A Book Hoarder’s Guide to Saving Money on Books

Who here has ever felt financially victimized by the gorgeous tomes in bookstores?

I know I have. Every time I walk in, it’s like I need to buy at least one book in order to feel satisfied with myself. It’s a problem, but it’s not one I’ve ever really bothered to do anything about. I’m currently trying to mostly read books that have been sitting on my TBR shelf for months (*cough* sometimes years) before buying any new ones. So far, it’s been working pretty well. But, after all the times I’ve failed at putting myself on a book buying ban, I’ve found some cool ways to save money on books.

Use a points card at your local bookstore.

There aren’t many bookstores in the city where I live, so Chapters is often my go-to for book buying. They have a rewards program called Plum, where you receive so many points for every dollar spent in store and eventually you can redeem these points for store credit. I know that Barnes and Noble in the US and Waterstones and Foyles in the UK have similar programs. It’s not a lot, but hey – it’s still money!

Check the bargain section.

I don’t know about you, but my Chapters has a huge bargain section. Sometimes, they will be cleaning out the hardbacks of a book to make room for a newly-released paperback, or getting rid of old editions. Always check here before buying the edition of a book that you find on the regular shelf – I’ve saved myself a significant amount of money on at least 15 books that I can think of by following this method.

DISCLAIMER: The bargain section is a dangerous place for book hoarders. Enter at your own risk. 😉

Check Bookfinder.

This is SUCH a cool website, and I didn’t know about it until earlier this year when my favourite prof showed it to me. It’s a book price comparison website that searches online bookstores, online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay, and other locations and offers you the best price on the book you are searching for – including shipping. This way, you know that the price you are looking at includes the cost of shipping it to your house. It even searches  international stores, such as Amazon UK or Germany, because sometimes the prices might be cheaper despite the fact that it will be sent to you from another country. This website is indispensable to me!

BookOutlet. That is all.

This is an amazing (primarily online) bookstore that sells brand new books at ridiculously cheap prices. Sometimes there is a small scratch on the front, or a splotch of ink on the inside of the book. I saved a lot of money over the four years of my undergrad by buying novels from BookOutlet. As far as I know, there is both a Canadian and US version of the store.

Buy used when you can.

Some people like brand new books with shiny dust jackets and immaculate spines. Other people like books whose history and age can be told through the delightful smell of “old book.” Regardless of your preference, buying used is a great way to save money. Used bookstores often have copies of books that are in near-perfect condition, and usually for about half the price. Amazon also has a great “used books” feature with descriptions of the physical condition of a used book that a third party seller is selling through their platform. I have bought quite a few books this way, and have always been pleased with what shows up in the mail.

Another thing you can do with used book stores is to exchange old books for store credit. I don’t know about you, but I am constantly going through my books to see which ones would be better loved in a different home. There is a chain of used book stores in my hometown that lets you use store credit for 50% of the value of your total purchase. It’s great!

For audiobooks, use Audible.

Without a membership, audiobooks on the Amazon-owned Audible are about the same price as everywhere else. This being said, they offer a great subscription service. For about 15$ monthly, you get a credit that can be redeemed for the value of any book on the website. The best steal I ever got on Audible was when I used a 15$ credit to buy the 90$ Stephen Fry-narrated complete Sherlock Holmes. I saved over 70$! This service is great for those who enjoy listening to a good book on their commute to work or, like me, while horseback riding.

So there are a few tips for saving money on books. I hope these helped! Comment any other tips you find useful below, I’m always looking!

Happy reading!


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