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Buy, Swap or Borrow: Money-Saving Tips for Book Lovers

Buy, Swap or Borrow: Money-Saving Tips for Book Lovers
Christina Hammarberg

Confession: I love books. The paper kind, with covers and spines you can touch and pages that you can turn. Yes, e-books may be the cheaper, paper-free wave of the future, (or the present, for that matter) but it will be quite some time before I'll hang up my paper habit. So, what's a book-lover to do?

BuyRainbow of Books is a powerhouse when it comes to buying books for cheap. It often has the lowest prices on the web for new and used books. Spend $35 or more and your order will ship for free, or, if you're an Amazon Prime member, free two-day shipping is almost always guaranteed. Barnes and Noble has a great selection of bargain books – some up to 90% off the list price. Plus, members receive 40% off hardcover best sellers and 10 percent off almost every book purchase. Members also receive special perks, like exclusive coupons and free express shipping from Of course, these two aren't the only sites in town. There are literally hundreds of discount book sites across the globe! Books a Million (or BAM!), and are just a few.

Offline, you can shop the bargain bins at your local bookstore, or if you've got a few hours to spare, head over to a used bookstore and take some time to sift through the selection. The same goes for thrift shops. With a little persistence and patience, you may be pleasantly surprised at the low-priced treasures you encounter! You might also consider splitting the cost of a book with a friend. It may seem like kid's stuff, but it really makes sense if you know both of you are going to read it.


Once you're done with a book and willing to part with it, you could sell it, donate it, or swap it for another book that you'd like to read. Swapping books has become a fairly popular concept, and there are quite a few swap services and communities, like Paperback Swap or Bookmooch, that are dedicated to helping people get new-to-them stuff for next to nothing. How it works is simple: you make a list the books of the books you're willing to swap, and if someone requests one, you mail it to them. Most swapping sites are completely free to join and many use a point system, which requires members to earn points (usually by swapping books). Those points can then be used toward future book requests. Book Crossing is another free site, offering up a truly unique way to swap – by just leaving the book out in the world for someone else to find. Members can print a label that will give their book a tracking code, so whomever finds the book can plug in the code onto the Book Crossing site and find out where it's been. What a fun way to swap!

Borrowbook lovers rental

Nothing's cheaper than free. Your local library is the obvious choice for unlimited access to free – tangible – reading material and much more. Of course, you won't be able to keep them forever, but at least you can visit with the characters for a little while. You can also borrow books from services such as Books Free, which is basically like a NetFlix for books. Ok, so it's not totally free; there is a membership fee, but you won't pay for every title you take out. has a similar rental service for textbooks and other books and materials classified as educational materials. There is a small fee, but you can save up to 80% off the list price and return shipping is free once your rental period is over.

Don't worry, book lovers. We may be entering the age of the e-book, but there are still plenty of ways to get your paper fix for less!


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