If you’ve been a reader for long, you’ve come to realize something of vital importance.
Books are expensive.
When I was in college (this statement may become a blog for Thirsty Thursday – What I did with my itty bitty amount of money), going into the bookstore was a treacherous thing. Funds were low and spending $27.99 on a new hardback was dicey business. Sometimes even $7.99 was pushing the budget. Now I make my own money and feel very little guilt at spending at Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. A lot of people, however, cannot or will not pay the full price for new books so I’m here to offer some little tricks I’ve picked up over the years of book hunting.
1. Always check the bargain tables. Whether it’s Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million, sometimes the bargain tables have GOLD. $5 hardback and it’s a book you’re missing in your favorite series. $3 random buy that turns out to be a damn good read. You just never know what you’ll find.
2. Find out where your used bookstores are. We found a great one near my college and frequented it. There’s also one in the nearest big city to my house. Sometimes you can find gold here too. Brand new edition someone abandoned and they priced it at $4? Hard to beat that.
3. If the used bookstore has more than one copy of a book, compare. In fact, do this at the big bookstores too. One thing I’ve always been funny about with books is quality. Bear can vouch for me that I go through the stack at Barnes & Noble to find the copy in the best shape. No scratches, no bends, no finger smudges. At the used bookstores, sometimes it becomes a question of which copy is in the best shape for the price.
4. Shop online. Sometimes you can find great deals online with books heavily marked down. I’ve gotten excellent deals from Amazon and there’s also this site called bookoutlet.com. Just like the used bookstore, it’s a treasure hunt to find what you want and they may not always have it. You just have to keep an eye open.
5. Check Walmart. This should also be called “Figure out which Walmart has the best book section.” The one that’s five minutes from my work has an excellent book section and I’ve seen some great deals there. Walmart isn’t the best in the world, but they usually carry a lot of new releases. Plus, a good Walmart has a bargain table as well, which can also have gold. You just have to hunt for it.
6. Find a buddy you trust to swap books with. This is probably the cheapest way to go. Before Bear and I got married, back when we were still in college, we would make deals. You buy the new book this time, read it first, then I get to read it. Next time, I buy, read first, then we swap. The only drawback here is finding someone you trust enough to loan books to.
7. Visit your local library. I must say, the last time I stepped into my hometown library, I was extremely disappointed. However, the local library in my college town was excellent. I volunteered there a few times a week and got the scoop on what books they had and what was coming in. They had a wide selection and I borrowed from them several times, even if I went back and bought my own copy later.
8. Digital books. They are often, but not always, cheaper than the physical copy. Plus, you don’t have to worry about lugging around multiple books or where to store them. Even if you don’t have a Kindle or tablet, if you have a smartphone, you can download the Kindle app and voila!
9. Kindle Lending Library. I haven’t participated in this myself, but from my understanding, if you read a lot of books every year, it can be a very good deal.
10. Wattpad.com This one is new to me and I haven’t explored it much yet, but it’s one of the latest writing sites that make posting and reading others’ work so much easier. It can be a treasure hunt to find the good stuff, but once you do, you can read it anywhere. On your tablet, phone, computer, whatever. So easy and the best part? Absolutely free!
The moral of the story is that you don’t have to have a lot of money to enjoy a good book. I would bet there are a ton of options out there, besides what I have listed here. How do you find your bargains?