Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thrifty Thursday: It's Chic to Be Cheap

This month's Dishing It! party (open for more links until tonight at 10 pm--come on over!) is all about {Your Summer Reading List}. Since we've all added to our "to-read" lists after the party, I thought it might be fun to chat about inexpensive ways you can acquire books. Several readers mentioned thrifty book venues in their posts yesterday that are worth discussing.

There's something to be said for walking through the hallowed doors of one of my favorite retreats, Borders.
Seeing the neatly organized racks of books just sends my heart racing. I feel positively gleeful once I hit the magazine aisles.

But spending $17 on a new paperback isn't always within one's budgets, so today we'll talk about some more cost effective ways to save on books.

1. Library-
Um, this one's kind of a no brainer, people. Ben Franklin totally knew what he was doing when he started America's first subscription library. In addition to borrowing as many books, tapes, and DVDs as you like, many libraries also offer great community events. I mentioned in my kids' summertime activity post that our library hosts an excellent storytime for kids each week. The key to using the library is to return your books on time so you don't incur fees every month. Don't ask me how I know about that. 

2. Used Bookstore-
Dropping by a used bookstore is a great way to get rid of those books that totally sucked you know you won't read again and to find bargains on new-to-you books. I've noticed that used books typically run about half off of the publisher's price. The shop closest to me allows customers to use full store credit on purchases, so I can often bring home a book or two for free after leaving a stack for the store to sell.

3. Hit the web-
I've purchased through Amazon and I found a book once for something like 3 cents (really!), so shipping ended up being more than the book...but still substantially less than patronizing Barnes and Noble. If I'm buying through a seller, I am very careful to read that person's feedback, the same as if I were purchasing something through eBay. Nadir and my sister also mentioned something called Paperback Swap that sounds like it may be worth checking out.

4. Yard Sale It or Thrift It, Baby!-
On more than one occasion have I blogged about the joy of finding a neat book for practically nothing. One example that comes to mind was the Vintage McCall's Sewing Book I scored at an estate sale for $1.
This actually came in handy during a recent sewing project! If you buy the book for 10 cents and hate it, you won't feel guilty for passing it on to Salvation Army. I find the best Little Golden Books for my girls at the Salvation Army...some old, vintage favorites that I am dismayed people would pass on. But I don't stay dismayed for long because those treasured books become ours for just 50 cents!

5. Swap-
Kendra wrote about swaps and something my MOPS group is planning on doing this Fall is starting a Book Swap Club. I like this idea even better than a regular old Book Club because there is no pressure to read a book you may or may not like, or to pretend like you've read it and then sit and nod your head knowingly as important passages are discussed. I did enough of that in college Philosophy class.

A Book Swap could be as formal or casual as you like. You could assign points for the number of books members bring, ask people to give a quick plug for their favorite book they brought, or just throw the books on a table and let everyone go to town like a pack of wolverines.

6. Find Some Friends with Similar Literary Tastes-
My friend L has the uncanny ability to make things sound like lots of fun until you want to do them, which is how I got stuck doing Strive at the gym and also how she convinced me that I would love Twilight, which I did. Another friend talked up Gabaldon's Outlander series until I was convinced that I was missing out on something huge, which I was. Good friends lend books!

7. If you really want the Borders-Barnes and Noble-Books a Millon experience, sign up for a frequent reader card or something.
Borders sends me at least one coupon a week. I once coupled a 40% off coupon with a gift card and some clearance items and came home with a bag of goodies for next to nothing!

If you have any more thrifty ideas for book buying, please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments!

Now...anyone want to join me at Borders with a mocha?

PS. Holly is having an IKEA party today--go link up if you have an IKEA post to share!

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  1. Amanda you shared some great ideas! Sometimes you can find great book finds at the Goodwill in our town. Also we have a second hand book store in our town that gives great store credit and then the books are a LOT less than you might imagine. We spent $13 of store credit only the other day and got 5 books..including some cookbooks, children's classics, and a couple of hardback Christian fiction books. So its best to really check out the possibilities...I haven't paid cash for a "new" book in ages! We love using store credits and the town library.

    Another way to get great books is to sign up as a Blogger Book Reviewer with Thomas Nelson Publishing. Just an idea!

  2. I loved all the 'thrifty' book suggestions from yesterdays post! Thanks for highlighting them, that's very useful!

    PS-Had a blast at the Dishing it party yesterday!

  3. I don't know if it was mentioned yesterday (I'm a bit behind in my rss feeds) but there is a site called DailyLit (, which provides free books to your email or RSS Feed.

    It's not as good a book in your hands and you do have to receive it piece by piece but it's still free! :]

  4. I used to be in a book club and I do miss at least reading that one book a month. I did do that Paperback swap and it was great!
    I buy a lot of used books for my class (I teach 3-6 year olds) at Goodwill and other places used. At Goodwill children's books are usually 50c or so for paperback and 99c for hardback. I have got some great classic titles - Eric Carle books, Dr Seuss etc.

  5. Very cool! My daughters (teenagers!) love going to the Library to now only check out books but check out movies. Great ideas !!!

  6. I'd add that Barnes & Noble online is having a huge summer clearance sale, with books starting as low as $1.99. If you spend $25, the shipping is free.

    Thanks to my bloggy friend Noelle (Jumpin Beans) for telling me about the sale!

  7. Hehehe…thanks for the shout out! I’m a BIG fan of grabbing an iced latte and taking advantage of the magazine section (mostly home décor mags) at Barnes and Nobel. Great way to be entertained for little money! I’ll give in a little and meet you at Borders if it’s your fave. ;o)

    Kendra "Domestic Princess in Training"

  8. I so enjoyed the party. You are the hostess with mostest.

    I went to the library this morning and got Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews. I've only read a few pages, but I can already tell that I like her style. Thanks for the suggestions!

  9. I love books! I have about 500. Amazon is great for used books. The majority I have received have been in excellent condition. Also, my local library has book sales where I load up.

  10. I'm totally there with you at Borders with a mocha! Do you ever just smell a book? Weird, I know.
    I've got several of your reading list suggestions requested at the library.

  11. I'm a library gal myself. I don't usually read books more them once. (I'm more about quantity than quality. ;)) The gals at our library are so great. They know me and I reserve everything online in advance so I'm in and out.

  12. Loved reading this post. I've been taking my little boy to the library a lot recently and picking out a few books for myself.

  13. Good friends lend books. Yes, they do. But if you're a friend like me, you might now always get those books back to their owners. Gulp.

    Love all this summer reading talk! Thank you again for hosting such a cool party. Your parties are great--people actually visit one another!

  14. I like to check out the thrift shops at the beach for books when I'm there off season. I occasionally find some good ones.

    I just saw that you are featured on The CSI Project this week!! You go girl!!

  15. Ah - I love the library! We also have a Books a Million that sells old used library books for like $3-5 a hardback! I have gotten some of my favorite authors there too!

  16. Absolutely one of my most favorite things to do is go to the bookstore and peruse the shelves, coffee in hand! Love, love, love.


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