In 2011, my husband and I made a big move from Alabama to Texas. While we were in between places, we put most of our things in storage. This included my entire collection of books that I had started since middle school (when you could order books with that mail in form and they would mail you so many free books but the catch was you had to buy a book every month). Eventually we cleaned the storage out and moved the things to his father’s place. Then I got the dreaded call one day. My books had been destroyed by water damage (including all of my Harry Potter novels; I know, complete devastation, right?!). So now I am in the process of rebuilding my personal library.
As you know I am a teacher and the budget can get pretty tight so I love a good book deal. Most of the books on my shelves cost me very little or were free.
Here are a few ways that you can get books for free and for cheap:
- ThriftBooks : A few years ago (ok, maybe more than a few), my mom introduced me to purchasing books from ebay.com and then eventually half.com. While I was searching for half.com and found out they are gone, I found the app ThriftBooks (they also have a website). This company used to be a big seller on half.com. You can find discounted books here and they always have sales and coupon codes.
- Indie and Local Bookstores: I also love going to my local indie bookstores (not the mega bookstores like Barnes and Noble, etc). They usually have every book you can ask for and they are always so accommodating. These bookstores are great supporters of the community as well. They usually have author events, book events, and other fun, interactive activities. I encourage everyone to find and visit your local indie bookstore. Two of my favorites here in Houston are Katy Budget Books and Murder by The Book.
- Half Price Books: Another bookstore that I use that generally has good deals and they have a teacher’s discount, too.
* Might I mention that the aforementioned bookstores also offer programs such credits for bringing in books.*
- Traditional Book Stores: I also find some relatively good deals at Barnes and Noble and Books A Million, especially with the educator’s discount which is totally free at both places. Plus, Books a Million is now starting a credit for books program as well!
- Thrift Stores, Salvation Army, Goodwills/Secondhand Stores: Thrift stores around the area sell books for close to nothing. I have found a few thrift stores where the book selections are really great. Be sure to check and see if your thrift store offer deal days. For example, our local Salvation Army stores offer 50% off on Wednesdays.
- Garage and Yard Sales: I know that it seems old school but it is a great way to get out of the house and get around your community. Visit local garage and yard sales. You are sure to find some book jewels there. Some people have even reported finding collector’s editions and first editions at estate sales. Sometimes these books are worth a couple of bucks! P.s. Don’t forget about your online garage sales!
- EReaderIQ: I use an internet system like EReaderIQ to help me find the best prices on my eBooks which are purchased through Amazon . I simply input the books that I am waiting on and the price at which I would like to be notified and then I just sit and wait until it I am notified. *Note this website only identifies prices for the US.
- BookBub: I am also subscribed to BookBub which is a website and an email system that alerts me when certain eBooks are 1.99 or less, including free! This site also allows you to personalize your emails and deals that you receive from them. These books usually can be purchased on Amazon, I-Books(Apple Store), Barnes and Noble, and Kobo. This site is the reason I have so many books on my kindle right now. But they have also allowed me to be introduced to books that I otherwise may not have been exposed to.
*Note: EBooks are electronic books that are to be consumed digitally. You DO NOT have to have a Kindle or an electronic reader to be able to use eBooks. You can use your cell phone, I-Pad, tablet, or computer.*
- Amazon books: Of course, we can’t forget Amazon. Amazon offers many options for books including used physical copies, kindle editions, narrated books, and audiobooks (Audible).
- Public Library: Mostly, I just use my public library. Our local library in Houston now has an app and I am way too excited. In addition to physical books, most libraries are also going digital. I know that my local libraries use Overdrive and Libby for eBooks and audiobooks. I can download these books to my kindle, tablet, and phone. I am able to place holds on books that I like and I am alerted when they are available. As previously mentioned in my libraries post, libraries are an excellent resource!
Some people like buying shoes; some people like buying clothes; I like buying books and these are just a few of my favorite ways.
Let’s Chat: What are some of your favorite ways to get books?