Saturday, February 2, 2013

Book Shopping Savvy

I like books and I cannot lie.
You other brothers can't deny.
When someone walks in with a volume, set or case.
And it's a best seller down to date.
I get sprung.
(sorry, my attempt at book rapping)

But seriously, I love them.  My collection of books, new and used, is something I'm super proud of.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I judge people by the books in their house.
Especially if there aren't any books to be found.
I love books so much that even if I haven't read a book, if it's received positive reviews or is a classic, I can recognize it from a mile away.
There are worse addictions in the world, ya know like meth.
I just love books.

What's better than loving books is finding a great deal on them.
So how do I shop for books, apart from supporting a local bookstore or Barnes and Noble?

Please tell me that you've seen the Macklemore video on Thrift Shopping.  It is so incredibly worth your time.  Watch it, laugh and be merry.  The scene where he is jumping across the furniture is basically what I'm doing in my mind as I walk into the doors of a Goodwill.  Plus, I love a good used book.

I hit the lottery with our local Goodwill because it seriously has the best literary selection I have ever seen at a (super cheap) used bookstore.  I have a few theories on why this is.  Where I live: a really small town and the nearest Target is about a half hour away.  Now I love Target.  One of the many reasons that I love Target, is because unlike Walmart, they feature actual best-selling books and not really shitty ones.  I'm sorry but the Walmart here sucks and I am consistently disappointed in their book selection and we all know Target is the shiz.  So my theory is that folks pick up books at Target a half hour away or shop online because there isn't much to do here except sky dive. 

Say what? 

I'm being totally serious.  They don't have a Target but they have skydiving. 
In what world does that make sense, who knows? 

When these readers try to clean out their house, they donate their books to Goodwill.  Ka-ching!  Upon discovering their awesome book collection, I quite literally frequent it every week. 

So that is the main way that I thrift for books - to check out my local thrift shop.  You've got to keep an open mind with thrifting because whether it's a picture frame, book or clothing item, you never know what you will find.  I always have my phone on me because that is my secret thrifting weapon.

The Amazon App

Simply type in the name of the book that you are considering purchasing and voila, you get the rating and customer reviews on it.  This is super nice, especially if you recognize a title or an author and don't know if you would really like it.  Goodwill had a baller good deal the other day and I got over 20 books for $7.  I don't know any book lover who would deny that kind of deal.

Tips for thrifting for books:
Know the area you're thrifting in.  Not gonna lie, I like going to the thrift stores in ritzier areas because not only can you pick up really great reads that are probably in stellar condition, but you can pick up some J.Crew for ninety nine cents.  Why yes, I'll take that deal.

Check out garage sales.  I haven't done this in awhile but people love getting rid of their stuff, including books so they can make more space.  You can find classics and even best-sellers that folks never got around to reading.

College bookstores are the bomb dot com.  At Madison, we had a basement dedicated to 50% off title prices and they had everything.  I'm not even remotely exaggerating, it was an awesome place to go.  Rainy weekends, I would spend a solid two hours there, simply browsing.  Now I prefer thrift stores because I could get a book for like 99 cents for $7, but it was still nice to get books 50% off.

I also don't mind buying used books online and if you know me at all, I adore Amazon.  If you like online shopping or are starting to explore it a little more, consider getting an Amazon Prime account.  This isn't a sponsored post, I just seriously love all of the benefits that come with it.  Not only are there Prime account offers for new books, but used books as well.  You get free, 2-day shipping and access to free shows and movies online.  I find a ton of books, both used and new on Amazon and getting mail is like Christmas morning for me. 

The key is to check out a couple different categories.  I look at the prime price for a new book, the used copy price, and what the price is for the Kindle edition.  In this example, you can find a used copy for $1.97 and shipping will probably be around $4, so you're spending $6 instead of $16.50.  That's $10 you can use on more books! ;)

Amazon also has daily kindle deals, which are awesome.  I receive the e-mail for them every day and I can check them out to see if there is anything interesting that catches my eye.  They also have monthly deals where select titles are under $3.99.  Even if you don't own a Kindle, you can download the app and read it off your phone or computer.   

Now my last recommendation is to become a book reviewer at Netgalley.  There you can get free downloads of up and coming books that you may love to have.  You create a profile and shop around to request titles.  The publishers grant you permission and then you have a new read.  It's pretty awesome.

I haven't ever read eBay to buy books and I know some people have actually used Instagram to sell clothes, so you might find some luck there.  What are some tips and tricks that you have for buying books?

Thanks for Reading!


  1. Whoa! Great suggestions! I love hardback books so much but I only ever get them for holidays because they can be so expensive - I never even thought to thrift for my favorite hardbacks!

    1. I am totally the same way! Hardcover copies have some magical property to them that makes them so much more tangible in your hands. I know, that was terrible grammar but whatever because we're talking about my favorite subject :P

      I would definitely check out a few used bookstores and garage sales because people love getting rid of books they haven't read yet and often times, they're best-sellers. Plus, hard cover books are heavier and larger, so people are quick to say goodbye to free up space. Thanks for reading!

  2. I really want to know what Goodwill you go too. Because seriously my goodwill the books are THREE dollars a piece, even children's. The tops aren't bad at 2/4 dollars but ugh. I love garage sailing for books. I usually ended up buying a book full for cheaper and then I can trade them in to used book stores for store credit. It's awesome sauce. Really good tips though.

    1. Haha well I live an hour away from Santa Barbara, near Vandenberg AFB. Admittedly, this Goodwill and the local used book store are some of the best I have ever seen. I really need to check out more garage sales. The trouble with that is you've got to find a parking spot, have cash on you, etc. etc.

      I'm kind of lazy with my thrifting experiences :P

      Thanks for reading though! It definitely inspired me to check out more garage sales and I love the trading in tip :)

  3. Good tips! I can never find stuff at thrift stores but I really need to try again. I usually borrow books from the library, but sometimes it sucks being in between returning a book and waiting for the next book.


    1. AJ, I adore the library! I'm sure I'll be doing a post on it soon enough on how to utilize local resources through public libraries. What I don't like is that you often can't renew popular ones because there is a waiting list. I often go for oldies that get overlooked but are still fantastic reads.
      Thanks for reading! :)