If you’re taking time out of your day to peruse this article about how to save money on books, then I’m assuming that reading is pretty important to you. And we LOVE that!
Reading is a big part of our family, too. We read books to our kids every night before bed and throughout the day. And there are always 2 or 3 books on our nightstand we’re reading through at any given time. In short, we’re book nerds!
But we’re also penny pinchers, so anything we do, we like to save money instead of paying full price. We’ve learned over the years that there are some very thrifty ways to save money on books and still stay within your budget!
From one bookworm to another, here are some of our favorite tips, tricks, and hacks for buying books on a budget.
How to Save Money on Books
1. Check it Out
The local library should be a frugal bookworm’s best friend! You can check out movies, music, and, of course, books! Most libraries are online these days, with options to browse the catalog from your computer and even reserve your books from home! Plus, many libraries are branching out into the streaming industry by partnering with companies that provide free eBooks, TV Shows, and Movies that you can borrow right from home! Contact your local library to obtain a full list of your membership benefits.
2. Library Book Sales
Libraries accumulate loads of books year after year. Sometimes they have to offload older books to make way for new ones. To do this, many libraries have book-sale events that will allow you to snag gently used books for dirt cheap! We’ve gotten tons of books this way, everything from paperback mysteries to leather-bound classics.
3. Go for Paperbacks
Speaking of paperbacks; when buying new and faced with the choice between a hardback or his paperback counterpart, chose the paperback to save some cash. Paperbacks allow you to get to the content that you want at a fraction of the price. If, however, you’re rough on your books or want to dazzle guests with a library full of leather-bound first editions, then this may not be the option for you.
4. Free eBooks
While we prefer physical books, you can find eBooks online for free. Practically, almost all old classics like Homer’s Odyssey or Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice are available online for free. Our all-time favorite resource for eBooks is Project Gutenberg. You might want to also check out Open Library, Libary of Congress, and BookRix. And for the theology booklovers, consider downloading Logos Bible Study Software. Each month they offer at least one free eBook or Bible resource.
5. Do a Trade
If you have books that don’t make the cut into your permanent collection, consider a trade with a fellow booklover. You could join a book swap community group on social media or create one of your own! Another option is to find a local bookstore that buys gently used books in exchange for store credit or cash (which is one of our favorite ways to save money on books and declutter).
6. Buy Used Online
If local resources for cheap books are limited, you’ll find a goldmine of affordable books online! Our favorite sites to save money on books are ThriftBooks.com, Amazon, Abebooks, Book Scouter, and Alibris.
When buying books on a budget, try the “Buy One, Sell One” method. This basically means that for every book you purchase for yourself, you keep your eyes open for any books that you can buy at a low price and resell for profit. When you get your system down, you can basically get books for free or even get paid to read!
7. Visit a Thrift Store
This isn’t a top-secret tip, but it’s a timeless way to save money on books! Visit a local thrift store to purchase gently used books on cheap. In addition, pay attention to liquidation promo days to where you can score 50% off already discounted prices! That means that you can get books for just pennies.
8. Stop in at a Yard Sale
Yards sales are usually seasonal, so if you have a year-round book addiction, this won’t be a sustainable source of literary pleasure. But in the Spring when attics and garages are cleaned and organized, you can hit up a yard sale just about any weekend. And you’ll find that books are always marked cheap. Don’t be afraid to offer a lower price, especially if you offer to buy books by the lot instead of individually. Don’t forget to scour the selection for any potential books you want to resell for profit! If you’re looking for more ways to side hustle, check out how you can Make Money Fast with These 10 Tricks!
9. Free Audiobooks Online
Most of us love the luxury of reading in a serene environment without any interruptions to distract us from our book. But seriously, that’s hard to come by these days, isn’t it? Audiobooks are a great way to multitask and you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy them! Your local library will likely have an audiobook section which is a great place to start. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can purchase audiobooks on the cheap from Chirp. And if you don’t want to spend any money, check out Libra Vox and Loyal Books (link) for loads of free content. Amazon Prime members receive get a limited selection of totally free audiobooks. Or you may want to consider signing up for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Plan with a FREE 30-day trial!
10. Rent a Textbook
I love reading for pleasure, but when you’re in college, you often read because you have to. We all know the whole textbook game: you buy a required book for $100, use it for one semester, and sell it back to the campus bookstore for $15; who, in turn, sell it back to students for $90. Rather than buying, take a look at renting textbooks. If you’re interested in renting, be sure to check out Campus Books, Valore Books, and Amazon.
Well, it’s time to curl up with an herbal tea and a paperback. We hope you’ve learned a few things on how to save money on books! Drop us a line and let us know your favorite tip for getting books on the cheap. Stay thrifty and happy reading!