How I Save Money On Books
In October alone, I have at least one book on pre-order each week. (So many awesome new releases this month!) They’re all going to be hardcovers. This means their retail price will most likely be anywhere between $15-$30.
I don’t need to go much further for you to get the idea that if you are as avid of a reader as I am, it doesn’t take long for the numbers to rack up.
Let’s be real - books can be expensive!
Also, I’m not the best example when it comes to saving money with books. I spend far more than I should and I’m at the bookstore so often that the guy at the counter asks “Weren’t you just here the other day?”
I have a lot of spending habits I need to work on - especially in this area.
However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned some tricks for saving my money. I rarely spend full price on the books I purchase. In fact, just the other day a book had a retail price of $30 and I bought it for $16.
Here’s some of my tips.
(Please note, I buy books A LOT. Like… A LOT A LOT. Far more than most people do. Therefore, some of these tricks may or may not work for you. For example, if you don’t buy books very often, the price of a membership may not be the best option for you. Just want to have full disclosure!)
Go to the Library
This is the most important one! In fact, I wouldn’t have hurt feelings if after reading about going to the library you stop reading this blog post. The library is your biggest and best resource!
Guys - it’s like Netflix for books. Thousands of volumes right there at the tips of your fingers waiting to be borrowed. (Also - does anyone else find it sad that I need to compare libraries to Netflix to sell it? But you’d be surprised how many times I see people talking about “I wish there was a Netflix for books” and I’m all “THE LIBRARY.”) They’re free, my friends. FREE.
A habit I’m trying to get myself into is to read a book from the library before I purchase it. Particularly when it’s a new author or series. If I fall in love with the book and/or see myself reading it again in the future, only then will I decide to purchase it for my personal collection. This will save you a ton of grief when it comes to getting a book and then hating it. Who wants to spend $25 or more on something only to have a terrible experience? (Although, it doesn’t hurt to know your local bookstores return policy. Yes! You CAN return books!)
Or, I wait until the whole series is out. That’s what I did with Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill. I started reading the books via the library and read the entire series that way. When I knew it was an all time favorite, I slowly started to collect the books.
Don’t see the title you want? Talk to the librarian about inner-library loans or if the book is somewhere in your network. A majority of the books I’ve checked out from my library did not come from my local library itself. They are from other libraries in our network. Granted, I’m privileged enough where I live in the Chicagoland area and have a ton of libraries in our network I can use as a resource. If you live in a rural area, this could be more challenging. But, it never hurts to talk to your librarian to see what options are out there.
Still can’t find what you want? Request your library to get a copy. Libraries want to give you the books you want! If they see people are wanting a certain book on their shelves, they’re going to get copies.
Many libraries now also have access to ebook loan systems such as Overdrive. I’m OBSESSED with overdrive and how I can find so many books, and audio books there and have them downloaded right to my Kindle. It’s amazing.
Basically - go to your library and make friends with the people who work there. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
This is one of those weird moments where you might have to spend money to save money.
I know not everyone likes ebooks, or may not have an electronic device at their disposal. So yes, some of my privilege is talking. However, if this is an option for you, hear me out.
Some of your basic Kindles/Nooks/ereaders, etc. aren’t all that expensive, depending on what kind of money you have coming in. Just from a quick look on Amazon, you can find some simple refurbished ones for under $50.
Don’t want to get an ereader or tablet? No problem. Do you have a cell phone? The Kindle, Nook, iBook, and Google Play Books apps are FREE. You can even download them to your computer most of the time if you don’t have a smart phone.
But here’s the thing - a majority of ebooks are cheaper than physical books. Personally, I don’t purchase ebooks unless they are under $5. Even if you don’t set a limit like that for yourself though, they’re still cheaper. When a new release in hardcover comes out it’s usually between $15-30 right? The ebook many times is under $15. That’s before it goes on sale.
That’s a lot of money to save my friends.
Still don’t want to buy them? Then we go back to the whole library thing. Check to see if your library offers ebook services. That’s how I started to use my Kindle app. I downloaded library books and decided I liked to use my tablet for reading.
Join Membership Programs
This is another one where you might have to spend a bit of money to save money. But, in the long run, it’s worth it.
A big popular one of course is Amazon Prime and/or Kindle Unlimited. I tried Kindle Unlimited, but a lot of their selection wasn’t in my taste. I know a lot of people who use it all of the time though! Then, I also tried Amazon Prime. If I purchased more on Amazon beyond books, the price tag would probably have been worth the discounts and free shipping. Yet, it’s pretty rare when I buy something that isn’t a book from there.
