Broke Book Buying... Another Discussion....




It blows my mind how often I find myself having a conversation with people who tell me that they would love to be able to read they just can't afford it. This is one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.


Because I am still stuck mentally on the whole topic from when I discussed it with this person earlier I'm going to give a few tips on how anyone can afford to read.

Some of you will roll your eyes and skip this post because yes, I've talked about it before and that's okay but if you feel like reading about it you're welcome to continue. Either way I'm going to talk about it and someone is going to hear it. :)


There are plenty of ways to afford reading books. Yes, even brand new books.

It doesn't matter if you're a penny pincher or if you're living check to check, or only have enough spare change to fill a soda can. Heck it doesn't matter if you don't have any money to put into it at all. There are multiple ways and places to buy books, get books, and cheats to buying books.


Now I understand that there are many people out there that are very specific about what they are willing and not willing to read that's okay.

However if you're a fan of reading brand new, untouched books that have just come out and they're selling for $30 bucks at your local Barnes and Noble or Half Price Books stores chances are you're probably going to miss out.

But there are some upsides to shopping at both.

Barnes and Noble keeps a limited inventory of clearance items in their stores set up on small tables that you can buy books for a discounted price. Barnes and Noble also has coupons that you can bring with you to get a better deal on those prices as well. Once in awhile they limit the coupons to non sale items but usually its okay to combine.


Half Price Books is a great place to get a deal on books. As its name states half price usually only charges have the list price of their inventory, they provide coupons for calendar buyers and email followers, they have sale days and a clearance section that will blow your mind and a blended inventory of both new and used items.

Don't want to pay that's okay.

You still have an opportunity to find and read the same books but for free.  

You may have to lower your standard bar just a teeny bit but you might be surprised to know that you can acquire the same books that you want to read from your local library.

Yes, I said library.


To those of you who bash people who go to libraries - get your head checked. You're missing out one a very fundamental experience of being a book reader.

I understand that some libraries have limited stock on their shelves and they may not have the book you are looking for when you go in. If they don't there is a way to get what you want.

  1. You can request the book through the front desk attendant, or B. You can go online and pre-order the title from another library and it transfers for free to your local location where you can pick it up - and read it for free. Please note if you do not have the internet nearly all libraries have computers that allow you to access their database and request the title you want if you're too shy to ask yourself.

All that's required of you is patience for its arrival and picking it up.


Also, keep in mind that many libraries also sell certain books too. You can actually buy them for cheap. Most libraries have "friend sales" that sell books between 25 cents to a dollar. If you keep your eye out you can double your savings on the days that the library have excess purge sales. They will pull out the back stock and cut the price in half, offer twofers (two for one deals) and more.  This is a great way to walk out the door with bags and even box fulls of books on the cheap.


Another good place to buy books really cheap are at charity and thrift shops. If you don't know where one is its easy enough to do a search to find what's local to you on google or other map apps. A lot of charity stores and thrift shops sell books, movies and music anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar and all the proceeds go back to the community.  This is a great way to give back and get cheap books.


Church sales and yard sales - fantastic and cheap and you can almost always find some rare diamonds that most stores don't carry on their shelves anymore for those rare and out of print book fans, or people just looking to save money.

Charity Thrift shops I suggest getting an early start on because that's when all the good stuff is put out. I love charity shops because I know that money I spend is going to a good cause.

Keep in mind for the yard sales I highly suggest getting out on a very early Saturday or Sunday morning and taking a drive. See what's going on in your neighborhood.

Community posts and websites often let you know when a church is going to do a sale but its also fun to get out and early bird it in places that are right in your own area.

Most the people you buy the books from at yard sales and charity stores are very grateful and in need of the money. They appreciate you buying up all they got. :) Plus, hey, it can't hurt to add a coin to the good vibes karma bag right?


Some people suggest places like Craigslist but I personally often shy away from that or from recommending it simply because it could be a security or safety issue I usually stick with what I know you can trust. So if you go with that please be careful with giving out personal information to strangers or meeting strangers to buy what they're selling. I want you to be safe.  


Another good way to reading for free is borrowing. Borrow from your family, borrow from your friends. See what your mom or cousin or sister and brother may be reading. You might find a new reading buddy or someone who can break down and do a book talk with you. Just keep in mind if you borrow something to give it back. No one likes a permanent borrower. That's just stealing.


I'm a big believer in RE-READING. Yes. Reading what you already own. Find a title that you may have shelved and left sitting for awhile. Its always nice to visit old friends and it doesn't cost you anything.


You can also join an online book trade program. A lot of people take part in these. You list what you have someone wants to borrow it has something you want and you trade. Its a good cheap way to find like minded readers like yourself and read what you want.


