If you walk into any book store, you’ll notice how pricey new books are: Hardcovers go for around $27, and paperbacks are around $16.
I did the ’52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge’ in 2014, and if I were to purchase 52 hardcovers that would cost me $1404 (not including sales tax); fortunately I haven’t spent anywhere near that amount.
I do spend a fair amount of money on books, but they’re one of the few material items I buy. Some folks spend $20 on shots at the bar, I spend it on a new book; my purchase lasts longer.
Okay sure, once in a while I’ll splurge on a new hardcover when a title catches my eye, but for the most part I like to cut costs when possible. I want to share with you a few simple ways to learn how to save money on books:
Your Local Library
Most libraries will unfortunately not have as sizable of a selection as you may find at a major book store, however, there are usually a lot of books to be found. In my last few visits to the library, I’ve found some great books on history and current events. Also, you should expect to find most works of classic literature.
What I like to do is go to the library, walk around the stacks for thirty minutes or so, and pick out three or four books that catch my eye. I’ll take them home and get down to business.
If I don’t like one, no problem as I have several more to choose from, plus they didn’t cost me a penny (except for taxes). Just make sure you return your books on time or the library police will hunt you down.
Overdrive (Or Similar Service)
If you’re not familiar with OverDrive it’s a website that allows people to check out ebooks via their public library. I’m not going to assume that all libraries use OverDrive, but most libraries should offer a similar service. When you pay a visit to your local library, just ask.
The great thing about this service is that there is a wide selection of books available for you to read on your e-reader, phone, tablet etc. There are a lot more books than what you would find in your library.
The only drawback is that even though the books are in digital format, you often have to put a ‘Hold’ on a book, because someone else has it checked out. I suppose it’s for legal purposes, but not to worry as there are plenty of books to choose from.
Free Kindle Books
Amazon has a generous selection of free kindle ebooks on their website. Most of these books are classic works of literature and philosophy, which are the types of books you should be reading anyway.
I believe that in order to read them you need to download the Amazon Kindle app to whatever device you want to use. It can be easily done on a phone, tablet, computer etc.
Amazon Used Books
Go to Amazon, and search for the lat book you read. Here’s the one I was reading when I wrote this post: The Angel of Grozny.
Notice how there are used hardcovers and paperbacks for only a penny; that’s not a typo. The only catch is that you have to pay $3.99 for shipping, but if your only going to pay a dollar or two for a book, the total comes out to 5 or 6 dollars which is very reasonable.
Ideally you would find these at a used book store, but I use Amazon when I’m looking for a specific book. That leads me to the next spot:
Used Book Stores
If you’re not sure if there’s a used book store in your area, Google is your friend. Most areas should have at least one used or second-hand book store. Oftentimes these are located within a library or community service oriented organization.
Used book stores are great because the books usually go for a dollar or two. The drawback to them is that the selection is limited compared to Amazon’s selection, although you’re not paying any shipping costs.
Get To Reading!
Once you’ve purchased your books, make sure to actually read them. Don’t just let them collect dust on your desk.
If you’re not an avid reader, then I suggest you start with a book you really want to read and find interesting. Don’t pick up a copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra if you’ve never read philosophy before. All that will do is turn you off from reading more.
One final note is that I never pirate or illegally download books and I recommend that you don’t either. First of all, I just outlined ways to get cheap and free books, so there is no reason to acquire books illegally. And second, I often garner a lot of respect for the authors I read and if I pirated their work I would feel like I’m slapping them across the face.
So, if someone charges $9.99 for their Kindle ebook, pay the price or work on generating more income where you don’t have to fret bout shelling out ten bucks.
With that said, I hope you found this useful and have learned a few ways to save money on books. Check out at least one of the five resources I provided to add some new books to your personal library.
This post was originally published here.