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Tips to Find Cheap Books

I've found some great ways to feed my insatiable reading habit without breaking the bank. Here are my top tips on how and where to find inexpensive books.


1. The library

I know you're sick of hearing it from me by now, but if you truly want to read more with absolutely no hit to your bank account, you need a library card. I mean come on, free and endless books in all forms, while also supporting a loved and local institution? It's really a no-brainer. I'll always be a lover of real books, but am also a proud Kindle owner because I can download library books from anywhere in the world and carry as many as I want on one little device. It's perfect for those who travel a lot, especially by plane. I know the pain of trying to pack multiple books into one little carry-on and it never ends well. Don't forget, you can also download library ebooks or audiobooks to your phone to have books on-the-go if you don't want or need an E--reader. It doesn't matter how you consume books (I'm not a form snob) because as long as the information is being absorbed into your brain, you will reap the benefits.

My typical book-buying procedure is as follows: borrow a book from the library, read it, and if I end up loving it and want it in my possession forever, I will buy it from I'm not even sure how I stumbled upon this second-hand online platform, but I am so glad I did. You can choose whether you want the book in paperback, mass market paperback, or hard cover (I'm a paperback gal myself). You also are able to choose the book's condition (I tend to go for the newest depending on the price), and can even choose the cover edition based on the ISBN number. Typically, the books I buy are around $3 to $6, and the amazing thing about ThriftBooks is that once your cart hits the $10 mark, you get free shipping. As a bonus, if you sign up for their ReadingRewards program, you earn points for every book you buy and can end up getting a book for free once you reach a certain amount of points. I get that a lot of people love brand-new books, and there is certainly a novelty in that, but again, I can't afford to pay $20 for every book I read or wish to own, so buying second-hand has become my go-to. Also, it doesn't hurt that buying second-hand is better for the environment.

I wish I could say I was sponsored by ThriftBooks but sadly, I am not. ThriftBooks, if you're reading this, please sponsor me.

3. Library book sales

Ah, it is once again time for me to annoy you by singing the library's praises from the mountaintop. Okay, so most city libraries will have book sales once every month or few months. The Southeast DC Library has one on the second Saturday of every month. The Arlington Central Library has a giant one every spring and fall (the spring one is coming up in March, you know I'll be there). I just Googled and found that Durham County Library has one quite often (I'll link it here). If you do a simple Google search of your city's library sales, you can mark your calendar. Not only do you get books for $1 or $2, the proceeds directly go to funding programs at the library. So you're fueling your delicious reading addiction in a healthy and inexpensive way while also supporting your library and its patrons. It really can't get any better than that.

4. Donation stores

While I am the atypical weirdo who hoards every book I've ever bought in attempt to overflow my future house with stories, a lot of people will donate their books to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. These stores may not be treasure troves for national bestsellers, but I have quite often come across some gems while browsing their bookshelves. There's actually something beautiful about picking up a book that was so clearly loved and read, with a well-worn spine and dog-eared pages. If you're into thrifting at all, try checking out the bookshelf of a second-hand store ---- you never know what you'll discover.

5. Borrow from your friends' bookshelves

I'm sure everyone reading this has at least one bookworm in their life. If the bookworm is anything like me, they love to loan out their books to friends eager to read their favorite stories (with the understanding you're not one of those friends who will take forever to read the book and then forget to give it back). Honestly, half of the reason I end up buying the books I read and love is because I want to make sure I have a copy on hand to loan to a friend if they ever ask. I also find it extremely fascinating to browse anyone's bookshelf. I always find surprises, and often times ask to borrow a book I see on their shelf that's been on my TBR list for a while. Is it weird that I will spend a significant time at a party browsing the host's bookshelves? You can learn a lot about a person by seeing what books they keep in their home.


Don't forget, if you're stuck on what book to pick up or how to start your reading journey, feel free to shoot me a message through the 'Personalized Recs' page. Tell me some of your favorite books, genres, storylines, moods, or tell me some of your reading goals, and I will send you some books I think you'll love. Happy reading!


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