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!


This post may contain affiliate links, where if you make a purchase through one, 
I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the blog. 
See disclaimer for more information.
16 tips to save money on books! Click To Tweet





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!


How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


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!


How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


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!


How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


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!


9. BookSwap

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.


How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


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.


How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


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!


How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


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.


Pin this for later!

How to Save Money on Your Reading Hobby | Bookish Fawn


What are your favorite ways to save money on your reading hobby? Do you do any of these tips? I’d love to know!ย  x


  1. Chantel

    February 8, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Thrifting is one my favourite things to do when it comes to purchasing books, I can get SO MUCH for so little, plus – depending on the shop I go to – my purchases go to a great cause, as well lovely post.

    1. Karley

      February 8, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      I didn’t even think about how certain stores have charitable causes, you’re so right!
      Thanks so much!

  2. Hannah

    February 8, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    there is no better feeling than buying a new book, but I also find it so hard to dish out $25 on the latest paperback! thrift stores are definitely my go-to for buying books, but it’s always hit or miss (although they always have at least ONE Stephen King), so I love your tip about online swapping! I’ve never heard of that, sounds super cool. thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Karley

      February 9, 2019 at 5:44 pm

      Online swapping can definitely be a god send for books you really want but can’t afford or find anywhere. It’s such a shame most books are so pricey!
      Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Claire

    February 8, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    I do really need to get better at using my library, I’m just not organised enough!! My real problem is Netgalley – you can get free ebooks in exchange for an honest review, and every time I say I’ve got enough I download another and end up scrambling to get them all finished! Thanks for this post, it’s really useful!

    1. Karley

      February 9, 2019 at 5:19 pm

      I just joined Netgalley and I already feel your pain! I’m going to have the same issues trying to rush the reviews, hahah!
      Thank you for the nice comment!

      1. Shalvika Patil

        August 13, 2019 at 3:59 am

        Buying used books is my favorite way to save money on books. I’ve been wanting to give bookswaps a shot and it sounds like a great way to read more books while saving you some money! Thank you for this list. Great post!

        1. Karley

          August 13, 2019 at 4:05 am

          Thank you! I’ve done a few bookswaps and they’re a lot easier and more fun than I thought they’d be! I definitely recommend trying it.

  4. Raheela James

    February 8, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    Hi Fawn, I love going to the library. I used to get a lot of free books that way when my kids were younger. Iโ€™ve used Thriftbooks as well, however, only for textbooks which can be super expensive so Thriftbooks was such a money saver. Kindle is my go to for reading. My husband recently started using audio books because he has a 2 hour commute and he loves it. Thank you for sharing your tips. Raheela โค๏ธ

    1. Karley

      February 9, 2019 at 5:07 pm

      I didn’t even think to use Thriftbooks for textbooks! Being in school at the moment, I’ll definitely have to check the prices of my books. Thanks for that tip! I’m glad to hear your husband uses audiobooks – SO good for long commutes.
      Thanks for the comment!

  5. Sarah

    February 8, 2019 at 11:58 pm

    I love these tips! Iโ€™m going to try and get my friends do a book swap. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Karley

      February 9, 2019 at 5:14 pm

      So glad to hear that! Hope it’s a good book. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And thank you!

  6. Heather Tasker

    February 11, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Great post, didnโ€™t know about some of these. I also use the Overdrive app for ebooks and audiobooks. They come right to my tablet and thereโ€™s a regional selection which is far larger than our local library.

    Librivox has free audiobooks as well.

    1. Karley

      February 13, 2019 at 2:25 pm

      Awesome tips too, thanks!

  7. T.J. Dominguez

    February 17, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Love this post! It’s informative without being too long. KU and libraries are invaluable resources, for sure. I also love Amazon’s Kindle Daily Deals or Monthly Deals. I’ve found so many popular books for 1.99 or 2.99 there, and unless I have nothing else to read, or I need something specific, I wait til a book goes there before buying full price. Also, depending on where you are, there may be little tiny “lending” libraries, where you can trade out books in standing boxes placed in random places. In our local mall there’s one, as well as various places throughout the community. It’s a really cool thing, and I know those have gained traction in recent years. Thank you for the post!

    1. Karley

      February 17, 2019 at 4:56 pm

      Oooh, I never thought about keeping tabs on books to wait or lower prices. I usually forget to save them. I love those little trade library boxes! I touch on those in another post coming out soon but I wish we had those here! Can’t find one to save my life.
      Thanks for the nice comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Christine

    September 25, 2019 at 2:17 am

    Thank you for listing out all these fantastic ideas! I always joke that it seems like my son “eats books” because the second I give one to him, he’s ready for another! I definatly try to hit up thrift stores and the library to quench his reading habits, but I had never thought about giveaways and had never heard of bookswap sites ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Karley

      September 27, 2019 at 9:45 pm

      I’m so glad you were able to get a few ideas from my post! I think bookswap sites are absolutely wonderful and definitely suggest you give it a shot!
      Best of luck to your little guy – I hope he keeps that reading fire lit for years to come! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by! x

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: