Save Money On Books: Don’t Pay Full Price For Your Reading List

by Allison W. on 2011-07-186

I am a self confessed book lover. If anyone ever asks me what I would like as a gift on a special occasion, the first thing that always comes to mind is a book. I’m a bookworm and I definitely enjoy reading.

However, the one thing that I don’t quite enjoy is to pay full price for books, and in today’s world, there is really no excuse for doing so. I don’t think I have paid the full cover price for a book in years. So let me share with you some of my favorite ways of finding cheap books to read or buy.

5 Ways To Save Money On Books & Your Reading List

1. Buy online. If I want to buy a brand new book –- whether it is a new publication or one that is older –- I always buy them online. Sites like Amazon and even are great for good book deals as they cut the prices considerably. They will sometimes offer bulk deals if you buy more than one book as well, so those are worth looking out for as a way to pick up even bigger savings. Check out for even bigger deals!

2. Buy secondhand. I appreciate the wonderful smell of a secondhand book store — such a place projects a cozy atmosphere that I find very inviting. I don’t think you can beat it, which is why I love visiting used book stores to see what they have to offer. I usually leave these stores with older books and those one-of-a-kind tomes that I have trouble finding anywhere else. In truth, I find it impossible to walk past such a store without going in to see what they’ve got on their shelves!

3. Go to flea markets, yard sales and other similar events. What I love about this approach is that you never quite know what you will find at these places. I have come across old books that I remember owning as a child, and it can be a real trip down memory lane when I come face to face with an old classic. I’ve bought some terrific books this way, for just a few cents a copy. And I have been able to find some titles that are no longer in print as well, which is an added bonus.

4. Get a library card. It’s one of the most obvious ways to get your reading done absolutely for free. My cousin has not purchased a single book in years but always has a new stash of books in tow every couple of weeks, which she picks up from our local library. She gets a lot of variety this way at absolutely zero cost. Another fantastic benefit of using the library and of borrowing books is the fact that you won’t have to worry about storing the books anywhere at home after you’re done with them!

5. Try a book swap. If you’ve got friends who are big readers, then you’ll find it easy to trade books with them. You can probably join a local book club too, where you can participate in swaps among the members. Once you’re done with a book, find someone who’ll do an exchange with you!

The best way to get the best books at the most attractive prices is to use a combination of the above methods. Obviously, if I need a new book, I always go to the online stores first as they are invariably the cheapest. But if I need something a little bit more specialized –- or something older –- I will head out to my local secondhand book stores as well. It’s a bit of a hit and miss at these locations, but you sure can’t beat the feeling of not knowing — and anticipating — what you’ll turn up. If you love books as much as I do, you’ll really enjoy the feeling of exploring the bookshelves and seeing what’s available.

One more thing that I do is to look out for seasonal deals and end of line deals. Certain websites hold these sales if they have inventory they want to get rid of. I’ve been successful about picking up really good bargains during these events. I also check out eBay on occasion, both for new and secondhand books. I even once bought a stack of 86 books for a dollar! For that one dollar, I squeezed quite a bit of enjoyment from almost every single book that I purchased. That was definitely one of my better buys!

So how about you — any great books you’ve picked up recently for very little? 🙂

Created June 15, 2008. Updated July 18, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Silicon Valley Blogger July 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

I’m actually not a fiction reader. I prefer non-fiction. So I save a lot of money by picking up a lot of material off the web. Am I doing it right? 😉

Carynne July 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Thanks for the info, since all of the bookstores are closing, it is nice to know where I can purchase books. Don’t have an e-reader so I read books the old fashion way.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm

It’s interesting you mention e-reader and closing bookstores in the same breath. Given the changes in technology, a lot of the old-fashioned, traditional methods are now passe and and our entertainment is moving online. Newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur and we’re all fetching our information online or through new technologies. But even if these changes make things more efficient or convenient, I still feel a preference for some of the old things. I like things to be organic.

Rebecca July 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

You forgot to mention and I’ve been using them for years. Book exchange for only the price of shipping ($2 to $3 dollars usually). I love it and it stocked my shelves with titles I’ve been wanting to read!

Amy Saves July 20, 2011 at 7:58 am

i always forget about the library! thanks for the reminder.

Silicon Valley Blogger July 20, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thanks for the comments! And yes, please support your local library! One thing we do in our family is to collect the children’s books that my kids have outgrown and send it over to our local library. Actually, we do this for any books we own. Part of our annual spring cleaning and decluttering plan is to bundle up books and pass them along. We get so much out of our library that this is the least we can do!

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