How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby
I think most of us who are avid readers can agree that reading isn’t exactly the cheapest hobby. Personally, I do several things to cut the costs of books I buy and I hope to share some useful tips with you today! Free resources are also great to use and I’ve found some pretty good gems from those so use them shamelessly!
Hardcover books are my absolute favorite but dishing out roughly $25 per book leaves a serious dent in my wallet. Certain paperbacks can even be pretty pricey, and don’t even get me started about different book editions.
We could all stand to save a little bit of cash and reduce the costs of our book addictions. Be aware, these tips may cause your TBR pile to grow significantly. I’m not responsible for any readers getting stuck under a pile of books. (: Enjoy!
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1. Use the library
Naturally this would be the first and most recommended tip for saving money on books. Libraries are great and if you’re someone who wants to read newer books, you can just ask your library to notify you of new books they receive. All the libraries I’ve used have had no problem doing that.
2. Go to library book sales
On the topic of libraries, they often have a little corner of book stands sitting around or designated days were they sell books at a discount. The books are typically a few dollars so you’re not breaking the bank and you’ll also be supporting your local library!
3. Thrift and secondhand stores
Thrift stores and secondhand shops like Goodwill, The Salvation Army or even a less mainstream discount shop can be a major helping hand in getting cheaper books! I never really thought about buying books at thrift stores before last year because well, books are in bookstores, right? Then I went to Goodwill with a friend and found some good gems and classics! Never count out your local discount stores.
4. Shop secondhand online
You can even get good discounts by shopping online in a thrifty manner. Amazon has an option where you can buy used books instead of new. Most of the books I’ve bought this way have been in near new condition. You could also find cheaper books on Ebay or a website like Thriftbooks where the books are as low as 3.79!
5. Use coupons and discount codes
This is best if you buy the majority of your books online. I shop online a lot and I personally use the browser extension Honey. I’ve saved a pretty chunk of change from the codes they provide depending on the website. It truly is a very helpful extension and I don’t plan on ending my usage of it anytime soon!
6. Visit your local garage and yard sales
Books at yard sales are literally dirt cheap. Depending on the shape and popularity of the book, most people seem to charge .25 cents to a dollar or two. If someone has books on display, they likely just want to get them out at whatever price they can get for them. And who knows, you might find a great book there!
7. Use selling apps
Apps like Letgo or Offerup often have books for sale for very low prices. I’ve seen so many listings of people getting rid of several, several books (I mean buckets of them!) that are either a couple of dollars per book or a fixed fee for a large number of books. I have personally bought books from 5miles as I use that more than the others and the books have been SO cheap!
8. Borrow books
I’m sure every person reading this right now knows at least one person who has books. Chances are the books are different from the ones you own. So why not ask to borrow one? I don’t see why a family member would mind and I’m sure your friends wouldn’t either. Borrowing from people you know is not only free, but you are bound to find something you like and maybe you’ll even find yourself liking a new genre!
This basically goes hand in hand with borrowing. You can book-swap in person or online! If you don’t have many other readers in your daily life, try an online swap. PaperbackSwap is probably one of the most popular sites for this. BooksFreeSwap is another site and it has no direct swap requirements, you just pay for postage on the books you want. There is also BookMooch where you list books you don’t want and when someone who does picks it, you mail it out and receive points! These points can later be used to ‘purchase’ books from other users. Easy!
10. Stick to paperbacks
If you’re like me and still love buying pretty books at Barnes & Noble, challenge yourself to buy only paperback editions. I know hardcovers are tempting but paperback copies are significantly cheaper (and easier to carry around!). You also don’t have to worry about damaging the book jacket. Win.
11. Use Kindle Unlimited
E-books are even cheaper than most paperbacks bought online. A lot of the Kindle Unlimited books are completely free! Others range anywhere from .99 cents to $12, though I typically borrow the free KU books more often than not. I’ve used it for years now and fully recommend it! Sign up here and get your first month free!
12. Try Audiobooks
Audiobooks are also often cheaper than their physical counterparts, unless it’s a super popular book. Most books still run cheaper and all the books I’ve personally bought have been under $10.00. I use Audible when I’m sketching or planning on a long commute. Start your Audible free trial and get TWO free audiobooks. You also get 1 free credit a month and can trade that in for a free book.
13. Purchase directly from authors
Some authors are willing to skip the middle man and sell their book directly to you, especially if they’re self published. Buying directly from authors, lesser known ones in particular, are much appreciated and you’re supporting them which is lovely! If you see some books you might want to buy, e-mail or message the author and ask if they do direct sales. The worst that’ll happen is that they won’t or legally can’t.
14. Enter giveaways
There are a lot of ways to enter giveaways. I see a TON of book giveaways on Twitter. Goodreads also has constant giveaways going on so try entering some of those! They usually expect a review in exchange for the book but that’s up to the individual. Other book selling or book club websites sometimes do sweepstakes or giveaways as well so browse through a few sites and see what you can find!
15. Use free online sources
There are quite a few really good free resources for reading books. The most popular one seems to be Project Gutenberg which offers over 50,000 free e-books. Another really good one is ManyBooks which also has over 50,000 titles to choose from in a variety of formats. I would definitely check those out if you’re looking for some new books to discover!
16. Read Kindle classics
You can download the free Amazon Kindle app and read a bunch of classic books for free. I have a lot of classics in my library from when I first got the app and I still love to download others. It’s nice to be able to read a fair amount of books from that genre for free.
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