Monday, December 14, 2009

Frugal Books

I am an avid reader.  I read at night to fall asleep.  I read in the bathroom.  I always have a book or a magazine with me in the car for times I have to wait for an appointment or to meet a friend.

Being on a very limited budget these days means not buying books.  It takes at least 3 books a week to feed my habit so I have had to become more creative on sources for books.  Here are some ideas for frugally finding books.

  • Swap books with family, friends and co-workers.  If you know people who read similar kinds of books you enjoy set up a swap.  I have a list of people I call once a month and check to see if they have a bag of books to swap.  Sometimes people want them back and other times they just want to exchange.  If they want to keep their books I suggest they put their name in the book with a slip of paper stating they want it back. It is a good idea to create your own Excel list and make a lending library spreadsheet. List the name of the book, who you lent it to with their contact information and the date lent.  This way you will have a good record of where your books are.
  • Work book swap.  Find a spot to leave books to share with co-workers at your worksite.  Lunch time and breaks can be spent reading and relaxing.  I have found some really interesting books at work.  If are not working then possibly your place of worship will work with you to see up a free book swap.
  • My local library has just become a regular visiting place for me.  I had not been there in a long time and was surprised with all the new things they offer like free DVDs to borrow.  I look up the books I am looking for and online and reserve them.  Sometimes I have to wait to get a popular book but that is ok with me to save money.  I am working on getting them back on time which has been a problem for me in the past.  Now that I am going every two weeks at a set time it is getting easier.  If I have not finished reading one of the books I simply ask to renew the book. When I do not have a list of books I want to read I pick choices from the library employee favorites display.  This has given me books I would never have picked on my own that were really interesting and good reads.  My library also has a free magazine rack in the hallway.  People bring in their magazines and leave them for others to enjoy.  I happen to love reading magazines and find this resource very helpful and it is a huge savings to me.
  • Used book stores often offer exchange programs.  There are two in my community in which I can bring in books and get credits for new choices.  Right now I have a $12 credit at one of the stores.  When I go in I can pick any books in the store totally $12 and take them home.
  • One of my friends has been selling her books on Ebay.  She said she was surprised at the prices she was getting and the fact that some of her books have become classics and collectables.  Personally I have not tried this method.  When I had a book budget I did often buy books through Amazon because I could purchase used books at a fraction of the cost even including the postage.  I used to love coming home to find books waiting for me at the door!
  • Yard Sales are great sources for paperbacks.  In the summer I buy bags of paperbacks and never spend more than .25 for each book.  I love it when the seller will let me fill a bag for a designated amount of money.  I trade these books with friends and then put them out when I have a yard sale.  I once put an ad on Craigslist offering a bag of paperbacks by three popular authors and listed the titles.  I was asking for books from the same or similar authors.  It worked and both parties were happy because we didn't spend any money.  We met at the local grocery store and maintained our privacy.
I found an excellent article online that I recommend.  The Frugal Panda lists 17 frugal ways to find books.  I have been reading the suggestions and am going to add some of them to my sources for free books.  I really did not know how many books were available free online.  While it might be awkward to read with my laptop snuggled in bed, free is free and might be worth cuddling up with a big fluffy pillow and laptop pillow if I find a great book to read online.

Right now I am reading a mystery novel about Egypt and a nonfiction about life in Iraq. I read fiction including novels, mysteries, nonfiction including biographies, self help books, cookbooks, craft books, survival books, physics books, books on consciousness, design books, fix it yourself books, gardening and urban homesteading books, canning books (especially older canning books), Marblehead books and of course books on being frugal.  I built shelving in my hallway and it is over flowing with books and magazines.  Lately I have been thinning them out so I can create more space for new entries.  I of course have my favorites and resource books that I am not ready to let go but I am working on rotating the collection.

If you are looking for a good selection of canning books, please check out the books I including in the left hand column of this blog.  I have carefully either checked out these books or have them at home.  You can access any book at Amazon by clicking on the search widget I include.  Yes, I would make a few pennies from the sale.  I could certainly use a few extra pennies!  Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Don't know if your area / community has a freecycle group - but go to and see if your community has one. Sign up and then you can post a WANTED: BOOKS. Our community has a big freecycling group and there are always folks giving away books on there.

Perhaps you could post a WANTED: BOOKS on Craig's list in your area too.

Simply letting everyone in your circle know you are always looking for books will increase your odds. We are very active in our community and church and have been blessed with many things by simply sharing our wants, needs and desires and VOILA' sometimes the blessings simply show up at our door step!

LOVE the blog....we've been frugal for thirty years - before it was "trendy".

Merry Christmas!

MaMaBear in the Mitten

Blogger said...

You might be eligible to receive a $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.