How To

How To: Buy Cheap Books

This is a topic I see coming up quite a lot – people want to own all the pretty books, but they don’t have the money to pay full price. I like to think I’ve learnt a lot about how to save money when book buying. Here are my tips!

We’re talking strictly legal-only advice here. If you’re thinking about pirating a book, don’t – seriously. Its difficult enough for both libraries and authors to make enough profit, let alone with people stealing their work. You wouldn’t steal a sculpture from an art gallery, don’t do it with books. It’s how authors get paid, same as any other trade.

  1. ONLINE. Buying books online are almost always cheaper than in person.
  2. LIBRARIES. Although I’ve seen libraries selling only the books which are damaged, some will sell fully functioning, beautiful copies of books very cheaply. When you buy from a library, you’re helping that service out, so not only do you get books for ridiculously low prices but you also know you’re helping get other kids into reading by keeping library doors open. If you find a good place to buy disused library books in your local area, spread the word!
  3. EBOOKS. Using kindle, you can get a lot of public domain books – certainly in the UK, at least – for free. This includes Jane Austen books and anything of a similar age. Some authors also offer books for free or very, very cheap: you can also get a free sample of any book before buying, so it’s worth using this even if you prefer buying the physical copy of a book.
  4. BOOKS FOR REVIEW. There are hundreds, if not thousands of authors offering up their book for free in exchange for a honest review.
  5. COMPETITION – SHOP AROUND. If there’s a book you really want buy seems super expensive, keep looking around. There are a lot of different book buying resources at your disposable, depending on your country and what exactly you’re looking for.
  6. SHIPPING. Pay close attention to how much you’re being charged. Book Depositary has free shipping, and if you’re a student you can sign up for a six-months free trial of Amazon Prime. This means, on most items, you’ll get free prime delivery – next day delivery if available (it won’t cost any extra) or at the very least priority shipping. You also get other cool stuff like Amazon Video (hello, Mr Robot).
  7. ETHICS. Sure, buying the book direct from an author might be the best way to ensure the most of your money goes to the author, but as far as I know, the most important thing for an author (especially new or under appreciated) is exposure. Publicise what you’re reading, whether in person or through a blog. Talk about books you like, books you dislike. Create a discussion and someone is bound to start reading what you’ve read.
  8. STATIONERY SHOPS… aren’t just for pens and paper. My new favourite bulk book-buying shop is The Works, selling box sets of popular books for way less than everywhere else. I’m going to be buying The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices from here. In store they also tend to have book buying deals (such as two books for £5 the last time I was physically in a shop to buy books).

Think I’ve missed something? Got book buying secrets of your own? Let me know in the comments!

Want to keep up to date with what I’m reading? Check out my goodreads. 

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8 thoughts on “How To: Buy Cheap Books”

          1. Yeah, Amazon books are great (especially for the classics) and if you’re a reviewer a lot of indie authors will provide free ebooks in exchange for review – but I prefer reading from paperbacks unless I’m travelling, hence the emphasis on buying physical copies.


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