Reading on a Budget

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Books are expensive.

Let’s just all admit that right now. Books are a good way to go broke as quickly as possible, especially if you are like me and love the beautiful, hardback special editions of your favorite novels.

Someday, I will have bookshelves worth millions.

And I will still be broke.

Seriously, though, how do readers like us, who have budgets and rent and bills to pay, buy the books we’d love to own and still stay within a reasonable price range for the books we buy? (Without stealing pirated copies off the internet. Authors have to eat too, guys.)

Here are some of the ways that I buy books and still manage to have enough for groceries on the side.

1) Thrift Stores (NOT Used Bookstores)

Most of my books are secondhand. I browse through thrift store shelves on a regular basis, looking for anything that catches my fancy. Sometimes you find nothing, sometimes you find gold. (I found a brand new boxed set of the Hunger Games at a thrift store. Win!) The upside to this way of shopping is that you can find books for a dollar or two a piece, and usually add some fairly nice books to your collection.

The downside is that if you need a particular book—it can take months to find it.

Sometimes, you may not find it at all.

2) Save and Splurge

I have a few authors, (only one or two, mind) that I preorder books from. Their name pops up on Amazon, and I buy it, no questions asked. Everyone else . . . I wait around for. I’ll save up, or wait for birthday money or a gift card, or just stall until I really, really can’t wait anymore. Instant gratification will never, never do your bank account any good.

3) BookDepository.com

This website is a great resource if you’re looking for a particular book and don’t want to pay Amazon shipping. The pricing isn’t much different from Amazon, (unless you happen to find a book on sale, which does happen) but shipping is free, which always helps. If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll probably get a better deal there, though.

4) Trading at Used Bookstores

Okay, can we just all agree that used bookstores are expensive? Depending on where you go, the books can either be full price or only a few dollars less than buying them online or in Barnes and Noble. At least the ones that I’ve been to recently haven’t had such great bargains, no matter how old or worn the books are. At those prices, I would rather buy them brand new on Amazon and skip the underlined pages and marked up bindings.

Maybe it’s just where I live.

But, some of the stores that I’ve been to will take your old books, ones you’ve read or decided you’ll never get around to, in exchange for store credit. If you’re looking to get rid of some old novels to make room for new books on your shelves, go ahead and ask! You never know how much you may save.

In the end, book buying is just expensive. We’re paying for worlds to wander in and the incredible hard work and dedication of the author, and that is always worth the money we spend. If you can’t afford to buy the book quite yet, go to the library and check it out! Mention to the librarian that you just love this author, make a little fuss about them. Libraries will buy more copies, and the author will get more circulation. They’ll appreciate it, I promise.

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