Once upon a time, Brad built me a wonderful set of white bookshelves. Spanning the better part of two walls, these shelves brightened our living room, yet mocked my pitiful selection of reading material. Oh, yes—I owned the usual, predictable collection you’d expect from your average “I like to read but can never find the time” type of girl: several various titles left over from my high school years, The Hunger Games series, and a box full of magazines that I kept promising myself I’d get to one of these days. It was pathetic, and not even my penchant for pretty knick knacks and picture frames could fill the void left by a lack of novels and memoirs.
So, I set it upon myself to fill these empty shelves and in the process, upped the ante by making a personal resolution: I’m going to start reading again.
I hear your grunts of mockery, naysayers, but hear me out! I love being sucked into a good book that makes me lose track of time, and any time I can spend not staring at a computer or phone screen is a huge help to my eyesight (and overwhelmed brain). Plus, there's something to be said about having the books right there in plain sight--you can't really ignore them the same way you can when they're sitting in boxes.
Suddenly, I found myself with a new predicament: how on earth was I going to fill all of these bookshelves without collecting a bunch of junk or emptying my entire bank account?
(Don't worry, I've got some answers.)
I have actually been building up my book collection for several months now. It hasn’t happened overnight, but I’ve made progress! To keep myself from drowning in stacks of mindless clutter, I’ve decided to only gather books that fit one (or more) of the following criteria:
- It’s something I am legitimately excited about reading (based on recommendations, book jacket summary, etc.)
- It has some sort of instructional use (e.g., a cookbook, writer’s reference, or DIY book)
- It has relevant historical, regional, or sentimental significance (e.g., a story about my hometown, a collection of poems by Michigan authors, or a book that was given to me by a close family member)
- It’s kind of old and reeeeeally pretty (Think antique books. These are the types of books that can be grouped into small sections as decorations even if they’re not read frequently. My sister hates me because of this one.)
Of course, these methods aren’t completely fool-proof. Sometimes, you find yourself with a dud (or ten) because you took a chance on a story you ended up hating, but that’s okay! You live, you learn, then you drop your less-than-perfect book into the library’s donation bin. Plus, now you have a few spots open for some books you really love. :)
The Best Places To Get More Books For Less Money
Of course, I buy some books new (e.g., must-have bestsellers that people won’t stop talking about or small group/Bible study books), but the vast majority of what I put on my shelves are used titles. Here are some sources where I’ve found luck when it comes to scoring more for my money: