Okay, I don’t mean never buy a book in your life, but honestly and truly approach books as if buying isn’t an option and then if you must buy, pretend new books don’t exist
I am continually amazed at how much people spend on books when there are so many other ways to read the same books for free or nearly free. Here are a few tips!
1. Join the library and really embrace it! I don’t mean only go when you absolutely have to read something for that bookgroup/work/parenting course, I mean spend some time walking around your local libraries, get to know the librarians, peruse the shelves and become an active member! You will find a wealth of literature you didn’t know existed and find out neat tips each library offers, for example mine offers several free book clubs and a film group!
2. Get used to waiting! I know for most people, finding out they are number 100 on a waiting list for a particular book is a bit of a joke, but generally there are several copies of popular books and many are even on 1 week loans, so you can move quite quickly through the list. I’m currently 227 for a particular book, but you know what, there are hundreds, no thousands of other books to choose from while I wait. There may be some instances where you can’t wait (a therapy book for you child is one reason) but when it isn’t life or death and you simply want to read a book, practice delayed gratification – learning that skill will save you thousands each year!
3. See if anywhere you frequent has a book exchange/swap/sale. My gym and my bank have books you can take – at the gym it is free (and they encourage you to bring in any book you don’t want) at my bank you donate 50 cents to a cancer charity!
4. If none of centres/banks/gyms/rec-centres offer a book swap program, then suggest one! I’ve done this in the past and most places were very receptive!
5. Make requests for books to be ordered at your library! Don’t be scared of the librarians, they are often very pleased to have suggestions. Before I left Devon I admitted to my local librarian how poor I felt the library service was, she was very receptive, asked good questions about my experience with other libraries in England and asked me for some book suggestions. One month later, there were my suggestions on the shelf! Chances are if you want a book, someone else does to!
6. Check out hospital & University libraries. Many let the public have some access for free!
7. Peruse the book isles at second-hand shops! Keep a list of books you are interested in with you in your wallet/purse and take a few minutes to see if they have any.
8. Set yourself a limit – mine was 1.50 per book. I waited 2 years to find a cookbook I searched all over for (and was determined not to buy it for $5 plus shipping online) and lo and behold 2 years later I found it, for exactly my budget at a charity shop!
9. Join paperback swap and other resources like freecycle. But remember that postage still costs money!
10. Start swapping books with friends. Currently I have more than 10 books I’ve loaned to friends and I have two books here friends have loaned to me. This is such a frugal way to read & a great way to start a little book group!
And when you really need that book you really can’t find anywhere, ask for it for your Birthday or Christmas
I’d love to hear from you! How much do you spend on books? Have you found any frugal tips for avid readers?