Books! We love them and we need them. But reading is a hobby (and often necessity) that can really hit our funds hard at times. There is nothing like seeing new releases or incredible reviews and knowing it simply isn’t in the budget. For any book lover, it leads to inevitable disappointment.
But! I am a believer, and so I constantly combat my limited funds and unlimited love of all things books with a few resources. Today I thought I would be nice and share my means to an end with you.
My Personal How To: Affording Books on a Budget
When spending money is simply not an option:
Libraries – First and foremost I am a huge advocator of all things relating to the public library. Outside of the usual hold and borrow system, we are very fortunate to have an expansive ebook collection available here that can be accessed through to easy to use applications, Overdrive & Libby. Both work together to provide a simple to use interface that allows you to not only place holds and check out audio & ebooks, but also create a wishlist, share ratings and see more of what is happening in the library community.
Hoopla Digital is another application I hear great things about, but do not use with my local library.
*Please feel free to comment below with your local library’s apps and resources.
Pros – Borrowing titles (even ebooks and audio) from your local library and utilizing these services will aid them in requesting future funding for additional services and titles.
Cons – Hold times can be incredibly long for popular titles, and not everyone has access to a thriving library system.
Public Domain: Thousand of titles are free and readily available due to expired licensing and copyrights. You can access them without registering at Project Gutenberg.
Pros: There are literally thousands of titles available with no fees or registrations required. The titles are available for download in multiple formats and volunteers are constantly proofreading and checking them for accuracy.
Cons: Selection is limited to titles that are no longer copyright protected.
When funds are severely limited:
Local thrift stores & donation centers: Purchasing titles from community thrift stores and charity centers are a great way to stretch your funds and give back to the community. Often, if you have the time to look, you can find some hidden gems.
Pros: These purchases are helping to keep small business alive and often fund nearby shelters and needs within your community. It is a win for everyone. Most shops will willingly give you a small discount or credit for the books you bring in or donate.
Cons: Availability may be limited to older and often more worn materials.
Local Independent Bookstores: These are my favorite to visit and for a great reason! Again, it is all about giving back to the community. These fixtures often add not only a nice selection of affordable titles, but contribute to the local economy, and provide a safe environment that encourages reading & creativity. This is another area that Portland is blessed in, as we currently boast the world’s largest Indie Bookstore, Powell’s Books (they ship!). But it doesn’t stop there. Downtown is dotted with lovely independent sellers, offering something for everyone.
Pros: You are truly supporting the local economy and helping your community. You can often find a large selection of used and affordable books in great condition.
Cons: I am really hesitant to list any, but some independent sellers may not acquire newer releases right away.
Daily Ebook Deals
Ebooks can offer an incredibly affordable advantage to readers. There are multiple sites that offer daily deals directly in your inbox with everything from free titles to those as low as 2.99 or less. I am including a link to the ones I use below. *Please feel free to add yours in the comments.
BookRiot.com (I no longer use them, but their daily deals are worth a look).
Pros: Daily saving delivered right to your inbox.
Cons: Limited selection and you occasionally weed through some unwanted emails.
Other Savings and Discounts:
Signing up for local bookstore memberships & loyalty programs: I discovered only 2 years ago that B&N offered an annual membership that for only $25.00 offered me free shipping on all orders (huge since I no longer drive) monthly 20% off coupons, 10% off of all in stores purchases and a myriad of other benefits. The investment was a no-brainer. Keeping a lookout for loyalty programs and membership opportunities can really benefit readers who tend to purchase books on a regular basis.
Pros: The opportunity to take advantage of significant savings on books and other store products. This usually includes free shipping with retailers who offer online services.
Cons: The additional newsletters and info that will pop up in your inbox or mailbox from time to time. An annual fee is not ideal for everyone.
Amazon: Seriously, if you have no qualms with them, they offer several services that make reading very accessible and affordable. If you are a Prime Member, you can easily enjoy a large selection of free titles ready to be read through Prime Reading and receive access to one Kindle First title a month for free. For just $9.99/ month, Kindle Unlimited gives readers access to over a million ebooks. And their daily deals are always worth checking out.
Pros: Access to a large amount of titles and savings.
Cons: Monthly fees can really add up.
Book Outlet: This is my go-to online store for physical books on a budget. BookOutlet.com offers thousands of marked down titles (often in new condition) for a fraction of the cost. With free shipping on orders over $35.00, a new point system, and a scratch and dent section which means bigger savings, I often place one large purchase every few months. And their customer service has been stellar in terms of my personal experience.
Pros: A large selection of affordable, physical copies. A point system and free shipping help curb more costs.
Cons: Longer shipping times and books may have a remainder mark.
And there you have it. These are just a few of the resources I utilize to keep my bookshelves full. What resources do you have? Any favorites you care to add in the comments?