrow e-books from your local library (after loading software that allows you to do this), and I usually buy my books from B&N, although you can get them elsewhere as a previous reviewer mentioned. You have to buy most books, but some of them are really cheap (just got one for 99 cents), and the classics are mostly free. Many books are about the same cost as their hard copy counterparts. That is up to the publisher. I compared books from Amazon and B&N for their respective devices, and they were exactly the same.