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Tips For Saving Money on Books

Updated on March 20, 2013
Stack of books
Stack of books | Source

Ways to Save Money on Books

Whether you're a college student looking to save money on school costs or a book nerd who just reads a little more than their budget can handle, discovering how to save money on books is an essential lesson to learn. I've been there for both of those examples so I know exactly how you feel. From my own experience, I've learned the hard way just how to cut costs and keep enough money in my pocket for whatever other expenses I might have.

It sounds like it could be a lot of extra work and sometimes it is but in the end it's worth it. Why go out and by a bunch of Dickens novels for who knows how much money when you can get a series of his works on your Kindle for only three bucks? So, if you're looking at saving for school or just saving so you can buy twice as many books, then read on for tips to get you started.

How do you save money on books?

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1. Borrow From a Friend

The best way to learn about new books is to hear about them from a friend. It's even better when they're wiling to loan it to you. Don't be afraid to ask someone if you can borrow that old copy of Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf or whatever other text you need for class or just for fun. As a student, anyone is especially willing to loan you their copy, knowing that it's supporting your education.

One thing I didn't learn fast enough in college is the generosity of professors and fellow students. I'm sure every school is different, but, luckily, where I attended university, it was pretty common for professors to loan out a copy or two of the text assigned for class to the first bidder. If a professor isn't willing, oftentimes a student who had that class a semester before you might still have their copy and be willing to let you borrow it. This is just one of the many perks of getting to know your fellow classmates and your professors a little better.

Just remember, when borrowing from others, only borrow from those you would be willing to loan a book to in return. That way you aren't just taking advantage. Also, keep the book in as good of condition as you possibly can so that if you ever need that person's help again they'll be more than willing.

Library bookshelves
Library bookshelves | Source

2. Take Advantage of Your Library

There are many reasons as to why a library is important but one of the very basic perks is that it's free and full of a ton of books. As a book nerd and/or a student, a library is a haven for studying or just plain reading. I personally used both my local library and my school's library to borrow as many books as I could find from the required list for class at the very start of the semester.

Yes, there's a chance you might end up turning in that book a little past its due date but the minuscule fee is nothing compared to how much it would've cost you online or in a store and, best of all, you're supporting your library. Just make sure to take care of the books, just as you would if you were borrowing from a friend. It's easier to take notes on the pages themselves but it's worth the extra effort of using post-it notes instead.

3. Get a Kindle

It wasn't until the second to last semester of school that I got the first generation Kindle for Christmas. I was initially against using it but quickly discovered that it was immensely useful in terms of saving money on books. As a literature major, I tended to have a lot of classics on my reading lists. Luckily, the majority of classics are free for Amazon's e-reader. This, plus the fact that that meant my bag was a little less heavy during the semester helped make it even simpler to keep up with the reading lists on top of other school costs.

If you're just a person who loves classic literature in general, this is a plus too. Yes, it's true you don't get the feel of that big old book in your hands, but you get to save a bit more in your wallet. Not all books are free but there are some great deals out there that only cost a couple of bucks.

4. Go Bargain Searching

There are many places you can go and find books ridiculously cheap. Garage sales, thrift stores, and even libraries sell books considerably marked down. Goodwill has been one of my favorite places to shop for books since I was a kid. I remember walking over there with my sister and finding all the Anne Rice books we hadn't read yet and buying them all. That plus anything else that caught our eye. It's not highly likely that you'll find whatever book you're looking for at any of these places but there's still a chance.

5. Go Search Online

As a student, I enjoyed buying books listed for as low as a penny on for my class reading list. Even now, you can find some for your Kindle for just a dollar or two or get a real book for around the same price. The added benefit is that, if you buy an actual book rather than a virtual one, you can sell your books again on Amazon and use that money toward your next purchase.

Other sites offer some pretty nifty ways to save as well. A couple of them are all listed to the right. They have systems for loaning and borrowing books or paying a straight fee for a membership similar to Netflix. Either way, as long as you're only spending a couple of bucks per book you're definitely saving, especially if you read more than one or two books a month.

© 2012 Lisa


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    • sarahshuihan profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      great suggestions. A good website for cheap books is I've found books there for 75 cents!

    • jmartin1344 profile image


      6 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      Nice hub, this is one of my favorite topics...the art of acquiring books! In my opinion there is nothing quite like going to an old used book store and just browsing randomly. When a book catches your eye that you've never heard of and turns out to be a gem... that's a great feeling.

      Also, it's a great point that a vast number of classics are free online since they are in the public domain. If you don't mind reading online that's a great way to save money (I even have some on my cell phone...)

      Oh and to Recappers Delight, half price books is great! I just gave a good friends $50 there for a wedding present as it is he and his new wife's favorite store!

      Great hub!

    • recappers delight profile image

      recappers delight 

      6 years ago

      Yeah for plugging libraries! It's the best deal in town! Your local library is likely to have a Friends of the Library group who sells books inexpensively.

      Also - try Half Price Books.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      I love the library, and use it regularly. Also, I go to used book stores that will give you credit for your old books. This way, I not only get rid of books I'll never read again, but save money as well. Good hub - voted up, useful and interesting.

    • SayItWithFeeling profile image


      6 years ago from Spanish Fort, Alabama

      Garage sales are pretty amazing! I also enjoy going to flea markets or the library.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      6 years ago from UK

      I use the library regularly - we are lucky because there is an online system for searching and ordering titles that aren't at your local library. Ebay is good for books too - I've bought and sold them. The Kindle is out of my price range at the moment but I've downloaded the app onto my PC (for free) and now I can get free ebooks too.

      Good ideas, wish I had more time for reading though!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great suggestions....I love garage sales and get great deals on books there....of course, nothing beats the library!


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