Dirt Cheap Books

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Dirt Cheap Books - Read Your Heart Out on a Dime

book worms read your heart out on a dime
Does buying dirt cheap books sound like a dream come true? Do you jump for joy at the idea of cheap used books?

Read on for some money saving techniques that will help you to build a jealousy-inducing library without abandoning the frugal living ideas we all love.

For some moms, reading a book for leisure is a rare treat that one truly savors. For others it is the one thing that they refuse to give up.

Regardless of your relationship with books, if you are a true money saving mama (in training), you want to know the best ways available for you to cater to your love of slipping into different worlds, without the price tag associated with it.

And, let's face it; books aren't exactly cheap. In fact, the average book can run you anywhere between $10 and $35. Even if you have the spare money to pay those prices, now you will learn some money saving techniques that will show you how you can acquire dirt cheap books and used cheap books.

Are you new here? This page on dirt cheap books is part of the $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge. We'd love for you to join us!

Simply click the link for more information on how you can participate, and save some money this year.



Dirt Cheap Books: Visit Your Local Library

This may seem like common sense, but you might be surprised at how many people don't know just how valuable your public library is. Not only can you check out books (old and new), usually for two weeks at a time, but there are a ton of other fabulous features that book-lovers can indulge in.

Need More Time? Renew!

Although most libraries let you check books out two weeks at a time, most of them will also allow you to renew them as often as you would like. The only exception to this is if the book has been placed on hold by someone else. Then you would have to return it by its due date. Which is only fair. However, for people who may be unable to get through an entire book in two weeks (perhaps because you have a house full of children and only have time to read while you are –as the Brits would say --"in the loo") you have the opportunity to actually finish the book by renewing it.

Interlibrary Loans
Another great thing about your local library is that it is usually a single branch of an entire system of libraries. So if you live in a town with a small library, and that small library has a small selection of books, you can usually request an interlibrary loan. What does that mean? Basically it means that your library can request books from other libraries. So you may have to wait a bit for the other library to ship your book, but at least you will still get the chance to read it for free.

Make Your Requests
If your library does not have the book you want and they cannot get it through interlibrary loan, you always have the option of requesting that they order the book. Whether or not they do so is at their discretion. However, it never hurts to ask.

Digital Downloads
A lot of libraries also have digital downloads so you can check books out without even having to leave your home.

As you can see, the easiest and cheapest way to read books for cheap is to head over to your public library. However, if you prefer to have books that you never have to return, there are definitely options.


Dirt Cheap Books: Book Swaps

Another of our money saving techniques involves swapping/trading books. You can do this with friends or family members or you could even go online and try to find local book swapping groups. Some mom groups even set up book swap events. If there aren't any local ones, maybe you could start one.

There are also some websites that enable you to trade books through the mail. Some examples are Title Trader and (my favorite) Paperback Swap. On these websites you can get rid of some of your books and earn points to request free books from others. In fact, on Paperback Swap, you earn 2 free books just by listing 10 books you are willing to trade.

Dirt Cheap Books: Online Resources

As is the case with a lot of things, the internet is a vast source of information and tools for frugal living ideas. There are several websites you can use to get your hands on just about any book you can imagine, for cheap.

Project Gutenberg
Most works of literature are categorized as being under the public domain. In fact, you can access thousands of downloadable texts completely free at Project Gutenberg. This is an especially good source for classic literature aficionados.

Daily Lit
Another free public domain website for classic literature is Daily Lit which sends small portions of classic books to your inbox each day.

Half.com
This website is a great way to get cheap used books. You can also sell your old books and use the profit to buy some for yourself.



Amazon
Amazon.com is another resource for acquiring cheap used books. However, another great thing about Amazon is that you can use it to build your wish list and even to preview some of the books before you buy them. On Amazon you can do a lot of things that will help make things easier (and cheaper) for you:
  1. Read reviews. It really sucks when you buy a book that you end up hating. Although book reviews should not be the end all about whether or not you choose to read a book, they can give you a better idea of the content than the cover info can.
  2. Get vital info such as prices (so you can get the best deal), similar books or books by the same author, and release dates (so you will know when to put a book on hold at the library). Amazon's wish list is also a great way for you to keep track of the books that you want to read.
  3. Amazon also allows you a sneak peek into some books – giving you the chance to "try before you buy". You may only be able to read the first few pages, but sometimes that is enough to tell you whether or not you want to read the rest.


eBay
eBay is another resource you can turn to in your quest for cheap used books. One key to utilizing eBay is to avoid getting into bidding wars, because then you may be tempted to pay more for a book than you should. Of course, it is your decision if you feel the book is worth it; however my suggestion would be to search for books with the "buy it now" option for payment.


Dirt Cheap Books: Buy Cheap Used Books

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

One can't discuss sources of dirt cheap books without discussing the sacred practice of bargain shopping at places like yard/garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores. Although this method is much more difficult to use if you are looking for specific books (especially if the books you are looking for are older or less popular) you can still find some great reads. And at yard/garage sales, you can often negotiate for a lower price (but please try not to be unreasonable – after all, the sellers are probably trying to make money for a reason)

Used Book Retailers
Some places even specialize in selling used books. One example is used book stores. Many libraries also have book sales. Some even have them regularly. One library I frequent has an entire floor dedicated to books that they are selling, so whenever I go I would end up with a bag of books that I had checked out and a bag of books that I had bought. And the great thing was that the books were very cheap. I'm talking 25 cents per book and 5 books for $1. Jackpot!!!

Dirt Cheap Books: Get an eReader

If you have an eReader, such as a Kindle, you (my friend) are golden. With these devices you are afforded the opportunity to access cheap and free books. You can even earn Amazon gift cards/codes through websites such as Listia and Swagbucks.

With Kindle, you can stretch your buck even further because it allows you to share some books with other Kindle users for 14 days. If you are the type of person who loves having several books at their disposal at all times (Before I traded in my purse for a diaper bag, I was known for having at least 2 books in my purse at all times) imagine being able to have a hundred books to choose from at any time.


Dirt Cheap Books: Turn Your Computer Into an eReader

If you are not able to afford an eReader, you have the option to turn your computer into an eReader with the Kindle PC app which you can download here.

Dirt Cheap Books: A Few Words of Advice

Avoid buying new releases
New releases have the new price tag. These are much harder to find at a cheaper price, though it may be possible through Amazon.com or at Costco. If you absolutely must read them right away, head on over to your public library to check them out or put them on hold. Or ask a friend who buys it if you can borrow it when (s)he is finished.

If you want to add it to your personal library, you can always do so when cheaper options become available. However, I can totally relate to you being such a fan of the book that you go ahead and splurge. Sometimes you just can’t wait to get your hands on it and see it displayed in your home.

Don't Buy Just For The Heck Of It
This tip is pretty straightforward. If you know you're not going to read it, you should reconsider buying it. It is tempting to buy books that look interesting, just to make your library fuller. But imagine how much money you waste when you do that.

Do you have a personal library? Share some of the ways that you get your books at a lower cost in the comments below.

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Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on dirt cheap books? Next week we'll be talking about how to save money on hobbies.

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