8 Ways To Read More And Pay Less 10

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”

– Margaret Fuller

Reading is a very important part of a man’s lifelong education, but it can also become an expensive practice.

With the price of new books growing all the time, many men simply cannot afford to get many books.

However, that need not be. By looking in the right places and knowing the best ways to save, you can fill your own personal library… without emptying your bank account.

#1 Library

If you like in or near a large city, you will probably have access to a well-stocked public library.

Although you may have to wait a few weeks for even months for a book if other patrons are already waiting for it, using your local library system can help you avoid spending any money on books… as long as you remember to return them on time.

Unless you need a book immediately, your public library system can give you a free way to get it.

#2 Free eBooks

With the growth of the internet, you can now find many books for free online.

These books are in electronic form, so you have two reading options:

  • Reading Electronically (off your computer or handheld device)
  • Print The Entire Book (this method is probably as expensive as simply buying the book)

If you do not mind reading off an electric screen, this system can save you a lot of money.

Project Gutenberg distributes older, non-copyrighted books in ebook form, but other websites, such as the Kindle store, offer more recent books at discount prices.

#3 Online Used Bookstores

If you, like me, prefer to read a physical book that you can hold in your hand, you can still save money by buying it at an online used bookstore.

Amazon is one of the best known online used bookstores but there are other sites such as Abe Books and Alibris.

You can also look for good deals on auction sites, such as Ebay.

Whenever you buy anything used online, you need to be very careful who you buy from. Even on a reputable site like Amazon, the used books are supplied by individual resellers who may or may not be trustworthy. Before buying, look at the seller’s rating to see what past buyers have experienced.

Because you are faced with so many different online bookstores, it is difficult, if not impossible, to look at each site and compare prices.  Thankfully, you can use a comparison site, such as Google Shopping or Book Finder, to compare the prices from hundreds of different stores all at once!

By buying used books online, you will nearly always get substantial discounts off the retail price.

#4 Brick-and-Mortar Used Bookstores

Although not as easily accessible as online bookstores, you can also look for deals at old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar stores.

The prices at these stores vary widely and are often higher than those of online stores because of higher overhead costs.

However, since you do not have to pay any shipping, you can still potentially save money by buying from local used bookstores.

#5 Thrift Stores

Although these stores do not focus on books – their main products are normally clothes – many second-hand stores will have a small used book section.

If you are looking for a popular book at a cheap price, you might be able to find it at a thrift store. If, however, you are looking for a less common book, you are not very likely to find it.

Thrift stores often have the lowest prices, but they also have the smallest selection.

#6 Library Sales

Most libraries hold occasional library sales in which they sell old or rarely-borrowed books at very low prices.

Unfortunately, these sales are often badly publicized, so you will have to be investigative to find out about one. In addition, many of the books sold at these sales are old and in bad condition, so you will have to be very choosy.

At the same time though, you can find some real jewels if you have time to separate the junk from the useful.

#7 Remaindered Book Sales

When publishing companies print too many copies of a book or bookstores buy too many, they often sell the extras at very low prices.

You can find these books online using a site such as Hamilton Book.

These books are new and in great condition, but they simply did not happen to be as popular as expected.

#8 Online Book Swaps

A few websites online (such as Book Crossing) offer book swapping opportunities.

On these sites, you can “sell” your old books and get points that will then let you “buy” a new book. All you really pay is the shipping cost.

While this is a clever idea, most of the books available on these sites are valueless fiction novels that are not even worth reading.

If you can find truly useful books, however, this system can really save a lot of money.

How do you save money on books?

10 thoughts on “8 Ways To Read More And Pay Less

  1. Reply Niels Gouman Mar 3,2010 6:49 AM

    I get free books all the time, more books than time to read.

    Here’s what I do: When I’ve read a book (or don’t want to read it, because I already know enough or not interested) I simply give it to somebody who might benefit from it, and tell them to pass it on when finished
    For some reason the more books I give away (for free) the more I get (for free)

  2. Reply Geoff Hill Mar 3,2010 11:08 AM

    Amazon also sells used books if they are available for the particular title you are searching for. The sellers are listed/rated and the condition of the book listed as well.

  3. Reply Geoff Hill Mar 3,2010 11:12 AM

    A nice tool for reading books on an iPhone is Stanza by Lexcycle. They have a free app at http://www.lexcycle.com It operates like a mini-Kindle with animated page turning option, etc.

  4. Reply Jason V Mar 3,2010 11:55 AM

    Lots of ways to get inexpensive books. I can’t wait for your list of “What to read” someday.
    I’ve also recently gained access to a church library which has books which the local “public library” would never have. (Darwin’s Black Box, etc.)

    I listen to more books than I read. I’ve just recently discovered librivox for free recordings of “post-copyright” books.

    Also, as a side note, I once picked up a few boxes of old books at an auction. I think that I paid $10 for the 5 boxes, and kept only a few. I found an old Lincoln biography that I liked, and old science / model rocket books that are actually useful. The rest I sold or gave away.

    For Henty audiobooks, this is a good source, but not inexpensive: http://www.jimhodgesaudiobooks.com/

  5. Reply Jason V Mar 3,2010 11:57 AM

    PS: Has anyone found a good way to get rid of “old book odors” from mildew? I’m not sure if this is possible.

  6. Reply Nate Desmond Mar 3,2010 2:27 PM

    @ Niels – Sounds like a great system! How do you get them free?

    @ Jason – I actually like the older smell. :) You might want to try some of the ideas mentioned at: http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf585248.tip.html

  7. Reply Stormbringer Mar 3,2010 3:24 PM

    My area has an excellent inter-library loan system, where the libraries are “members”. I get regular and audio books from places I never heard of.

    One caution on library book sales is to stay out of the way of the dealers. I have literally had things snatched away from me as they get dirt cheap books so that they can turn around and sell them at much, much higher prices in their own stores. Also, by removing the stock by buying it, they create business for themselves by (a) making it unavailable to the rest of us, and (b) making us unwilling to go back to those library sales.

    But I have come to the realization that most of it is clutter. There are many stories of people who have boxes and shelves full of books that they will never read. Somehow, they think that by having books take up space, they’ll learn by osmosis. I’ve dumped and donated many books that it took me YEARS to accumulate, but I had to get honest and realize that I should focus on the few that I really need. And that the ones I actually need to own are even fewer.

  8. Reply Thomas Mar 3,2010 6:59 PM

    There’s really no point in owning a TON of books. (He says, even though he OWNS a TON of books). I try to read what I can, if I buy it, and then donate it to the library. If it’s something I’ll be reading often and again, I’ll hang on to it. Other wise if I have the itch to read it again it’s at the library.

    Also, dead people sales and yardsales are awesome places to find books.

    Other than that, why buy when you can hit the library, which we all pay for anyway out of our taxes and need our patronage?

  9. Reply Niels Gouman Mar 5,2010 12:54 PM

    Just give away all books that you’ve read or have no interest in anymore, give them to friends, collegues, your boss, random people. As long as you think they can benefit from it you’re good.
    Somehow the more you give away the more you’ll get. And having a bunch of books just taking up space in your house is a waste anyway, win-win I’d say. 😉

  10. Reply Noah Kephart Mar 6,2010 10:24 PM

    @ Jason V.

    Leaving out a cup of coffee beans helps absorb the smell that books emit as they age. Leave them out for a couple weeks and then replace them.

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