I am, however, a Barnes and Noble member, which is only about $40 a year. THE WHOLE YEAR. I get free shipping with all of my purchases, get a discount with all of my purchases, and on top of it I regularly get coupons emailed and mailed to me. This past holiday season, I think I got an email with a coupon at least 2x a month if not more often.
Also, Barnes and Noble online prices are lower than their in store prices, AND you now can purchase books online at the online price AND pick them up for free within the hour in store. (This is how I nabbed that $30 book for $16.) Basically, my savings far outweigh the price I pay for the membership.
I know other book stores have similar programs. (Books-A-Million does… I’d have to research more for other stores.) Barnes and Noble just happens to be the store which is most convenient for me, and that’s where I go 99% of the time. Visit your local stores and/or visit their websites and see what you can find out.
If you buy books as frequently as I do, and you aren’t part of your favorite store’s membership program, what are you waiting for?
Sign Up for Newsletters
This one has it’s pros and cons.
The pros? You find out about sales, get coupons, and see deals right away. I get my Kindle daily deal emails all of the time and when I see a book I’ve had my eye on go on sale, you bet that I click that “one-click-buy” button! Or, because I follow an author’s newsletter, I was informed about a one day only event where romance authors were giving away their ebooks for FREE.
Yeah… I got like 12 book that day and didn’t spend a penny.
The cons? Your email inbox can fill up quickly, and it’s super easy to fall down the “This book is only $.99! I’d be a FOOL to not buy it!” Then you look at your ereader and have countless titles sitting there that you haven’t read yet. This is my biggest downfall when it comes to book purchases.
The key is to know what books you want and wait for them to go on sale, and only purchase those. It’s way easier said than done, trust me. But, it’s so exciting when there’s a book I’ve really been wanting and then one day I open my email and it’s magically only $1.99.
So… this bit of advice is a “do this at your own risk” sort of deal.
Go to Discount Book Stores
I love my local discount book store. Maybe two times a year or so when I feel the need to purge my collection, I pack up the books I no longer want and take them over to my discount book store to sell them. Granted, I don’t always make a ton of money doing this. There’s still some perks though.
One, I love that even if I didn’t enjoy a book or won’t read it again, it’s going to go to someone who will enjoy it and may not otherwise had been able to buy their own copy.
Two, you can use that money to buy more books!
Yup. A majority of the time when I go sell my books I end up perusing the shelves and buying more books with the cash they give me for the old ones. This is another instance where I only buy books that I know I’ve been wanting. If you know for sure you’re going to buy a book and you can find a way to get it at a discount, do it!
Besides, I kind of like used books. It’s fun to know that other people have read and enjoyed this particular copy of a book that I’m currently reading. I once got a really pretty copy of Jane Eyre and it was obvious that someone read it for school because they had a bunch of notes in the margins. It was honestly really fun to read their thoughts and observations!
You’d think this was obvious but so many people only want hardcovers.
I know… I know. The hardcovers are super pretty and look awesome on your shelf. If that’s truly what you prefer, go for it. Just remember the price tag.
However, I genuinely love paperbacks. Yes, I do end up caving and buying the pretty hardcover books for some of my favorites because 1) I don’t want to wait and 2) I do enjoy how they look. But, for actual reading, I love paperbacks. They’re so much easier to hold! I mean come on. Would you rather carry a massive hardcover epic fantasy that’s over 500 pages around everywhere? Do you know how heavy that s*** is? You can break your arm with that! Or would you rather carry it’s cute little mass market copy that you can throw in your bag easily?
And… they’re cheaper. SO MUCH cheaper.
If you’re willing to wait until it comes out in paperback, you’ll save a ton of money. In fact, a lot of fantasy (particularly urban) and romance come out in paperbacks right away and I’m always super excited when they do.
So there you have it. Some of my tricks for saving money on books.
Remember - I don’t have this down to a science. I have a terrible book buying problem and let’s be honest, the best way to save money on books is just to have self control and not buy a million books a year. Haha.
However, if you’re willing to do some research and maybe invest in an ereader or a membership program, and utilize your library as much as possible, you’ll save so much money on your reading hobby!
What tips and tricks have you used for buying books?
*= affiliated link
Like what you read? Consider buying me a coffee.
Also- another way to save is to check out this promotion from Barnes and Noble - good through October 29!