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I have been a bookworm since the moment I learned to read. I have always had a hard time putting down a really good book. Even now, as an already sleep deprived mom of two, my husband sometimes yells at me to put the book down at 2 AM and go to bed. 🙂
I love to buy new books straight from the author the same day they are released, but that practice can quickly get expensive. Especially since I tend to go through 1,000 page novels in a week or two, my appetite for books was becoming a bit of a problem on an already tight budget. Loving to read books is great quality to have, but I have definitely had to learn to be more frugal with my book buying.
Here are 5 methods I have learned to use to embrace my inner bookworm while minding my budget.
1. Free E-books
Thousands of free books are available through the public domain.You don’t have to have a tablet or a smart phone to read eBooks. All you need to do is download the Kindle app for PC or Mac, and you can read any book in digital format from your desktop or laptop computer.
Also, more and more public libraries are adding eBook programs to their websites for patrons to access and read for free. My local library utilizes Freading, OverDrive, and TumbleBooks. In order to check out an eBook you only need a valid library card that isn’t blocked because of late fees.
2. Used Book Stores
I am one of those people who still cherish the look, feel, and smell of an actual book in her hands. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my kindle app, but for me, reading off of a screen will never beat reading a physical book.
Many used book stores allow you to trade books for cash or store credit. The one that I frequent gives you the option to either receive more store credit or less cash. So for me, it’s an ever revolving cycle of bring books to store, trade books for credit, buy new books with credit. Store credit combined with the already reasonable used book prices means that I rarely spend more than $10, and I usually walk out with a bag of at least three or four books.
3. Yard Sales
Yard sales are great for finding inexpensive books. You can find hard cover books for a dollar and paper backs for 25 cents. I love browsing through the eclectic selections to find books that I may not have ever even seen otherwise.
You might not be able to find the exact book that you’re looking for at a yard sale, but you can find great budget friendly books that end up being treasures. Twenty years ago my mom bought Outlander by Diana Gabaldon from a yard sale for 25 cents. That poor copy has been loved to bits by my mom, sister, and I. We had no idea that the book my mom found and loved from garage sale two decades ago would someday become our favorite book, an international bestseller, and television show.
4. Rent from Amazon
More often than not, bookworms continue on with school as long as possible. Unfortunately, college textbooks are expensive. Depending on which classes you take, you can easily spend $500 or more on books per semester. There are ways to help alleviate some of that cost though.
A great tool for saving money on course books is to rent, sell, or buy off of Amazon. Their textbook prices are much more reasonable than the college bookstore prices. You also have the option to rent either a hard copy or an eBook version. You don’t get to keep the books afterwards, but most people don’t like to keep heaps of course books lying around anyway.
5. Book Swapping
Book swaps are becoming more and more popular. PaperBack Swap is a great website that lets users request any book listed by another member. All you have to do is request a book, and the book coming to you will be postage paid. In turn, you pay for postage on any book shipped to another member. It’s a neat community for book sharing. They currently have over 4 Million books available for swapping. Any book you receive is yours to keep or swap again.
Some towns even have public book swap locations. My local coffee shop has a book swap in the front of their store. In order to take a book, they just ask that you leave a book.
Become a Budget Friendly Bookworm
I could realistically start my very own used book store with the sheer number of titles that I have hoarded in my house. I was one of those crazy people who held on to a good number of books from college, and I have a hard time letting go of a book that I really love. Since I have so many books to work with though, I am able to trade, sell, or exchange any of them for new books in bookstores, online, or through book swaps. There are so many ways to get a hold of a new title without paying $20-$30 per book. By using the resources I already have, and being willing to rent or buy used, I am able to embrace being a budget friendly bookworm.