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How To Save Money On Books

Updated on September 3, 2012


In tough economic times, you begin to wonder if you can still afford the simple pleasures in life.  One of those pleasures for me has always been buying books. 

I'm an avid reader and have been since I was a child. I never stop yearning to hold real books in my hands or to have them grace my home library.

However, with the economic down turn a few years ago, I started to evaluate some of my own spending habits. 

I found that I was spending a lot of money in several areas where it was possible to trim some of the fat from my budget.

One of these expenditure categories was music and another was books.

I began to research for myself some of the ways that I could still enjoy my books and not spend top dollar for them.

Let's have a look at some of the strategies I came up with.



  • Don't buy new releases.  If you can discipline yourself to wait until the book is no longer a new release, and then purchase it, you'll save a bundle of money.  If you want to read it now, see below!
  • Check it out.  Use your library card.  This is one of the great privileges that we forget to use.  For no money at all, you can order books ahead of time, order on-line, pick them up fresh off the presses and read them for free.  As many times as you like.
  • Check for a listing of sales by libraries and nonprofit organizations across Canada and the U.S.  I found a first edition book at a library sale a few years ago for a few dollars.
  • Check bookstores for books that are not new releases.  I've found books that were no longer new releases at stores like Barnes and Noble for about $4.95 rather than the original price.  If you want the book, just wait to buy it for your collection!
  • Buy used books on-line or at regular brick and mortar bookstores.  You'll save a bundle.  You can buy hardback books and you can buy paperback books.
  • Frequent library book sales.  You'll find wonderful books at bargain prices.
  • Turn in your used books at book stores or sell them on-line.  You will receive credits which you can use to buy books you want.



  • - This site donates part of each sale to charities that promote literacy worldwide



Try book swap websites. If you want to read a book and not pay for it, check it out.

Participants list books for trade.

Every time a book is traded, the owner receives points.

Points are used to request books from other patrons.

Cost? Book rate for postage!

Some on-line sites for book swaps


  • Buy books returned to publisher.  These are called remaindered books.  They are returned books sent back to the publisher offered at a discount.  Try as they specialize in remaindered books.
  • The classics are free.  Read the classics on line.  Thousands and thousands are offered in free text format for download.  Check Project GutenbergDaily Lit is a great website that will send you bits and pieces of what you want on email or RSS feed.
  • The source - will give you a breakdown and help you compare prices so you know you're getting the best deal and saving the most!
  • Supreme bargain hunter tool.  Local thrift shops, Goodwill stores, Salvation Army, garage sales and estate sales are excellent places to find good, cheap, often mint condition books.  You just have to do the digging and take the time to check out what they have. 
  • Read reviews.  Unless you are collecting books by a certain author for a reason, reading reviews such as the The New Yorker, Metacritic or even reviews will help you decide if the book is "buy worthy"  or is it just worth picking up at the library to read and then decide? and eBay can net you books for pennies to dollars but be aware that if they are offered by different sellers, you will have to pay more in postage than the book is worth.  It pays to buy multiple books from one seller who combines them with one shipping rate.
  • Pass it on.  If you have friends and family who like the same authors as you, share out your books.  It helps to put your name inside the front jacket or flap of the book if you want it back eventually.  This is a great way to share your favorite stories with other people and have them share theirs with you. 



Check out Title trader - you can swap books, DVDs and CDs.

Bookins is like Title Trader and Paperbackswap but you only pay to receive books. Shipping books is free. If you are looking to sell your books, you post your list and as people take them, you get rid of your books for free.

Try Bookswim for renting books - it's a Netflix for the readers. is a bit expensive but you can listen to books on your iPod.

Check out the video on how to get free ebooks!  You can even download from your local library onto your Nook device and when the book is "due" it simply disappears.

In short, when I was trying to cut costs in my own budget, sadly I had to look at the amount of books I was purchasing.

I have so many favorite authors that the amount I was spending on books was phenomenal. I also love music so you can see where I’m going.

By cutting out buying so many books outright and reserving purchases only for special books I want to have forever, I have saved a bundle and I continue to save.

Even if I want to own a book, I use the methods above to save big bucks. I encourage you to try some of these techniques and see if they work for you.


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