A good way to buy cheap used books online are through places like Amazon, Book Outlet and Thriftbooks. Be aware of condition terms to make sure that the books you get are in decent shape before ordering but its cheap and the shipping isn't too harsh. Although, recently Amazon has increased shipping price to pay for their new mortar store and air port delivery expansion costs on their company. (Don't trust me? Read the fine print notification they sent out. I believe its around page 2,000 in the fine print terms.)  


For me personally I'm a big fan of discount stores. I'm a big fan of hitting up multiple locations when it comes to discount stores because each one is going to have different inventory.  Plus, you never know what you're going to find.

Some examples of discount stores (local to me- you'll have to find your own you don't have these near you.) The Dollar Store: yes, the dollar store has books. I admit a very small amount of books and a very limited selection but you can get lucky once in awhile. Indoor/Outdoor Swapmeets and Antique Shops: These places are usually bursting with books. Similar to yard sale experience but its totally worth it if you love the hunt. Side note: Antique Shops tend to list the item prices a little on the higher side because both the seller and the store make a profit from the sale.


Savers, Goodwill, even Ross all have books.  (Lately most Ross locations have been reducing inventory on books since they don't really sell well in their stores so this availability may change)

Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Savers are fantastic places to get books if you want to save some money and don't mind buying used books.  The pricing varies but you can buy a book from Goodwill, Salvation Army and Savers for anywhere from 89 cents to $4.  


There are even some cheat tips to getting a better discount on buying books at Goodwill, Salvation Army and Savers. Some might call it cheating the system a little bit but when you want to save money and they let you get away with it, why not take advantage? Heh.

Okay if you've been into a Goodwill or Savers or Salvation Army you've probably noticed that most of their items have personalized price tags on them.

Pay attention to this because it will pay off if you want to get a better deal.  Places like Goodwill, Savers and the Salvation Army have specials that they run every day of the week that coincide with one of the colors coded on their price tags.  Every day they have mark down sales on certain items. One day of the week will go to items like clothes, another day will go to furniture items, the day after that will go to toys or books etc.  

Usually Salvation Army doesn't do as high a discount and their prices are a little higher so keep that in mind when shopping with them.

However for both Goodwill and Savers they're a little more affordable when it comes to pricing and they give a better discount on the sale pricing.

Most of the time Salvation Army offers a 20% discount while Goodwill and Savers offer a 50% discount.

So on the sale days these stores will announce that they are offering the discount which is typically half off on a "such colored" price tag. To give you an example they'll say today is 50% off items with a purple tag or sticker, or 50% off items with a brown sticker or blue etc etc.

So if you happen to come across an item with that color whatever the price is will get you half off that price listing.

Pretty sweet.

But - hold out because it gets better. Both Goodwill and Savers have their own form of coupon discounts. If you register to get emails from Goodwill they have available on their website a coupon that you can either print out or show to the cashier on your phone when you pay that will get you an additional 20% off and its good all month.

Savers is a little more complicated however its totally worth it.

When you go into the store tell them that you signed up on their website and members will be provided with a discount card that get you special discounts that shoppers who just walk in and shop  don't get.

Signing up with Savers is free and it provides members who have a card access to additional rewards, points, discounts and sales that no one else gets.

To sweeten the pot both Savers and Goodwill have HALF OFF days. 50% off everything. Usually it only falls on a certain day but if you go in and get a haul, get half off and add your bonus discount and or your coupon along with the mark down you walk out the door with a huge load and you get to pay next to nothing for it.

Pretty cool huh?


Another good way to get books cheap is shopping at your local book shops. Privately owned bookstores are a great way of getting books for cheap and its always fun. A lot of the owners are wonderful and its nice to have a place that you go to regularly that you are familiar with and who are familiar with you.  Its like having a second home.


Book Fairs: These are a little trickier as books fairs are usually a yearly event. State Book Fairs are a hoarders dream. An example of a state book sale because I live in Arizona is the VNSA book sale. Its once a year in February takes place at the state coliseum - its an all day event. Be prepared to wait in line because everyone from everywhere goes there - get your hands on the nearest available cart - actually, better yet... Bring your own because the flatbeds available are almost always gone. You will die loading up on the amount of books, music and movies they have available for next to nothing and all the proceeds go to local community charities.


There are also other bookfairs much like scholastic which usually take place at certain schools. You can check their website for where the book fair tour is currently or going to be located.

It is open to the public however they do prefer that student relations attend the sale - this also gets you a better discount so if you have a child attending the school its even better. But if you don't its okay. Keep in mind prices are a bit steep but its always fun.


