Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Poor Girls Guide to Getting Books

There's this thing that happens when people see me with books, I carry them in my purse, they cover the walls in my house, I take them with me everywhere I go.

Every single time I run across at least one person that always tells me how they wish they could read but they just can't afford it.

I've had this conversation a dozen times with many different people. Anybody who's anybody can afford to read.

For those of you that are so picky about what you're reading such as only being willing to read the latest and newest and upcoming books.. If you aren't lucky enough to review for agents, authors or publishing companies that send out books months prior to their release or you don't have a membership to some cheap read and trade program that many of them do, there are plenty of websites (LEGAL ones) where you don't have to pirate books. Like Netgalley and many other sites they offer books that you can read for FREE (reviews in return hopeful and better your chances of getting more in the future)

I typically get the reply that they can't afford an e-reader or they don't have internet at home. Well that's the bonus of public libraries.

Membership is free and they have computers where you can sit and read digital/print books at your leisure.

Libraries are fantastic for multiple reasons and they don't get enough credit for it but not only do you get to check out books for free, you can use their computers to read digital books for free, they also have Book Friend / Library Friend (etc) programs.


For those of you that don't know what the friendly program is almost every single library has one. Most of the time its right when you walk in the door, or its by the check out counter or its often missed because visitors are unsure of what its supposed to be.

Its a gathering of books often pulled from the shelves or brand new and over stock or donated that they gather to sell (often on the honesty/ trust system) on the cheap. (Often 25 cents to 3 dollars)

Here's where the money part comes in.

If you're going to say you can't afford to buy books, I'm going to rebuttal that by telling you that everyone has spare change.

This comes into play with any place that sells books. Spare change. Hold on to your spare change. You can exchange it for cash or whatever you want to do, but save up those little pennies and quarters the extra dollar, then pick a day when you've met a "fill goal" in your save spot/jar to spend the money you have saved up.


(Yes its a choice of using the saved up cash to buy an extra loaf of bread or buying a couple books on the cheap but its all a matter of choice. You can choose to buy that extra slice of cheese cake when you go out to eat or you can choose to buy a novel that you missed getting by your favorite author last month.)


Back to the change. It doesn't take a hundred dollars to buy a couple books even if you only shop at Barnes and Noble, which is fine. You'll get less for your buck but keep your eye out for mailing lists in your email and even if you only have a cheap cricket phone you get email alerts so keep your eye out for that monthly send out B&N adds to their newsletter with the handy dandy coupon on in it.


If you have a newer phone you can just use your digital coupon at the counter or you can print out the coupon- both work - pick your book out and using the coupon get your book for 25 even 75% off its marked price.

Don't forget to check the side isles because they often put out their discounted books on the second week which is great because if you go to a location that allows you to double up with the mark off and coupon you can sometimes get the book for free.

Yes free.


Or say you don't like shopping at Barnes and Noble because its still too expensive and you want more for your buck so you mosey over to places like Half Price Books - Again, cheap. Half price books also has coupons, they also have a clearance section.

Always visit the clearance section first because sometimes you get lucky and find books that are in spectacular condition are sometimes new and are the same books as on the other shelves. You can use your handy Half Price Books coupon to get your book/s for less than you would have had you gone in and got it at the regular section and without the coupon.


Can't afford that?

Well, okay.


Everyone's heard of Goodwill. Not everyone knows that Goodwill has a book section. Be aware that not every Goodwill has the same selection of books so if you are willing to travel to more than one location the better.

What's great about Goodwill is that you never know what you are going to find when you get there. The selection will always be different, you'll have days you can fill a cart and you'll have days you'll walk out empty handed.

Its sorta the luck of the draw.

Goodwill ALSO has a coupon they send out in newsletters to your email. Keep in mind the coupon requires a limit of purchase to get the discount, if you aren't able to afford the limit - don't worry.

Goodwill also has 1/2 OFF days and discount days. I tend to skip the discount days because anyone that's been in a Goodwill knows everything is color coded and most the discount days aren't on the books so hold out for the 1/2 off days where ALL of it is marked half price. Most of their books are between .99 and 2.99 so its fairly reasonable for anyone with low incomes.


If you don't have Goodwill but you have a Savers its the same thing without a coupon. However!!

Savers has a membership card. Its FREE so sign up online and pick up/activate your card at the store.

