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Topic: Saving on books without blowing a budget!

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Subject: Saving on books without blowing a budget!
Date Posted: 1/16/2009 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2008
Posts: 17
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I'm thinking about buying more paperback books without spending a ton of money.  I was thinking about going to GoodWill or the Salvation Army stores, but I'm not sure how much their books are.  What are your suggestions on buying cheap books?

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2008
Posts: 701
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I love thrift stores.  Sometimes you can find OOP books that are hard to find elsewhere. All thrift stores are not created equal. We have one that prices many of their books individually some up around $5 or $6. Another has filled a plastic grocery bag for $2.  So you may need to shop around to find a good one or four or five if you live in an urban area.

Also, I've gotten some fantastic books at garage sales.  I've seen some books on Craigslist .

Have fun. I would rather shop thrift stores than regular. It is the thrill of the hunt. You never know what you'll find.


Date Posted: 1/16/2009 5:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Use your local library.  Sure, you can't keep them, but there's no limit on how many times you can return an item and come back to check it out again.

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2008
Posts: 3
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The Salvation Army stores around here have kids books for $0.50 and adult for $1.00.

The Used Book Stores here give credit for books you bring in.  It takes me about 4 to 5 books to have enough to "buy" another.

The Public Library here has sales 2 times a year.  At first books are about $1.00 but by the end a huge plastic bag is $1.00....that's what I wait for (I read them then trade them at the used book store)

And finally, yard sales are great...$0.25 for kids and $0.50 for adult

Subject: :)
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 11:26 AM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2008
Posts: 17
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I've been looking for garage sales on Craig's List, but didn't find any around where I live.  They're mostly 30 miles away.  But how do I find out when the library is having their sales?

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Ask at the library.  Check the library's web site.  Look for flyers the next time you're there.  Ask the Friends of the Library (as the Friends usually host the sales.)

Subject: books!
Date Posted: 1/17/2009 4:26 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2005
Posts: 12
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My Goodwill has paperbacks 5 for a $1. So easy to find books to swap!


I agree with calling library to find out about sales--mine has one monthly.


Trade in at used book stores--as earlier poster says.


So many choices! frugalscholar.blogspot.com

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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my cheapest source is the FOL shelf at library. I'f I'm looking for something specific then I get it here at PBS..2nd choice for used is half.com and amazon.com used..occasionally ebay but not often. for a new book I go to deepdiscount.com..not cheap but discounted slightly and includes shipping so not tmepted to add to order like at amazon to get free shipping...big new orders amazon.com or deepdiscount.

Date Posted: 1/17/2009 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,290
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Check out this link:


If you click on your state you can then search by city/town to find one near you.  I think garage sales/flea markets are the best because these people just want to get rid of their stuff and will often let you make a deal.  But, then libraries usually will have a day at the end of the sale where you can stuff a bag full of books for between $2 - $5!!

Always look for books in good, clean, condition. (think PBS standards).  Look for books that are current and by authors you recognize. 


Date Posted: 1/18/2009 12:07 AM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2008
Posts: 17
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Thank you everyone!  You have been a great help.

Froggie, I will try that link out and see where local Libraries are and book stores too.

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2008
Posts: 1
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I have had some luck at the local dollar stores. I actually found my favorite book about running there and wish I had bought more copies to share (the book is on a wish list on here!).


Date Posted: 1/18/2009 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2005
Posts: 404
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Join freecycle.com

the bible says, "you get free, you give free".  I love freecycle and have both given away nice things and have gotten nice things too.

Date Posted: 1/19/2009 1:36 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2007
Posts: 2,289
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You also might check out book review sites.  They send you books for free, you get to keep them, and in return you just send the company your review of the book. 

Date Posted: 1/20/2009 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2008
Posts: 17
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Thank you everyone for the great suggestions.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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 I get books in many of the ways already mentioned and I  also get a steady supply of books from friends, family, and neighbors.  Just let them know you will take any books they don't want anymore. Many times they have books lying around they don't want anymore and just don't know what to do with them. They are glad to get rid of them. (Yes, there is actually people that aren't interested in PBS.--My friend buys lots of books RETAIL every month and has no interest in joining. She is on a computer all day at work and doesn;t have any desire to even look at a computer away from work.)

I also put a small box of books in the laundry room in our building and mark it "FREE" That has encouraged others to bring books they have and leave them also,

Subject: Cheap books.
Date Posted: 2/16/2009 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2009
Posts: 24
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Ask your local thrift shops if they hold auctions at a central location.  The Goodwill here in Tucson has them weekly. All of the books that are not sold throughout the city after a certain period of time wind up at the auction in VERY LARGE bins (hundreds in each).  Depending on who shows up, they normally go for $30-$60 per bin.  There are book bins at every auction.  The non book deals there are also amazing- some wild, cheap stuff shows up.


