Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Book Buying Secrets

Disclaimer: This ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated.
Read at your own risk!


I've written a whole lotta posts about being a book nerd.
But have I mentioned that Max is on his way to becoming a book nerd, too?
He comes by it honestly because I'm pretty sure it's genetic.


I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love books.
I love the stories they hold, I love how they feel, I love opening books to start reading, I love closing books when I've finished all of the words, I love when cheap ink smudges my fingers from holding the book too tight, and I love how books smell.

Don't judge me. I worked in a library for over six years.
I am a big fan of libraries. I like how libraries smell, too (they smell like books... and sometimes old ladies but I digress). So much so that, one day, I want my own home library. A room with floor to ceiling bookcases complete with soft chairs, a reading table, and cozy blankets. It's a big dream, but somebody's got to have it... and I've been working on it for the past ten years.

Most girls have too many shoes or dresses or purses. Me? I have over 400 books.


Which is why, today, I am going to let you in on some book buying secrets.

Rule Number One:
Embrace second hand books.
You can find second-hand books at yard sales, garage sales, thrift stores, used book stores,, eBay, and from personal Amazon sellers. I'm not the biggest fan of hunting down books at thrift stores (at least not here- the book section is chaos!), but I love used book stores. They're also chaotic, but there's a method to the madness. Sometimes books have names written in them and sometimes they're really tattered, but a lot of the time you can find books in near-pristine condition for two or three bucks which is fantastic! Our favorite used book store here also has a stamp card where if you spend $50, you get $10 free... which is three or four books. Libraries also sometimes sell their excess books for an incredibly small fee.


Rule Number Two:
Shop Online... but not always where it's obvious.
If you have Amazon Prime (or Amazon Student or Amazon Mom, which are free!), new books on Amazon are incredibly cheap, especially if you buy from their bargain book section. Sometimes they come with a mark on the bottom, but not always. And the books? They're often well written, solid books. When I checked this afternoon, they had several Sarah Dessen books for $3.60, a John Green book for $4.00, and the hardcover of Graceling (which is amazing!) for a whoppin' $6.40. They only sell a limited number at these prices, so you have to scoop them up whenever you see them.

The website Goodreads also hosts dozens of giveaways each month, which are super easy to enter and also fairly easy to win- I know because I won one and I never win anything. I'm not saying you should outlaw chains like Barnes & Nobles and Borders, but I do suggest signing up for their rewards programs. Borders Rewards cards are free and I almost always have a 33% off coupon, if not higher. Both stores often have good bargain sections and I've picked up many wonderful books off their by one get one free (or half off) tables. I have the free kids card at Barnes & Nobles which doesn't do much, but I've heard paying for their full card saves a bundle if you shop there often.

Mom and Max

Rule Number Three:
Know what's public domain.
This might sound silly, but to me it's fairly ridiculous to see someone shell out $30 for a book they can read (or hear!) online for free. I actually don't care for reading books online, but you can buy hard copies of books like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Frankenstein for as low as $2.oo and get them for free on Kindles, iPods, and iPads. If it's your favorite book, I totally understand wanting to buy the classic with the pretty cover, but in general it's just not worth it.

Rule Number Four (if you have kids or are having kids):
If you see a deal on a children's books, pick it up.
Whether it's online, at a used book store, or at whatever chain store you frequent, just pick the book up if it's ridiculously cheap because chances are, your child will read it. Also: join Scholastic. Max is only eight months old, and I already have the complete sets of Percy Jackson and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, both of which I scored for less than $25. I also have the entire set of Little House on the Prairie and a worn down set of the Anne of Green Gables series. I know not all of my kids will like to read, but learning is so important to me and Andrew that we want books to help create the environment we give our children as they grow up. Max's favorite time of day is story time and he's loved his pigeon books ever since his eyes could focus. I'm also super nerdy and read Harry Potter to him on a regular basis. Maybe he'll hate books when he's nine years old, but I want them to be there just in case he wants to read, or if he gets bored and there's nothing else to do.

Yummy Shoe

Oh, and if you're at BYU, the E-Lang publishing class taught by Rick Walton will hook you up with at least five or six free books brought by publishing houses looking to sell you on their products... or at least it did last winter.

Whewww. That was a lot more wordy than I expected.
And I didn't proofread, so sorry for any typos.