What’s better than finding the book you’ve been wanting to read for ever?
Finding that book in a sale bin or with one of those magical half-price stickers on it.
You know the feeling. A book is released. You want to read it. You can’t really afford another book at $30 a pop this month (books are expensive in NZ). So you do the
right sensible thing, and hold off a while. After all, you have about a thousand books sitting in piles on your bedroom floor that you need to read. It may take all your will power, but it might just be worth it.
A month or two might go past, you might be avoiding those reviews and spoilers online, or you might have forgotten about said book, having been distracted by another world, another character, another story. But then, when you least expect it, you find it. Hidden in among the other books that have been cast aside in a sale bin. Could it be? You pick it up. You see the original $29.95 price sticker on it…which is covered by that orange sticker that now read $4.97. Heavenly music sounds, the book lights up, and you give a cheer, not caring that the whole of the store is now watching you, for they, too, at some point have been privy to this exact experience.
Oh the joys of finding books on sale. But sometimes finding cheap books can be a mission. Perhaps you don’t want to wait until that book you really want is on special. Perhaps you don’t have time. But, my book loving friends, it’s worth it. I can’t even remember the last time I bought a book at full retail price. I just don’t seem to do it any more. With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 5 tips for finding cheap books, or at least discounted, or cheaper-than-original-retail-price books.
1 | Don’t walk past the sale bins/stands/shelves
If you’re a book lover like me, then walking past anything that has to do with books is a) not only nigh-on-impossible but b) absolutely wrong. But even if you only have an extra minute or two in your busy schedule, stop and take a quick look. In among the old Mills and Boons novels or those hundreds of Bryce Courtaney books that you’re sick of seeing, there might just be a gem. I managed to pick up several books that I actually love from these sorts of places.
Another side point to this is that if you do have a bit more time to browse, do. Have a good look at all those spines. Pick books up even if they don’t quite grab your attention at first. Read the back. If they’re only a couple of dollars and they sound decent, give them a go. If there are several shelves, get down on your knees and get the bottom shelf looked at. Having worked in a book store and in a library, people tend to only browse books at eye level, and one shelf up and one shelf down. Chances are there will be better books down the bottom because people don’t want to bend down that far for books they might not buy. But you? You need to. You never know which book might be your next favourite. And you might find it on the bottom shelf.
2 | Look out for sales
Again, if you’re a book lover, you’re not going to walk past signs outside shops that have ‘books’ and ‘sale’ on the same poster. Get in there. It might be a ‘Buy 2 get the 3rd half price’ sale, or a ‘All Teen Fiction half price’ sale, or even a ‘20% off store wide!” But not matter what it is, you’re going to be saving money. (We won’t talk about the money you would have saved if you hadn’t bought any books because that would be blasphemy.) Look at the sale books. Remember which books you already have. Buy all the ones you don’t.
I don’t know about your country, but often here in New Zealand libraries will have book sales, either just as a trolley in the library, or as a specific event. Sometimes they just need to re-work the books they have, so they sell off the older books for super cheap. These are always fantastic places to get books, especially if you’re there early.
As well as library sales, often you can find second-hand book sales, such as the Auckland ASB 24 hour Book Fair. Each year at the ASB Stadium they hold a book sale for 24 hours (10am on the Saturday till 2am on Sunday. Then 6am on Sunday till 2pm), and you can grab so many bargains and even more books. It’s my favourite time of time, for sure. It’s events like these you need to look out for.
3 | Spend vouchers at sales
Much like detouring into a store which has a ‘sale’ sign on it, only spend your book vouchers when there’s a sale on. People often give me book vouchers for thank-yous or for presents, and while I would love to rush out and spend it all right then and there, I always patiently wait until there’s some sort of sale happening. Yes, I could get 2, possibly 3, books from a $50 voucher here in NZ, but if I wait until there’s a ‘Buy 1 get 1 half price’ sale, then I can get like 5 books. Worth.It.
4 | Free eBooks
What’s better than cheap books? That’s right, bibliophiles. Books that are so cheap they’re actually free books. If you have a Kindle, a Nook, a [insert eReader here] or even a phone with a Kindle app on it, then you have access to hundreds of thousands of free eBooks. As well as cheap digital books through Amazon and other stores, there are websites that provide you with links to free eBooks that you can download to hearts content. Yes, some are super bad. But some are actually really good books. If you’re a book review on a blog or website, then you can check out Netgalley, which allows you to request books pre-publication to review. They send the file straight to your eReader and everything. Check out this post I did a few years back on Book Related Websites.
5 | Know your websites
If you live in a country like New Zealand, then books can be expensive. We’re talking upwards of $30 for a newly released booked. yes, you can wait until you find it in the sale bin, or you have a voucher, but you just can’t quite hold out that long, then there are options. Knowing what websites there are in the world is key. Find them. Use them. Yes you might have to pay for postage. Yes it might take a week to get to you. But you’ll be saving those pennies my friend, and once you have enough pennies, you can buy another book!
*Three cheers for pennies!*
My go-to in NZ is The Book Depository which not only has books way cheaper than stores here, but does free world wide shipping. Another go-to is Mighty Ape, which is sort of like NZ’s Amazon, and sometimes Booktopia, which is an Australian based store, which sells cheap books, even if there are shipping fees.
So there we have it. Tips on finding cheap books. Never pay full price again! (Unless you really really really can’t wait – then go ahead!)
What books have you bought recently that were on sale, or perhaps you spent a voucher on?