Check with any universities in your area about auctions as well. The University of Arizona here has one every other week.  Books are not always offered, and when they are, the titles run the gamut of genres.  Again, these are offered in lots several hundred.

Date Posted: 2/16/2009 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Thrift stores can vary even the "chain" ones.  There were 2 Goodwill stores in the area where I used to live. One had immaculate shelves of books and they charged $1.99 for paperbacks and $3-5$ for trades and hardcovers.  They had several neat rows of books all ordanized by genre and alphabetically. Really it was like a private UBS.   The other one had books just shoved onto shelves with no rhyme or reason.  Those were like 4/99 or something like that.  Most were pretty beat up and I rarely found anythign good.

Here the thrift stores all charge around $.25-.50 for paperbacks  and $.50-$1 for hardbacks.  I found a mint condition w/dust jacket of Eat Pray Love for .50.  Also there must be a local Jim Butcher fan that donates regulary because I keep finding his books there for .25 and they are mostly WL.  The library sales shelves can be a little pricier. Most of the paperbacks are .25 and the hardbacks $1.00. But usually anything in really good condition that's harder to find or that they know might have some value is $2-$5.  Most of the WL books I have found there, that are postable have been $2 for a hardcover or tradesize.  Which is still cheaper then a credit but not really cost productive to just post and send w/o reading it first when you factor in packaging and postage.   

For the most part: unless you're going to read the book yourself-even if you only pay .25 for the book-by the time you factor in the cost of the paper/ink + any packaging (unless you have mailers you can recycle) and then the postage of $2-$2.50 to mail-it's not a huge bargain to get that credit.  So if money's tight then it might be best just to skip it.  I do it on occassion if I find a book I know is WL that is super cheap and I have room in the budget to make someone's day by posting their WL book. If $ is tight then I leave it at the store.

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 180
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My local thift stores have books for cheap. I like the Salvation Army the best as they are like .25-.50 per paperback and .50 for hardback books. The goodwill however has a lot to choose from so I get books for .99-1.99 I try not to spend more than that unless I really want the book. Just make sur you look for water damage and such so if you wanted to post them on here if need be when you are done with them.

Date Posted: 2/21/2009 1:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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The thrift store here has books for under $1. The Goodwill is more expensive. The cheapest books are around $2 or $3. Sometimes my library has free books that they just have in a box by the door. So I don't spend a lot of money on books, I only buy ones I think I'll read more than once, unless it's just a cheap one from the thrift store. Any books I want to read I put on my TBR even though I don't own them. Then I request them from the library and if my library doesn't have them, they request them from another library.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 3/1/2009
Posts: 273
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i always wait for the local library sale that takes place in the summer. Books sell for .25 for paperback and .50 for hardcover. I always wind up with a shopping cart full! The church garage sales also are a wonderful place to look, mine offers all you can fit into a paper bag for 2$...you really find out how much you can cram in without the bag splitting! Wonderful ideas on here!

Subject: Dumpster diving
Date Posted: 3/2/2009 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/16/2009
Posts: 7
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You can do this if it's legal where you're at.  What I do, is that sometimes, I would go to the recycling station in town and look through the bins that said books.  You can't believe what kind of books you find there. 

Date Posted: 3/2/2009 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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If you find out about library sales or rummage sales you might ask what they do with stuff at the end.  Sometimes they throw it out and might be willing to give you any books that are left.  Especially if you come help the sale.  At the least, you'll be there when the bag sale starts!

Subject: Cheap books
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 12:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2009
Posts: 1,836
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My library sells books for .50 and magazines at .10.  Often I find current magazines.  Thrift shops are great places for books, too.


Date Posted: 3/7/2009 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 1,438
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Try FreeCycles.


Subject: book sales
Date Posted: 4/1/2009 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2006
Posts: 1
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http://www.BookSaleFinder.com/   I notice that you all have been talking about booksales, and this is a weekly newsletter that you can subscribe to that lists the booksales in your area.  I have been getting it for years, and then post them here when I am done with them.  Not only do they have hardbacks, paperbacks, audios, videos, and music, but many times antiques or hard to find copies.....Prices are far below what the bookstore price is, and they are generally sorted by topics, sometimes by author.....

On another topic, I have several audiobooks that have been listed for some time....I would like them to be gone, and was looking for a way to list them at one credit instead of two....Any ideas?