7 Money-Saving Strategies for Book-Lovers
Resources for Finding Secondhand Books
Books can be expensive! Fortunately, I manage to own plenty of books both in print and in digital format. Below I have listed the different money-saving options and strategies that I utilize to find the used and new books I crave.
1. Paperback Swap
This is my favorite option for finding books. Here are some of its benefits:
- There is a large membership, so the pool of available books is huge. The site has lots of convenient features, too.
- Users can create a wish list and get in line to request their favorite books as they are posted by other members. You can search by title, author, subject, or ISBN. The wish list enabled me to find some books I would never have found locally at my used bookstores.
- The website allows users to view a map to see where you have shipped books and where your books have come from. I've traded with book-lovers in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico from my North Carolina mailbox.
- The process is simple: First you post your available books, then every time a member requests a book and you send it to them, you receive a credit to use when you request a book from a member. Your only costs are postage to mail your unwanted books.
- Members also rate books and write reviews so that you can know what you are getting before you make your book requests.
I've also posted books I thought no one would be interested in only to have them claimed almost immediately by a grateful member. The network is large enough to be rather useful.
This has been a great resource for my church library as well. It can be hard to find replacements for some out-of-print library books, but Paperback Swap has come through for me several times. You can subscribe to a daily wish list email to see what other members are looking for.
2. Ed McKay's
Ed McKay's is a great resource for readers in North Carolina. This chain has been around for decades and has four locations in Central North Carolina. I have gone to the Greensboro address for over 20 years and have always enjoyed friendly service as I traded my used books for relatively new books, music, and movies. Ed's is a favorite place for local homeschoolers and college students since they carry textbooks for the local universities and have a large selection of educational resources.
Seek out the used bookstores wherever you live. Get to know the staff and become a favorite customer. If you are looking for something special, then they may be able to help you.
Goodwill and other thrift stores can be a source for books on occasion, although it is through serendipity rather than design. Every so often, someone will unload a box of wonderful books, but the selection is generally uninspiring. However, I will sometimes find a book that I know is on somebody's Paperback Swap wish list. I pick up the book for a dollar, post it, and mail it to a member for credit toward a book I want.
4 More Strategies for Obtaining New and Used Books
1. Start Doing Book Reviews
Find work reviewing books and keep them for your home, school, church, or library. This is the best way I've found to get brand new books for free. Sometimes I even get Advance Reader Copies (ARCs), which come out before a book is officially available for sale. ARCs can't be swapped or sold, but they allow one to be among the first to read a new book.
2. Visit Your Local Library
Support your local library's "Friends of the Library" book sale. Get books for your home library while helping the public library get new books for you to borrow.
3. Use Kindle
Get a Kindle and take advantage of weekly offers for free books. Some of the self-published Kindle books are really good, but you will never know about them unless you take a look!
4. Try Smashwords
Check out the free books category on Smashwords for free e-books in multiple formats. "Buy" the books and gain access to every format the author has created, including online reading, E-Pub, Mobi, PDF for printing, and more. Even if you have an older e-reader, Smashwords offers books in a format you can use. There are plenty of books for 99 cents, too.
Be Creative With Your Search
Bibliophiles will always find a way to get the best reading material. Buying used books is good for your mind, good for your wallet, and good for the environment. Compile a list of books you want to read, then see how many you can acquire for less than retail. Try these strategies yourself and let me know if you find any amazing deals.