Bear in mind Savers books are the same price range as Goodwill (often a better selection of books and in better condition- Sorry Goodwill)

You get your membership discount for using your card on purchases but keep your eyes open and sign up for sales alerts on their website or watch out for the days when Savers has its special Book Discount days. LOAD UP. The sales are unreal and totally worth it.


If you don't have either but you have a Bashas, Fry's or Walmart near by check the coupon ads if you are able to. There is almost always a manufacturing coupon you can take to the register to get a discount on your books. Its not going to be as cheap as it would be at places like Goodwill, Savers or even the Salvation Army would be but you have access. Every penny saved adds up at the end of the month if you are a frequent book shopper.


Always look at places like (indoor/outdoor) swapmeets, garage sales, antique shops, estate shops, small nook stores, hell, even people selling and giving away books on craigslist and other places of the like because they ALWAYS ALWAYS have books.

Heck, I've even found books in a water/ice store the owner was always putting out for 10 cents a book and they were new books.


The great thing about nook shops or vendors is that if you are familiar with the process and the person doing the selling, they're pretty good people and many of them are willing to work on the barter system.


As a big book collector and reader there is almost always a book or two on the shelf at home to trade so even if you aren't sure don't be afraid to bring it up because sometimes if they see you have something worthy to exchange you can trade what you have for something you want. I've done this many times as well.

I had double copies of a brand new book and didn't need the extra but the vendor had a book I wanted that was in a series with the book I already had and I traded it for the one I needed.

Its free you both benefit and you walk away with something new.

I love small book shops and small book vendors because even they have their own way of handing out discounts. Sometimes its a printed out coupon, sometimes its a punch card, sometimes its as simple as buy 5 get 2 free, or buy one get one free. Or they are only selling books for 25 cents each.


But there is always a way to get books on the cheap.


Of course there are plenty of readers out there that do have digital readers or computers but they feel like they can't afford to buy ebooks all the time which is understandable because I've seen ebooks cost just as much as the real thing, there are plenty of ways to getting free ebooks even if you don't want to use places like Netgalley or Smashwords because you don't like leaving reviews or you don't have time to leave reviews.


That's okay.


Every day Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Itunes, and plenty more websites and retailers offer ebooks for FREE.


(I will say that posting reviews is a good thing but if you aren't going to post reviews at least take the time to rate the darn thing, its the least you can do.)


Before you tell me that the books that Amazon, B&N, or Itunes post are probably junk... think again. Everyday thousands of book are listed for FREE on their site and thousands of them yes I admit aren't always going to be on the Best Sellers or New York Times lists BUT there's always an exception.


I can't count the amount of times I have found one of my favorite authors or a best selling authors book being posted for free on Amazon, B&N, and Itunes and other sites. Brand new books, previously published books, books that I love or want to read.


Keep in mind the Freebies only last for a limited time and won't always be free and the inventory marked as free is always changing so you can check back every day to see whats being featured or listed.

Over the years I've found thousands of books just by checking these sites for free books. Thousands sounds dramatic but I'm really not kidding.


Often times if you follow an authors webpage and you get a newsletter the author will let you know when there are sales on their books, when books are going for free and where.

If you don't own an ereader, a kindle or nook or some other machine that's okay because there are plenty of programs that are downloadable to your computers/laptops/cellphones/tablets and other machines that will allow you to read your ebook collection anywhere you go.


Also if you don't shop in person don't forget there are plenty of places online to get cheap books too if you have access. If you can't afford a bank account or have enough for one that's okay you can invest in recharge cards. You can buy a rechargeable VISA/MasterCard at your local store or gas station and add money to it. They are limited however they allow you to buy from places like Thrift Books and Book Outlet (which also have discounted section and member discounts and coupons, so watch for those sales!) 


After awhile all these books you've gotten on the cheap add up and it will be time to replenish your collection at home, your savings stash will replenish and the process will start all over again. 


For those of you that don't believe that you would save very much doing it this way I dare you to try it. Keep a note pad and list all the regular prices on the book that you would have paid if you'd gotten it another way then count up what you really paid next to it, add that up per week, per month, for a year and see what the total will be. It will add up. It will be one more book gone to a good home and one less book tossed away at the dump to rot and your wallet will thank you.


Anyways there are plenty of ways of going about it more than I even listed as an example, more than I can even name. You might be driving by a whole mess of books that are going for the cheap every day so next time you pass that shopping plaza you never go to take a look around next time. You might find buried treasure.

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