8 Best Places To Get More Books For Less Money

8 Best Places To Get More Books For Less Money - [Wading in Big Shoes]

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:

8 Best Places To Get More Books For Less Money - [Wading in Big Shoes]

1. Yard Sales

Yard sales (or garage sales, or whatever you call them) are so much fun because you can usually find several similar types of books in one place. This means that if the seller is really into Agatha Christie mysteries, you’ll probably find 10 Agatha Christie books to scoop up for next to nothing. If they’re into fishing guides and you’re not? That’s okay—you’ll find a better match at the next sale. **Tip: yard sales are usually a homeowner’s way of clearing out lots of stuff in a short amount of time, so bundle several books (or other items) together and haggle for the best deal!

2. Estate Sales

Estate sales tend to be a little different from yard sales in the sense that they’re often run by a third-party organization . . . so sometimes, the prices can be a little higher than they would be if you were buying items that were priced directly by the seller. Estate sales, however, often have higher-quality items (since they’re usually only being sold because the homeowner is either deceased or downsizing to a smaller location), so this is the time to look for colorful hardbacks or other “collectible” books that you might not usually find in a donation pile. **Tip: Estate sales typically last two or more days and end on Saturdays. While a better selection will be available during the first day of the sale, sellers often mark things down (we're talking 25 to 50 percent!) on Saturdays to get rid of what's left.

3. Thrift Stores

Ten for Tuesdays! Thrift stores are fantastic sources for bargain books, especially if you go on a special discount day. Our local Salvation Army recently had a “ten for a dollar” deal, which is hard to beat! Just make sure you go on the right day (and get there early to beat the crowds).

4.    Antique Stores

Like estate sales, antique stores don’t necessarily have the cheapest prices, but they’re great for finding colorful books that look great in clusters on your shelves. Plus, if you find the right shop (or vendor), you may find that you can score some really great deals! **Tip: look for antique vendors who sell a few books, but mostly specialize in other types of items. Vendors who specialize in book collecting often raise prices because they “know” what their items are worth (or rather, what their customers are willing to pay!).

5. Library Sales

I love, love, love library sales and actually just scooped up a ton of books at our local library—two grocery bags full—for just ten bucks (I would’ve gotten more if I had known about the sale earlier)! Because libraries are continuously updating and clearing out their collections, they have amazing selections and even better prices. Plus, everything’s organized and easy to find (thank you, librarians!).

6. Free Bins

Free is free—can I say more?? A lot of places that sell books also give them away if the seller starts getting overloaded with duplicate or outdated copies. Check your local library, thrift stores, and even yard sales to see if there are some freebies lying around that the previous owners are simply looking to clear out.

7. Family & Friends

I don’t know about you, but every time we go home to visit our family, Brad and I return with bags and boxes filled with stuff that our relatives thought would be perfect for us (i.e., they were cleaning out the garage that weekend). Kill two birds with one stone the next time you’re visiting your spring-cleaning relatives and ask if they’ve got any books they’re ready to part with. You may find they’re more than willing to donate to your cause!

8. Your Basement Or Attic

And finally—this one may seem a little ridiculous, but it’s worth double-checking. Do you have any books in storage you might have forgotten about? Brad and I have each moved three times in the past five years, and there are still unpacked boxes in our basement. I investigated the other day because I was pretty sure I was missing some of my favorite novels, and voila! Another shelf or two instantly filled. If you find that what you have in storage is better suited for the donation pile, set the rejects aside to make room for some titles you’ll better appreciate.

Do you have tips for collecting books or are you more of the library type? Share your preference in the comments!

8 Best Places To Get More Books For Less Money - Fill your bookshelves on the cheap by finding books these eight ways! Click through to read more. [via Wading in Big Shoes]