If you're a book lover, there's a good chance that you spend a borderline irresponsible amount of money on books every month. And look, I get it. I, too, am easily seduced by shiny hardcovers, even though they cost a trillion dollars each and they don't fit easily into my purse. But, unless you're infinitely wealthy and/or secretly living in the ceiling of a Barnes and Noble, you're probably looking for some tips to save money and still read voraciously. Here are a few tips for book-lovers on a budget, because being well-read shouldn't cost so much.
I don't just mean getting a slight discount on your pricey hardcovers, either. These are tips for spending approximately $0-5 on each book you read. Sure, you might have to wait a minute for those new releases, but you can finally save up for that nice bag of groceries that you always wanted. And you might even find that some of these tips encourage you to read more than you would if you were laying down dough.
One day, perhaps, we'll all live in a post-money, Star Trek-esque future society, where everyone wears ugly jumpsuits and reads to their heart's content. For now, though, here are a few ways to save big without cutting back on your book habit:
Start a free trial on Audible
If you're an audiobook fan, you've probably heard of Audible already. But did you know that you can get a free book just by signing up for a trial membership? Just be sure to cancel your membership after the trial period if you don't want to pay the monthly fee! (And yes, you'll still get to keep your free book.)
Host a book swap
Do you have at least one friend/relative/gym teacher who likes to read? Host a book swap! You can temporarily trade books with a trusted friend, or you can hold a party where each guest brings a book to give away and takes a book to keep. This is great way to get rid of books you won't read again, pick up new books, and judge your friends and family on their taste in literature.
Check out a used bookshop or website
If you live close to a city or a charming small town, there's a good chance that you can find a used bookstore in your vicinity. Prices vary from store to store, but most used bookstores out there will have reasonable prices, plus a bargain bin of dollar books. If you're looking for a cheap price on a specific book, though, you might be better off on a used book website like Thriftbooks, which has a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction for under $5 (including shipping!).
Read hundreds of free e-books
Yes, you can indeed download ebooks for free! And it's legal! The website Dailylit will send you daily installments of a book of your choice for "15 minutes of fiction every day." Project Gutenburg has over 54,000 free, public domain e-books that you can read online or download. Other websites with free public domain and original books are Bookyards, Obooko, and Manybooks. Google Books has a solid free section. And if you have an e-reader like Kindle or Nook, check daily for offers of free or $1 e-books in the shopping section.
Sell your books (and then buy more)
I know, you don't want to sell your precious darling little books. But I'm willing to bet you need the shelf space. And are you really going to re-read that Musicology 101 textbook? You can sell used books at your local secondhand book shop, or sell books online on a site like BookScouter or Half Price Books. If you have text books, signed copies, or rare editions, do a little research before you sell, though, because you may be able to bring home some serious cash.
Check the web for giveaways
Websites like Craigslist and Freecycle list free items in your area, including books. You can also check out Facebook for local book swaps, or check out authors, publishers, and literary publicists on social media to see if they're holding any giveaway contests or ultra cheap deals. The website Humble Bundle offers different ebook bundles for pay-what-you-want prices every day, and the proceeds go to charity.
Hunt for books with BookCrossing
Did you know that there's a whole system to leaving books in public spots? BookCrossing is a website devoted to helping people hunt down free books in the wild! Members will leave a special sticker in their book, register it with the site, leave it in a public location, and then you can use the website to track down a book and "catch" it. Like PokemonGo, but with fewer monsters and more books. Just be sure to release your books back into the wild when you're through with them.
Visit your local library
And the number one way to save money on books? The library! Duh. Libraries are great. Libraries are our only hope of rescuing civilization from a new dawning of the Dark Ages. And library cards are free! All you need is a proof of address, and you can read just about any book in the world. Plus, most libraries host events, book readings, signings, etc. Go to the library, people!