10 Creative Ways to Save Money on Books

book review

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (@carefulcents) you might have seen photos of all the books I’ve read recently. I enjoyed reading when I was younger, but since I’ve been in my twenties I haven’t picked up a book much at all.

So earlier this year I made it my 2012 New Year’s resolution to read at least 1 book per month — 12 books for the whole year. Well, my love for reading has been reKINDLEd (pun intended!) and I’ve been reading almost a book per week.

Of course with this new found hobby comes an added expense, which means more spending. But you can always make money selling books back, and there’s a few tricks to save money too.

1. Sign up to be a member

I have a Barnes and Noble bookstore within walking distance of my apartment (which may or may not be a good thing for my budget). I pay $25 a year to get access to the B&N membership card, with these benefits:

  • Eligible for the Everyday Member discount
  • 40% off listed price for current and bestseller books
  • Extra 10% off sale items and everything else
  • $50 worth of Coupons, discounts and specials
  • Free express shipping (1-3 days)

I also get access to free wifi and save 10% on all the food and drinks at their coffee shop. The shipping charge is normally $6.95 each time I want books shipped, so after 4 orders, the membership has already paid for itself.

You might not have a local B&N near you but many bookstores, like BAM (Books a Million) offer membership programs that can save you money.

Or if you’re a seriously avid reader, you can sign up online with a site like DiscountBookSale. You’ll get unlimited access to tons of books, up to 30% off plus free shipping, for about $20 per month.

2. Buy paperback or ebook versions

I personally prefer hardback books for different reasons, but they do cost a little bit more than the paperback or ebook versions. Paperback versions of books are often $5-6 less than the hardback copies.

And most of the time the ebook versions are the least expensive option and more convenient since you can download them instantly and don’t have to wait to get the physical book in the mail (or pay for shipping).

3. Never pay full price

There’s almost no reason to pay full price these days, you can save money on practically anything. With sites like Coupon Chief and BeFrugal, I am always finding discount codes and earning cash back on my purchases.

Whether it’s physical books, ebooks or audio books, doing a quick search online will yield tons of deals and digital coupons to save you money.

4. Look online at discount sites

Half.com is like eBay for books, music, movies and textbooks. Which makes it an excellent resource for finding used and new books for super low prices. After doing a quick search for the media you want, you can purchase from individual sellers across the country.

Since the sellers are trying to undercut each other, you can find quality books for only a few bucks. You can also resell the books you’ve finished reading, to offset the cost of purchasing new ones.

5. Organize a book swap

Just like with clothing swaps, organizing a book swap is an awesome way to get rid of some clutter while getting new books to read for free.

Ask your friends, family and co-workers to bring a some of their books to exchange and trade. It’s also a great way to discover new authors or exciting series, without spending a dime.

6. Make the purchases count

Don’t buy every book you see advertised or all the books on popular reading lists. Instead read a review from a trusted blogger or ask a friend for recommendations. If you’re spending your hard earned money on a book, you want to enjoy it and finish the entire thing.

Nothing is more disappointing than anticipating a new book that you get bored with and quit reading. You not only waste money, but you waste your time too.

7. Screen the books first

Another great way to make your book purchases really count, is to screen or pre-read a few pages before you buy them. With a quick visit to Amazon you can view price comparisons, check reviews and preview the first several pages.

Sometimes you can even download whole chapters to read. Just in case you don’t end up liking the book, you won’t have lost any money or much time in the process.

8. Barter for free books

If you’re a blogger or have your own website, reach out to a publishing company or author and negotiate for a free book in exchange for your review. (I’ve done this several times with great success.)

Even if you don’t have a site available, you can still promise to publish honest reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or other bookstore sites. If the book contains great content, the author will be more than willing to send over a book in exchange for a positive review.

9. Buy directly from the author

These days, a good majority of authors have their own blogs and platforms. Many of them directly sell their newly released books at a lower price than regular bookstores, and sometimes even offer promotional specials for connecting with them.

For instance, if you sign up to receive their newsletter they might give the book away for free or half price.

10. Attend webinars or listen to interviews

If one of your favorite authors or bloggers releases a new book, you can bet they will doing a round of promoting. From interviews to webinars to podcasts, they will be spreading the news.

Normally the author will give away extra bonuses and products for buying the book, and they might offer the book for free as a special promotion for attending.

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