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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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    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Susan - Thanks for commenting - I go through the library instead. It helps cut the high cost of reading!

    • Susan Starts Now profile image

      Susan Starts Now 7 years ago from California

      Great hub! I am pretty good about saving money but when it came to books I just resorted to the just say no approach (for myself and my kids) because books have become so expensive. Thanks so much for sharing the great info.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Crewman - I got so into the saving money thing that I researched and researched...and to tell you the truth, I'm not sorry because I sure learned even more than I thought I already knew! I love the idea of book swaps!!

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 7 years ago

      As always, you think of things I would have missed. I pick up books from yard sales, and love the online classics. I have hundreds of free books on my Kindle. Can you believe even Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan are legally free now?

      Anyway, I didn't know about online swaps. That's a cool idea that I'll be looking into now. Once again, great ideas!

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Arthurchappell - sounds like a deal!

    • arthurchappell profile image

      arthurchappell 7 years ago from Manchester, England

      great ideas - we have lots of excellent second hand book dealers and charity shops in Manchester so I get many books that way

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      BJ - I hear you - I once had a whole list of books I had found that I wanted and all were 1 cent! I was so jazzed - but then when I added up the shipping costs, it was no longer affordable. Sad but true!

      Seanorjohn - I think it is all over the place in terms of rising costs - I personally would hate to see real live books become a thing of the past.

      Kethyjewel - Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • seanorjohn profile image

      seanorjohn 7 years ago

      Yes, books have become really expensive, particularly in the UK. I am swapping books with friends more and more these days. Charity shops in the UK sell recent novels for 10 or 20 pence.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      With Kindle, the iPad and other electronic devices for reading books, the sales of hardcover and paperback books have fallen dramatically with several bookstore chains going out of business recently.

      Yes, Amazon has tons of books for sale for only one cent but each requires $3.99 in shipping and handling costs. That charge represents much of the book seller's profit.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Truckstop Sally - what a great point to make. I have a couple of friends who are teachers and I always donate any books I don't want! them too and knew you would be a rabid reader like me!

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Books,book and more books this is the best hub...I love books I collect and sell rare books, and used to own a rare bookstore in Taos New Mexico. They surround me in every room, they are so hard to part with in everyway. Fantastic hub Audrey I rate this up love & peace darski

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 7 years ago

      Lots of great ideas!! If anyone is cleaning out children's rooms -- most schools appreciate donated books. They will either use them in their own classrooms/library or donate to needy programs.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Good deal Alekhouse - glad to be of help! I think we all need help these days on money saving tips.

      Lela - Sounds like fine endorsements....I prefer hardbacks and although they are usually more expensive, sometimes I just can't help myself!

      Karmicfilly - Thanks for stopping by - that is a great help as well! Thanks for the comment.

    • karmicfilly profile image

      karmicfilly 7 years ago from Franklin, TN

      My favorite site is where you can buy used

      books in great shape for as little as a penny. Can't

      beat that deal.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 7 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      You listed all my favorite places. I use paperback swap a lot. You can swap hardbacks too.

      Great ideas, thanks, Audrey!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Thanks for this, Audrey...such a good hub. You are so thorough. I have trouble saving so you've given me some ideas here.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      FP - I know what you're saying...a house can only have so many bookcases I've been informed (by my husband)....too much. So now it's the library for me too except for those books I have to have in my series!

      Hanna - They do unfortunately but if I find them on super sale, I just have to add one here or there!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Books can cost a fortune and your wrote a great hub on how to save on Books.

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago

      Great ideas! I'm an insatiable reader but have had to stop buying books because I've run out of storage space. Thank God for the library! :)

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 7 years ago from Washington

      Victoria - Thanks so much for stopping by! Glad you liked.

      Katie - We have so many books and bookcases in my house and I confess I still have to buy SOME books. That's just my way - but saving money is a great boon to having them!! More money for the bookcases!!

      Webguyonline - Thanks so much for the tip - and the read!

      Suzette - You are very kind!

    • suzetteboston profile image

      suzetteboston 7 years ago

      Thanks for all the great information. You are a wonderful writer.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Thank you my two daughters are reading machines. We take our used books to half priced books to be recycled.

      I can always use great tips on how to save money on books. :) Katie

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 7 years ago from London

      Loads of great information, thanks for