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By the author of The Faithful Prepper and The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications.
So you have a bit of a book problem. You’re most certainly what you would consider a bibliophile, but you’re trying to cut back on expenses.
Yeah, you’ve tried the library, and they do have what you want occasionally, but you find yourself, again and again, staring at your credit card statement in awe at the sheer cost of all the new books that you’ve just bought. Your habit is taking a rather large bite out of your monthly budget, and you know you need to cut back, but you don’t know how to do so without going miserable.
Here are a few ideas to help you to continue to have new material to read without breaking the bank.
This is my go-to resource for used books – and buying used is the key here. You will not save money buying fresh-off-the-press books. You have to buy used. ThriftBooks is a good means of doing so. I’ve found that their selection is pretty decent (though not as large as Amazon’s), and I can sometimes find books here that I couldn’t find elsewhere as well.
You build up points with each purchase you make here as well, so you can end up getting free books after you spend a certain amount of money as well. My understanding is they’re not associated with Amazon at all either. If you’ve been trying to avoid giving your money to Jeff Bezos, that’s something to consider here.
I’ve used AbeBooks in the past extensively, and they have a very similar flair to ThriftBooks. I’ve never understood the purpose of this business move, but they are owned by Amazon. Why Amazon is a bookseller but also owns another site solely devoted to selling books is beyond me.
So while you can typically always find good deals here, that may be a deciding factor in whether or not you’ll shop here.
If you’re going to shop for books on Amazon, you have to buy them used if you want to save yourself any money. If you end up buying everything here new, you’re only going to end up helping to starve your wallet. I’m not aware of any reward system here either that gives you free print (not Kindle) books after you purchase X amount either.
The cool thing about buying used on Amazon is that you can often find ‘like new’-grade books for just a dollar or two more than the beat-up copies. If you need to cut back on book expenses, this is a good way to do so.
Few seem to know that Goodwills across the country regularly have some of the greatest book selections out of any store in town. You can often pick up brand-new hardbacks here for a dollar. It takes a bit of perusing when you’re here to find something you may actually like, and that’s not for everyone, but you can walk away with some fantastic deals here.
Antique Malls/Flea Markets
These tend to be more expensive than Goodwill, but antique malls typically have books available for sale pretty cheap. They’re not all ancient, either. I regularly find books that are only a few years old in antique malls all around my area.
As long as the vendor is paying the antique mall the booth fee, antique malls tend not to care what the vendor is selling. They could be selling copies of the Twilight trilogy for all the antique mall could care, just as long as they’re getting their money in every month. It’s because of this that these are great places to peruse through for semi-cheap books.
Your local bookstore
The keyword here is ‘local.’ If you go to a major retailer, you’re going to end up paying a lot more money. If you run into the local mom-and-pop, the shelves tend to be filled with cheap, used books that you can often pick up for just a few dollars.
Overall, I have noticed that people in the book business know what it is that they’re selling – you’re not going to walk out of here with a $50 for $2 like you will from Goodwill – but you can still score one heck of a deal.
Typically, I’ve found that fiction, biographies, and history are the best deals you’ll find in these shops. And considering that a lot of these stores have rewards programs that give you a free book for every ten you buy or so, you can save quite a bit of money per year by regularly perusing these aisles.
Little free bookstores
These are the little birdhouses stuffed full of books that are scattered throughout your community. You can find them everywhere, and taking a book out of one is absolutely free. Sometimes it’s recommended that you replace one book for every book that you take out, but it just depends on the box.
Either way, this can serve as a great place to get inexpensive books.
Are there other places you would recommend to bibliophiles?
Books are expensive, and with inflation ever-increasing, they’re only going to grow more so. Thankfully, there are recourses you can turn to to help protect your monthly budget. What are your thoughts, Frugalite bookworms? Are there other resources to turn to that you know about we didn’t discuss above? Let us know in the comments below.
Aden Tate is a regular contributor to TheOrganicPrepper.com and TheFrugalite.com. Aden runs a micro-farm where he raises dairy goats, a pig, honeybees, meat chickens, laying chickens, tomatoes, mushrooms, and greens. Aden has four published books, The Faithful Prepper, An Arm and a Leg, The Prepper’s Guide to Post-Disaster Communications, and Zombie Choices. You can find his podcast The Last American on Preppers’ Broadcasting Network.