5 Rules for Being a Bargain Book Shopper

Keep calm and grab a bargain.

Wherein one learns the ropes…

Bargain shopping, and especially bargain book shopping, is not for everyone. If you had asked me a few months ago, before I started the Dollar Reads Challenge, I would have told you that it wasn’t for me. But now I can’t even imagine buying books any other way. Here are a few tips to get you started as a bargain book shopper.

  1. Don’t expect to read series in order. If you looking for books on the secondary market, like discount stores and library sales, the selection is pretty much going to be potluck. With some patience and a little luck, you might be able to find exactly the book you’re looking for — but don’t count on it. Bargain book shopping is for those who enjoy the thrill of the hunt.
  2. Ignore the New York Times bestseller list. In fact, ignore all bestseller lists. Books end up at discount stores because there are copies that went unsold at major retailers. That means that, generally, it’s not the most popular and successful books that are going to be available. That’s not a hard and fast rule. You can get lucky. Just temper your expectations.
  3. Used books are your friends. There are plenty of places that sell gently (and not so gently) used books. Library sales, Amazon, and used book stores all offer used books at prices that reflect any wear and tear, so you can usually find a good deal. I mean, I’m not going to quibble over the condition of a book I got for twenty cents (Yes, I’ve gotten books for twenty cents.) Although you can find some books that will hardly seem used at all. But if you’re looking for a book you actually want to read, and not some heirloom piece, don’t pass up a used book.
  4. Don’t procrastinate. When you see a book you want at a good price, Snap. It. Up. Other readers are not going to pass up a bargain while you make up your mind. If you decide the book is not for you, donate it to a library or pass it on to a friend. But if you hesitate, you might find the book you wanted is no longer available.
  5. Ask and you shall might receive. There are a ridiculous number of people online who offer raffles for free books. Goodreads.com has dozens of giveaway offers going on at any given time. Book bloggers and publishers are always hosting giveaway raffles online. Check Twitter, Facebook, or your favorite book blog and toss your hat in the ring. You, too, could be a winner.

Bargain book shopping isn’t always easy. You never know if you’re going to find what you’re looking for, and you have to be diligent about searching for the best deal. But knowing what to expect should make things a little easier. And the savings you can realize make it more than worth the effort.


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