Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Saving Money on Books

This post is part of a multi-part series on Saving Money A to Z here at Frugal Follies.

I've done quite a bit of selling books online, so I thought I'd share some ideas on how to get the best prices on books.  With the holidays coming up, I'm sure a lot of parents would like to get some books as gifts for their kids, but don't want to pay bookstore prices.

If you can, buy books used - they are far cheaper than buying them at the bookstore.
  • When looking to buy single copies of books online, use a book aggregator like Bookfinder.com, which will list several online sources for a specific book, and includes shipping in the cost of the item.
  • Look for your book as part of a book lot on eBay.  After you remove the book you want, resell the unwanted books as a lot on eBay.  You might be able to get the book for free, or even make a profit on the lot!
  • Check out book sales at the library, garage sales, or thrift shops for books.
  • Ask around!  Perhaps a friend has the book you are looking for in their library already.  Perhaps you could swap books.
  • If you don't actually need to buy the book, but just want to read it, definitely check out your public library.  Even if your library system does not have the book you want, almost any book can be gotten through an interlibrary loan.  Ask your librarian for more details.
If you absolutely must buy a new book, try some of the following ideas:
  • Most of the major bookstores have customer rewards programs, where you can receive a percentage off of books.
  • Buy books at national chain discount stores, which also sell personal care items, cleaning supplies, and/or groceries.  Find deals that use coupons which will result in an overage (saving more money than you spend on the item).  Use the overage toward the purchase of books.
  • Look for a Scholastic Books warehouse sale in your area.  Books go on sale there for 50-80% off just before the holidays.  The fine print says that the warehouse sale is "exclusively for school employees, school district personnel, homeschoolers, and Book Fair chairpeople / volunteers."
  • Join Swagbucks and earn points by doing searches, watching videos, and filling out surveys.  Once you've earned 450 Swagbucks, you can get a $5 Amazon.com gift card, which can then be used to buy books.
Leave a comment with your favorite tip to save on books!
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    Amy @ Cheeky Cocoa Beans November 10, 2010 at 10:37 PM  

    Thanks for the tips! I'll check these out. Just today I read what another blogger had to say about various Amazon.com account options--like a trial period of the Prime account, where you get free shipping on any order, and a free Prime account upgrade for college students. There's another offer they have that would benefit new moms in particular, too. Here's the link to the post if you are interested: http://us.mg204.mail.yahoo.com/dc/launch?.partner=sbc&.gx=1&.rand=cpftul0b2jan2

    Niki Jolene November 11, 2010 at 9:55 AM  

    Hi there, I am stopping over from WFMW. Thanks for sharing those sites. Some of them are new to me, like Bookfinder. Great post!

    I hope you'll stop by and visit Free 2 Be Frugal sometime soon.

    Lorie November 12, 2010 at 6:06 AM  

    Since I have a blog, I go to sites like NetGalley.com amd BookSneeze. I get books for free and all I have to do is provide a review of them on your blog. It has saved me a ton on books!

    Linda @ Linda's Lunacy November 12, 2010 at 6:06 PM  

    All great ideas, Thanks!

    I'm visiting from Frugality is Free Fantastic Frugal Fridays.

    Have a great weekend!

    Linda @ Linda's Lunacy

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