For as long as I can remember, I have held a deep-seated love for books. On my desk sit five books right now. One I finished yesterday, three in a series of five that I’m getting ready to tackle, and a journal where I collect quotes and thoughts from you guessed it, books I’ve read. Reading is a passion we’ve managed to pass along to our kids, too. Our oldest daughter spent most of her middle school years zeroed in on a goal of breaking the record for points scored from a book program named AR. You read that correctly. Our kids read competitively. It’s not a contact sport, but it is serious business.
I love collecting beautiful books. Nothing brings me greater joy than passing along a book to someone I love that will resound with their soul. I’m even in the middle of writing a second book right now. Please send chocolates and prayers. Buying books can be an expensive hobby, though. What’s a booknerd who’s also frugal to do? Luckily, over the years, I’ve developed a number of strategies to help me maintain and curate a large personal library without going broke. Maybe a few of these ideas will help my fellow book geeks to keep their noses buried in a great read minus the high sticker price.
Probably the most obvious way to read as many books as possible while spending the least amount of money possible is by hitting your local library. I’ve been known to browse the shelves of a large bookstore with my phone in hand. With each new title I find, I search the library’s online card catalog and reserve the books I want to read. If you’re not searching the shelves from home or on the go, you’re really missing out. Become well acquainted with your physical library and librarians. But also familiarize yourself with its online presence to get the most from your experience.
The library’s traditional lending system isn’t the only way to experience great works of literature and informative non-fiction, though. I’m a weekly (sometimes daily) user of the library’s OverDrive App which allows you to check out both eBooks and audiobooks with your smartphone or digital device. Services like Audible cost a pretty penny but through partnerships with your local library, apps like OverDrive, hoopla, and Libby are free to both download and use.
Kindle Reads for Days
Even if you don’t own a Kindle eReader, you can take advantage of the vast number of free reads on Amazon’s platform. Amazon Prime members have access to a program named Prime Reading featuring well over a thousand free books, magazines, audiobooks, and more. Anyone can access a 30 day Free Trial of Kindle Unlimited which grants access to an even broader library. But even if you’re not a member of any of either program, you can download a free Kindle app to your smartphone, computer, or other digital device. Be sure to check out the Kindle Countdown Deals area on Amazon where you can find both free and deeply discounted reads from every genre imaginable.
Selling to Buy
I have a simple litmus test for every book I own. I hold the volume in my hands and turn it over once or twice. And then I ask myself two simple questions. 1) Will I read this book again? 2) Would I want to loan this book to someone I know? If I answer no to both questions, I know exactly what’s going to happen next. I’m going to attempt to sell that book, so someday I can buy more books.
I’ve been successful at selling books in two different retail spaces. To get the best value from the book, I’ve had the greatest success using the online retailer Half.com. The website is a subsidiary of eBay, but functions slightly differently. There are no upfront costs to list books and the amount of money the company gains from your sale is slim.
Be sure you accurately describe your item and its physical condition. It’s not, “Like New” if the pages are yellowed and dog eared. It’s also a good idea to note whether or not your book is coming from a non-smoking home. If you want a quick sell, price your items just under the lowest priced item in the same category. You will have to pay for your own packaging and Media Mail shipping when using Half.com. So keep those extra costs in mind. Whenever I receive boxes and padded envelopes in the mail, I put them back to use for shipping books I sell. Simply remove the mailing address labels and/or create a new label of your own to cover any previous markings. If I can save the planet a little excess waste while saving myself some money at the same time, why not?
Half Price Books also allows you to sell your unwanted reads, DVDs, games, and more. You’re likely to get less money from the brick and mortar retailer. However, if you’re looking to be able to get rid of your items immediately and obtain cash quickly, it might be a better option for you. Using Half.com requires having “inventory” at home and waiting until a buyer wants to purchase your items. Half Price Books requires only that you bring your items in, get an estimate, and then get paid if you agree upon the price.
Book Review Programs
You might be able to actually score brand new books for absolutely FREE (my favorite!). A number of publishers offer free print and eBooks in exchange for reviews. Head to your favorite publisher’s website and see if they have such a program. Some programs may require a review on Amazon or Goodreads, while others may require a blog post in exchange for a free book. Don’t know where to begin? Check out programs like My Reader Rewards, Tyndale Blog Network, Blogging for Books, and NetGalley.
Did you know the average millionaire reads at least one non-fiction work per month? Reading opens your mind and heart up to new possibilities while remaining one of the most affordable hobbies you could have. You can read great books without spending a lot of cash if you’re smart about the tools and strategies you engage! Go forth and read something amazing today.
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out The Debt Free Devotional on Kindle.
This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal or maybe even something for free, you also help our family pay off our mortgage early. And for that, we royally thank you!