My family loves books. We love to read them, we love to buy them, we love to terrorize the movers with the sheer volume of them. One thing that this family's Chief Financial Officer doesn't like, however, is the price of them. Seriously, it is insane how expensive books can be.
Fortunately, I've discovered a couple of excellent ways to keep the prices of books down:
- Half.com - this is my absolute favorite way to buy books (and movies and music, too.) At Half.com, individual sellers list their new or used media at excellent prices. Most books I've purchased have been less than $5.00 including shipping and handling, and by ordering more than one book from the same seller you can save even more. Popular or specialty books can be more expensive, but still usually quite a discount off retail. Depending on the purpose, I can order a brand new book (like for a gift) or a slightly used copy. I've been delighted with the prices, the service, and the books usually come quite quickly. IN addition to the great prices, Half.com has a phenomenal selection of rare and out-of-print books, plus searching online is quick and easy.
- Scholastic book clubs - if you have a child in public schools in the US, you may have seen the Scholastic book club order forms coming home. Scholastic's books are often at a great discount off of the regular retail price. If your child's school doesn't participate or you homeschool, you can register online at Scholastic to access their excellent prices and nice selection. In addition to traditional children's books, you can find excellent values on popular titles that aren't age specific: Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, etc.
- Yard Sales - these can be hit or miss, but occasionally I'll run across a yard sale with a nice selection of books that interest me. Prices are usually fantastic (25 or 50 cents a book).
- The library - most libraries have a small area where they sell books that have been removed from circulation or books that have been donated to be sold. If you are lucky, you might stumble across last year's bestseller for a dollar or two, plus proceeds benefit your library.
- Thrift shops - most thrift shops have a book section. The selection is sometimes questionable but the prices are usually quite good. Look for half-price days, dollar days, or bag sale days for even more savings.
- Used book stores - check your area for used book stores and pay them a visit. Quality, selection, prices and service vary widely between used book stores, so don't quit looking at used book stores just because the first one (or couple) don't feel right to you. Many offer credit for selling your old books, which can help clear out books that aren't being loved and make room for new titles.