Used Bookstores- Friend or Foe?

Perhaps I’m a bit frugal.  But what can I say? As a teen without a steady job other than the occasional babysitting gig, I just can’t afford to pay 15 dollars and up for a book.  I am glad that I can get some free books on my kindle, and usually a library is OK but I really like to keep my books! So how do I get around this tortuous problem? I buy at used bookstores! Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Barnes and Noble. Whenever possible I shop there because brand new books are better than used ones, there is no way around it. But at the moment, I am enjoying the freedom of choosing 3, even 4 used books for around 15 dollars.

My relationship with used bookstores- especially my local one- is what I would call a love/hate relationship.  Being able to get many more books for the same price I would pay for one is so nice! But let me talk about my local store for a second.  As is understandable, they don’t have every book in stock, but it is very irritating sometimes, especially if there is only one book that you want. Plus, my store is organized very confusingly.  There are plenty of shelves and well marked signs, but that is the problem. There are so many “categories” you could call them- that you aren’t sure is a Phillipa Gregory book should be found in the Bestsellers section, or Historical Romance, or just plain Fiction.  (As a matter of fact, I found Phillipa Gregory books in Bestsellers AND Historical Romance) Also, there is no computer available to check if a book is in stock- you have to go to the checkout counter and ask manually- which stinks for them, because I usually have long list. 🙂

Other than these shortcomings, which mostly just apply to my local used bookstore, I am a HUGE fan of them and think they are great for people who love books but don’t want to pay full price.

Today I bought

The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory (I really wanted The White Queen but they didn’t have it) 6..00- it is a slightly worn hardcover

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks ( Once again, I really wanted The Best of Me, and they happened to have a bunch of Nicholas Sparks EXCEPT for the one I wanted.  I think maybe it is too new- it only came out in October)-4.00 and barely used

And a collection of American Short Stories- 2.40- brand new

I wanted to add a little bit to the end of this post about finding good deals on books.  I’d rather do this in the form of a list.

  • Check any local bookstores for good deals.  Most of the softcover books at my local one are around 2-3 dollars depending on the condition.  Also, some bookstores allow you to donate books to them and then receive credit to buy more books with. I do this frequently.
  • If possible, check a book out of a local library.  Even though you can’t keep the book, you have a much bigger selection and most of the time you can check out as many as you want!
  • Consider investing in a Kindle or other eReader. There are many, many books that are free, and deals of the day that allow you to get full price books for free. Also, books purchased on it will cost a few dollars less than a hard copy of the same book.
  • Look into online auctions such as Half.com which is created by eBay, but only for books and DVD’s etc.  Creating an account is very simple and purchasing even easier.  Most books are at least 1/2 of retail price and still brand new!
  • Do your research.  I always make lists of the books I might want to buy, and then explore what the world of WordPress bookies and Amazon reviewers had to say about it.
  • Compare prices of the same book at different stores before you splurge.  I often buy a book at Barnes and Noble, and then the very next day find it for half of what I paid at Target!
  • Have a book swap with a friend.  This doesn’t have to be one of those cheesy bookclub-ish things to make a big party of! The way I see it, you can keep their book for a longer period of time, and with much less enmity upon return because you know it will be in good hands.

Happy book deal hunting, everyone! 😀

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Used Bookstores- Friend or Foe?

  1. I blame the used bookstore on my TBR pile being out of hand. But I still love going there. Still I’ve taken to getting books I haven’t read before from the library and then if I see them at the used bookstore I will have an idea of whether or not it’s something I want on my limited shelf space.

  2. I love your posts! they are so YOU! I am successfully subscribed and receive your updates on my email!

  3. But that’s what I love about used bookstores! That disorganization makes me feel like I’m in an alternate universe, and I can spend hours searching for random books that I never would have picked out in a bookstore like Barnes and Nobles. But your list is definitely helpful

    • I have to agree that the disorganization and the mystery of wondering which book you will find has a certain charm! I realize that my friend vs. foe list seems more on the “foe” side, but that’s really not true! I love used bookstores! And I’m very glad that you found my list helpful. Thank you for commenting!

  4. A year ago I volunteered in my community’s book swap and ended up coming home with 15 books for free! It was fabulous – minus the fact that I’ve still yet to go through them. I love your list, by the way, and am following you now =)

    • Wow! Sounds great!!! Thanks for following me- I did my best on the list, that is basically all of the things I do to save money on books. I am about to do the post, and I will link to yours when I do ! 🙂
      Olivia

  5. I love a used book store. I also love Goodwill for great finds (even though there is NO organization) .99 cent hardcovers are worth the dig to me. I read in a memoir about an author (I want to say it was Nancy Peacock but it could’ve been Anne Lamott all my books are packed! Arghh) anyway ~about this person We’ll call her Nancy Lamott went to a book signing for an author, and the author spent her reading time criticizing the buyer of used books and library goers..Trust me it’s a better story if I knew who said it. I do know for certain that Stephen King says in his On Writing book, that’s it’s all about the story, never about the money.
    I cherish the story. Finding and rescuing great stories from rummage sales makes me happy. I find them good homes. 🙂 Everyone needs a copy of Education of Little tree right? lol

    • Totally agree! I would say I would never buy a new book again, but I love new books as well. I found my copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn from Goodwill for a dollar, and I’m pretty sure it’s worth a lot! It was printed in 1942! So worth a dollar!

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