Tuesday, January 2, 2018

How-To: Be a Book Lover On a Budget

Are you a book lover, but are on a budget and can't afford to always be running out to get the latest new release? The new year is a great time to start implementing some new good habits, like living on a budget. Here are some tips I've learned over the years to feed my reading hunger while not being able to afford to keep buying books.

While this is not a comprehensive list, I hope it's helpful to you! Happy searching and reading!

1. Library Membership
Many public libraries offer free membership to community members who live in the same town or county, depending on the size of the territory they cover. Sometimes they charge a reasonable fee for those who live in other towns not serviced by a local library. A library membership gives you access to so many options, including books for all ages, magazines, DVDs, music CDs, audiobook CDs, newspapers, e-books, and a reference section for research.

Hoopla is a digital media service that may be offered by your local public library. It allows you to borrow materials like movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows on your electronic devices. You will be able to stream them immediately or download them to mobile devices.

OverDrive is an app/website where you can borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks from your library. Simply create an account, find your library, sign in using your library or OverDrive credentials, and borrow books!

2. Audio Books
As mentioned above, you can borrow audio books from your library through your Hoopla or OverDrive account.

LibriVox is a site where volunteers have recorded books that are in the public domain, which are available for free or inexpensive prices.

Sometimes a local thrift store will have audio books for sale in different formats, including cassette tapes if you happen to own a tape player! More on thrift stores below.

3. Get an e-reader, or e-reader app on your phone
E-books are cheaper than the physical copy of the book, and you can have thousands of e-books on your device when you don't have a lot of shelf space for your physical books. The device is also a lot easier to transport than several physical books.

Don't have an e-reader? Download the Google Books app, Amazon Kindle app, or other preferred e-reader app on your smartphone or other mobile device.

If you have an e-reader, sign up for NetGalley, which is a site where book reviewers and other professional readers can read books before they are published, in e-galley or digital galley form. Members register for free and can request review copies or be invited to review by the publisher.

JustKindleBooks is a website where you can find free and bargain priced e-books for your Kindle.

4. Peruse thrift stores, local used book sales, and/or used book stores
Shop your local thrift stores and garage sales (aka yard sales or tag sales). Many local libraries will have used book sales to benefit the library or other causes. Also, search for books at your local dollar stores or Wal-Mart!

There is also an online thrift store just for books at www.thriftbooks.com where you can find discounted titles.

Check your local Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay.

5. Borrow from friends and family
Does this require an explanation?

6. Ask for them as gifts for special occasions
Be specific about the genre(s) you like, or even get as specific as the author or titles you'd like to have. Also specify to the gift giver if you'd prefer it in audio format, as an e-book, or a physical hardcover or paperback. Sometimes the giver will know the answer, but it's a nice gesture if you can give them some guidance.

7. BookBub Membership
Already have an e-reader or e-reader app on your phone? Simply visit www.bookbub.com to create an account and sign up for email alerts on e-book deals that you can download right to your device.

8. Email Alerts About Book Deals

Kindle, Nook, Goodreads, and Bookperks all have deal emails that they send out daily. Visit their respective websites, create an account, and signup for their email digests.

For the Goodreads Deals, visit goodreads.com/deals to sign up by filling out your profile, and click Save at the bottom of the screen. You'll get emails notifying you of deals for the books, authors, and genres you selected. You can also check the page again to see what is recommend for you and purchase inexpensive e-books.

9. Additional Resources
Abebooks.com - A website for finding inexpensive books to fill your shelves! You'll find used books, the latest bestsellers, and sometimes signed copies and first editions. It's not just for books either - you'll see listings for fine art and other collectibles for decorating your home or gifting.

Paperbackswap.com - Pass on your gently used titles you no longer want by listing them here for other readers to request. Once it's requested, you pay for shipping! Then you have the option of selecting from millions of other titles for free!

Half Price Books - This site has many titles available at, you guessed it, half-price or even less!

Amazon.com - may not be as inexpensive as some of the resources listed below, but it has a massive amount of titles available that are less expensive than other places, including local bookstores. I advocate strongly for buying local, but also understand that sometimes it's not an option to pay the higher prices.

Barnes &Noble Bargain Books - in store or online

Do you have any other suggestions? Let me know in the comments!

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