I am a voracious reader. I read several books each week. If I paid full price for all the books I read it would add up to thousands of dollars each year. Fortunately, I have found a number of ways to save money on books.
How to Save on Books
Explore your local thrift stores to see which ones have good book selections. We have several thrift shops that have a great selection of fairly new releases. I have been able to collect all of the Mitford series by Jan Karon from my local thrift stores.
Garage sales often have rock bottom prices for books, but the selection is limited. Look for garage sale listings on Craigslist. When you see a listing that includes books, you can message them to find out what type of books they will be selling.
Estate sales are like garage sales only the items are usually older. If you like classics and old out-of-print books, you will find some real treasures at estate sales. I still reread my copies of Scaramouche and The Scarlet Pimpernel that I picked up at an estate sale as a teenager.
If you don’t have a library card, go get one today! Not only can you check out books from your library and reserve books from other libraries, you can often borrow ebooks, audio books, music, and videos.
Library Book Sales
Many libraries have book sales to sell off older books. I have found some real gems at library sales like my signed copy of Square Foot Gardening for $1.00. Our library has several book sales a year, check with your local library for details.
Used Book Stores
Used book stores might be my greatest weakness. The difference between a used book store and shopping at a thrift store, garage sale, or estate sale is that you have a well-read individual who has sorted through the books and knows the inventory. You will pay a little more for this experience. However, used book stores usually accept old books, so you can turn in old books for credit to purchase new-to-you books.
We discovered Half.com when looking for discounts on text books for my daughter, but they also have good prices on other used books. This is a good place to find deals on recently released books that have only been read once. The books are in good condition and if you keep the book in good condition, you can recoup the cost by selling it on Half.com after you have finished reading it.
You can swap books online with Paperback Swap. The books don’t cost anything, it works on a credit system. You receive books for free, but you have to pay shipping on the books you send to others. It usually costs $2 – $3 to send a book.
Books Free is an online book rental service. It works much like Netflix. You pay a monthly fee and you get to rent a certain number of books. They have several different plans and shipping is free.
Read Books Online
You can read the classics online at Books Free. Project Gutenberg offers over 42,000 free ebooks including free epub books and free kindle books. You can download them or read them online.
Book Outlet Stores
The outlet is not a good place to look for new releases, but it is a great place to look for classics. Outlet stores also have sales on top of their low prices. So if you have a book outlet near you, keep an eye out for the buy one get one free sales. It is how I built up my collection of poetry books.
I have had good luck finding out-of-print books at reasonable prices on eBay. The trick is to be patient. Don’t get into a bidding war; bide your time and the book you want will become available at a reasonable price. Don’t just look at the price of the book, factor the shipping expense in to be sure you are getting a good deal.
Costco and Sam’s Club often have great prices on books, especially around the holidays. The best deals are often on book collections or sets. I found the complete collection (all 14 volumes) of The History of United Sates Naval Operations in World War II for less than the retail price of two volumes at Costco one year.
There are several ways to save on books at Amazon. Amazon has several different options for buying books. Be sure to compare the prices for ebooks, paper back books, and used books to look for the best price.
1. Amazon has great prices. If you absolutely must have a new release, I recommend pre-ordering it with Kindle. If the price is lowered before it is published, Amazon will refund you the difference.
3. Amazon Prime members can borrow one book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library each calendar month. The Lending Library features over 180,000 titles, including many New York Times bestsellers. The books do not have a due date, but you have to “return” a borrowed book, before you can check out another one.
4. Amazon has a Kindle lending program. You can lend (or borrow) a Kindle book to another reader for 14 days at no cost to either one of you.
Barnes and Noble
You can save on books by participating in Barnes and Noble’s rewards program. You can also order used books from their online site. Barnes and Noble also offers free ebooks for Nook. You do not have to have a Nook to take advantage of these free books; they have free apps that you can down load to your computer or smart phone.
By contributing writer Alea
How do you save money on books?