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6 Ways to Save Money on Books

by Carrie Lowrance

Do you have a book addiction? Do you love to read but don’t always like paying full price for brand new books? Is your bookshelf overflowing but you still can’t stop buying books?

I totally understand. I have loved books ever since I was a kid. My mom said when I saw my first book, my eyes flew open wide, and I pointed wildly at the pictures with my hands. Yep, I have been a book addict my whole life.

Do you know what I like even better? Getting books on the cheap and finding new and creative ways to move books off my shelf that I know I won’t read again. Hey, everybody has to make some room sometime.

Today I’m going to share with you how to find books on the cheap and ways to move old books out to make room for new ones that you will love.

Finding Books On The Cheap

I have several different places I like to go to find books at deep discounts, some are online, and some are in person.

1. Used Bookstores

I love, love, love a good used bookstore. I can spend hours looking around at all the books on the shelves. These stores usually have excellent prices and sometimes run sales. My favorite used bookstore in my old town will run 10 for $10 deals on Saturdays sometimes. Heaven.

2. Library Book Sales

Although they only happen once or twice a year, library book sales are a great place to buy used books. The first few days books usually run a set price for paperbacks, hardcovers, and other miscellaneous items (videos, music, DVDs). By the end of the week, you can usually fill a bag with books for a dollar or two. Talk about a steal.

3. Used Bookstores Going Out Of Business

When a used bookstore goes out of business, this is another fantastic opportunity to get your hands on some new books. You can usually fill a bag or a box for so much money. I remember I spent $60 once at a used bookstore that was going out of business and went home with three banana boxes full of books. Finding room on my bookshelf was another story.


I am a relatively new customer, but I really like their site. They have lots of used books in all kinds of conditions from “good” to “really good” to “like brand new.”

The best part? You only have to order ten dollars worth of books to qualify for free shipping. Also, you can set up a “wish list,” and they will email you when books on your list become available. You can also earn points for free books with every order.

One of my favorite authors is Karen Kingsbury, and last year I ordered the first five books in her Baxters series and paid around $25, a far cry from buying them brand new in a brick and mortar store.


I also love the site They offer books in three different kinds of conditions; special buys, scratch & dent, and bargain books. Special buys are brand new books that are printed specifically for Book Outlet. Scratch n’ dent books have cosmetic wear and tear but are still structurally sound.

Bargain books are marked 50%-90% off the list price. You have to order $35 worth of books before you can get free shipping. They also have wishlist and reward options. I haven’t ordered much fiction off of here, but I have ordered several cookbooks at deep discounts.

6. Book swap

Gather your friends together and bring all the books you don’t want and trade away. This would make a fun afternoon with finger foods, snacks, and dessert.

Now, What Do I Do With My Old Books?

Getting rid of your old books can be another thing entirely. Here are some creative ways to move your books along without donating them to Goodwill.

International Book Organizations

There are people all over the world who are desperate for books but can’t get their hands on them. Look up International Book Donation programs and when you find one that you think is a good fit, contact them and see if they will take your books. You will need to get a customs form from the post office to ship internationally.

Donate to a Little Library

Little Libraries are popping up all over the place. What is a little library? It’s a small box that people put out in their yards, and some business owners put them in other areas where there is a lot of foot traffic. People can take and leave books, it’s a great way to help underprivileged children and adults get their hands on books.

Send your books out “into the world” attaches a unique ID to your book that allows you to track it wherever it goes around the world. You can either order ID’s to put on your books or create and print your own. Simply register your book, label it, release it into the “wild” (coffee shop table, leave it at an airport, leave it on a park bench) and then follow it and see where it travels.

“Free Books” Box

How many times have you been waiting for an appointment or for your car to get fixed or at a bus or train station and wished you had something to read? Contact local businesses where there are heavy foot traffic and long waits and ask if you can bring a box of “free books” for people to look through while they are waiting. If the staff says “yes,” load up your books and take them over for others to enjoy.


This site allows you to list the books you want to give away. People put in requests for your books, and you mail them to receive points. You can then use your points to request books from other people. There are many ways you can acquire new books and get rid of old books without breaking the bank. Happy saving and happy reading!

Carrie Lowrance is a writer and author. Her work has been featured on Huffington PostThe Penny Hoarder, & Crosswalk. She is also the author of two children’s books, Don’t Eat Your Boogers and Brock’s Bad Temper. You can find out more about Carrie and her writing at

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