Do you like shopping at Walmart? They have a section for books and even better different areas they sell discounted and clearanced items. A lot of times Walmart will pull items off the shelf that aren't new that month and mark it down for clearance to get rid of it. This is a great way to buy books on sale. Check their clearance isle and their mark down bins. The discount is worth the digging to find that gem.


A great way to get books for free is to join websites like Goodreads granted, its not guaranteed that you are going to win, there are only a limited amount of books being given away and the drawing is random however they still hold giveaways on the site that you can take part of.


Speaking of giveaways you can also follow your favorite author or publisher or blogger website, social page, email newsletter, and or blog. Almost all of them do certain giveaways for their readers and followers.

Please do not manipulate this generous and delicate system. Also, if you win a book from them please post a review and give credit to the provider. Its the reason they hold the giveaways to begin with. Plus, it pays to pay it forward as well as showing gratitude for a labor that takes a lot out of the author.


Do you shop at stores like Target? Want to get a better deal? Pay attention to their price stickers.

Target's "unofficial" markdown schedule:

All Target inventory goes through a markdown phase that is in set increments: 15%, 30%, 50%, 70% and so on, up to 90%. Here’s the unofficial markdown schedule so you’ll know exactly when to look for the best deals:

   Monday: Baby items, children's clothing, electronics, and office supplies/gift wrap/stationery

    Tuesday: Home décor, women's clothing, and domestic items

    Wednesday: Food, health and beauty items, men's clothing, toys, and garden items

    Thursday: Lingerie, housewares, sporting goods, shoes, and luggage

    Friday: Cosmetics, jewelry, hardware, automotive, and home improvement

The "every two weeks" markdown schedule: Target typically further reduces unsold clearance merchandise every two weeks once the markdowns have begun, but this can vary based on region, amount of unsold inventory and manager discretion. If you are watching an item and see that it has been marked down 30% or 50%, come back in another two weeks to see if it has been marked down further.

How to read target clearance tags:

    15%: When an item goes on clearance at Target, the first markdown is usually 15%. You can tell exactly how much the item has been marked down by looking at the upper right-hand corner of the red clearance tag. If you see the number 15, it is marked down 15%. The original price of the product will always be listed on the left-hand side next to the word "was," and the new price of the item on clearance will be located on the right, next to the word "now." The last digit of the item will usually end in the numbers 6 or 8 (for example: $7.48).

    30%, 50%, 70% and 90%: If you look closely at the red clearance tag, you might notice the higher clearance numbers 30, 50, 70 or even an amazing 90! These numbers correspond to the percentage off that product is now being sold for.

    Price tags ending in $0.06 or $0.08: If the price of the item on clearance ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be marked down again during the next markdown cycle as long as there is inventory in the store. The item typically will remain at the current percentage off for two weeks before progressing to the next level.

    Price tags ending in $0.04: If the last number in the price of the item ends in $0.04, the item has been marked for final clearance, and this is the lowest price at which Target will sell the item.

    Random price tag endings: Often, Target price tags end with $0.00, $0.01, $0.05, $0.07, etc. I spoke with some store managers and was told these endings are arbitrary and simply indicate an item is on clearance with no specific meaning, and the item will continue on its clearance cycle.

    Sectioned clearances: Seasonal merchandise such as holiday, back-to-school, and summer items are examples of these clearance products. Many of these are holiday-branded and will be reduced at a much faster rate than the typical two-week increment because Target needs the space for new inventory. Often the products begin at 50% off, then are reduced to 70% off, and continue on up to 90% off within two weeks. Also, items may not be individually marked; the entire section will be at one discount rate.

    Gift card bonus price endings: Though unrelated to clearance items, anything that ends with $0.49, $0.79 or $0.99 indicate a Target Gift Card promotion is in effect. The Gift Card offer details will be listed at the very top in red, and the amount of the gift card will be listed on the card or offer.

A great way to get a free book when shopping at Target for your everyday items during the gift card promotions is to use the card you receive for making the purchase to buy your book.


You can even get free e-books from sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. There are always special price days listing different books for free for a 24 hour period. Granted its not always going to be exactly what you are looking for but you have a chance of finding some really great books to read plus possibly some new authors you hadn't yet discovered.


If you complain that you don't have an e-reader like a Kindle or a Nook or Ipad, that's okay because there are plenty of free apps you can download onto your computer or your cellphone that allow you to read your digital books that way. If you have a book in a format you don't have a reader for you can always try Calibre its a great program and reads nearly every format available and its free.


So as you can see there are plenty of ways of being able to afford buying or getting books, so no excuses. Collect your spare change that you keep laying around the house and make a book fund. Save your pennies you leave laying around the house then head out and see just how far those pennies will go. You might be surprised.


Do you have any tips, tricks or secret ways that you save on books? Tell us about them in the comments below!