Hunting for Bargain Books

by Rachel Paxton


It's easy to find bargain books if you know where to look for them. I've always loved books. The older I get the choosier I have to be about what I collect...I've already had to move my book collection two, going on three times! Books are so expensive these days I could never afford the books I want if I didn't resort to bargain shopping. I've refined my bargain book hunting skills enough the past couple of years that I now rarely pay more than $1 for a book.

There are many places, on and off the Internet, to find great deals on books. To me, part of the fun is hunting around for them, so I do the majority of my looking around offline.

I buy a lot of my books at yard sales. Yard sales are great for finding children's books. A few years ago I decided to start looking for some of my own childhood favorites, and have already replaced many of my long lost childhood books, often for .25 to .50 each. These same books would cost between $3 - $20 in an antique store.

One advantage of shopping around where you live is finding books related to your area. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I love to collect old books relating to this region and culture, and it's relatively easy to run across them.

Estate sales often have the largest selections of used books. Most yard sale ads will note whether or not they are estate sales. Sometimes you will discover irreplaceable book collections practically free!

Another great place to find bargain books is thrift stores. It's best to check more than one store. In our town, one practically gives their books away, and another charges several dollars a piece for them (especially cookbooks). Also watch for bargain days. One store I go to offers 20% off everything every Sunday and once or twice a year offers 50% off.

Used bookstores are also a great place to find bargain books, but again you have to look around. One store I go to sells their cookbooks for .50 - $2 each, and another sells theirs for between $3 - $10 each. Most used bookstores will also let you trade in unwanted books for store credit, further reducing your overall cost. I often trade in books I've purchased at yard sales to offset the costs of the books at the used bookstore.

One possibly overlooked place to look for books is antique stores. I found one antique store that has a whole selection of used books for about $1 each. That's a good place to find old community and church cookbooks (my favorites!)

There are several good Internet resources for finding used books. ebay.com is good for low-cost books if you have the patience to bid on them. powells.com is an online bookseller out of Portland, Oregon, that has a great selection of used books. A couple of other places to try are abebooks.com, and bibliofind.com.

Happy bargain hunting! Remember, if you value your marriage you'll only buy as many books as you and your children can carry yourselves!


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