Ask The Readers: How Do You Buy Books?

By Ashley Jacobs on 26 July 2011 (Updated 2 August 2011) 192 comments
Photo: Phil Jern

Congratulations to Brenda, Raina, and DonnaFreedman for winning this week's contest!

Chances are you have heard that Borders is going out of business. With so many people opting to buy books at a discount online or download books onto Kindles, the fate of bookstores (and potentially even buying hard copies of books) looks grim. However, there are people out there who still enjoy going to bookstores to find and purchase their next must read book.

How do you buy books?  Do you buy online or do you prefer to go to the bookstore? Do you buy hard copies of books or just download them onto a Kindle? Or, do you not buy books at all and instead opt to use your local library?

Tell us how you buy books and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, August 1st at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 1st on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Heather

(Forgot my name on previous comment...)

I'm a library user whenever possible/practical. If it's a book I'll need to keep, I check used places first (Craigslist, 2nd hand stores) then amazon.

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Alana

I use them all depending on my needs. If I'm hitting the beach for a vacation, I love to get a new audio book for the ride to the airport and the plane ride, but I absolutely have to visit the book store to pick out the book I'm going to enjoy while I'm laying out. I still love the feel of paperbacks, but the convenience of audiobooks and ipad magazines keeps me up-to-date with the latest. Variety is the spice of life after all.

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Guest

Either through Amazon.com (I usually opt for the used option, if available) or from a book vendor on the street.

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Guest

http://twitter.com/#!/syjabudu/status/95951288935788546

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Tonya Rader

I typically buy books that I'm interested in from Amazon.com but if it's a gift or I need it asap, I buy it from Barnes & Nobles.

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Tonya Rader

I like you on Facebook.

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Diane

I try the library first. If they don't have the book I want and they can't get it, I buy on Amazon. Sometimes I buy books I've borrowed from the library because I want to keep them. For paperback novels to take on trips I go to Sam's Wholesale where I can find something for $5.

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Selene Montgomery

I get my books from the library.

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Diane

I *like* Wisebread on Facebook!

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Selene Montgomery

I Like Wise Bread on Facebook as Selene Montgomery

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JBearn

Until last month, I bought regular paper books. But now I have a Kindle.

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Jennifer Brower

I to try buy used as often as possible. I usually try Betterworldbooks.com first because of their donations to literacy projects. They are easy to browse, free shipping and their 4 for $12 sales are great. Plus you can donate your books back that aren't keepers.

If they don't have it, it's off to Amazon especially if it's a new book I can't wait to read or a book Betterworldbooks.com doesn't carry.

I prefer books...the weight, smell, turning pages. As a kid, I was the dork walking 2 miles home from the library carrying almost her own weight in books. It's a life long love affair.

When I lived near a Borders I would love to browse and have a coffee. Now they are going out of business. I live 12 miles from the Mexican border, it's a very small town. We do have a small library.

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S

I check out books from the library and also buy the older books they are selling for a dollar. I donate books to them too to do my part in keeping the library strong. I get classics from my kindle where it's free. And then after that I get books from Borders and Barnes and Noble to keep people employed (didn't work for Borders).

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Lori

For normal reading, we use the library and buy books at the thrift store. The thrift store is great for kids' books (including cartoon books), thrillers, mysteries, etc. Garage sales often have books read only once for 10 cents.

If we need something specific, we first check Amazon marketplace (used books) - many times we've found the book we need for just a few dollars.

A few times I've bought field guides on Ebay for very low prices - much better than I could find on Amazon marketplace.

If we buy new, it's almost always from Amazon. If we had a really good coupon (40 or 50%-off) we might buy at a local bookstore chain.

We used to be big customers of the local bookstores but their prices crept up and up and now they're almost all gone. As we've grown more price conscious, we've gone where our money buys the most.

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Christie

I'm a big used book fan...and I have an Amazon.com credit card. Bonus points buy books, baby!! I do really love our local bookstore though and shop there as often as I can and not break the budget, but it is not as often as I would wish.

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MidSouthMouth

I get books in many ways: university and public libraries, paperbackswap.com, bookmooch.com, librarything.com giveaways, public domain sites, giveaways from blogs, amazon.com, some from independent publishers like aqueductpress.com, & science fiction conventions!

PS I liked you on FB before it was cool :)

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Joel Whitaker

I do both....I really prefer printed books, but sometimes read on my iPad is better.

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Emily

If there's a specific title I want, I look for it via the public library first.

Then I look on Amazon.com for used copies and, if that fails, new copies.

I generally stay away from ebooks, preferring hard copies.

If I'm not searching for anything in particular, then library used book sales, thrift stores, used book stores, etc. are great :-)

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Jaime

I pick up a book at the library and if I love it I buy it on Amazon. I also go to my local indie used book store when I do not have a book set in my mind.

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Cal H

I try to avoid buying books whenever possible. I have access to a huge university library, which makes that very easy. I do, however, like browsing through thrift store book collections. You never know what you'll find! I recently found a like-new copy of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom (which I've been dying to read) for $1 at a local thrift store. The jacket says $28. Score!

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Ian

Between the library and free eBook offers, I hardly ever buy books. When I do, I usually turn to amazon.

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Dan

I have largely stopped buying books as I simply began to run out of room to keep them. I have found that it most cases my local library has been able to provide the books that I want to read. While I have begun to download free books from Amazon, I still prefer to feel of a actual book.

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Michael

I typically go to Amazon to learn about the book and read reviews. Then I will look for a good used copy online (Amazon, eBay, book exchange) or at the library. If those fail, I will buy it new at Amazon. Occasionally, I will go to B&N to look at the book before I order it online if it is cheaper than B&N (considering taxes and shipping costs.).

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Megan

I second that: library for the first-time read, and half.com to buy the few I deem worthy of living on my shelves.

Occasionally I go by Half-Priced Books with friends, and I usually bee-line for the old, hard-cover classics, and I keep a running list of what I'm keeping an eye out for.

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Tara

Download Amazon books to my Kindle...books can be expensive outside the US and I travel a lot, so it makes the most sense...

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Guest

I will usually shop the independent bookstores first such as Powells.com (luv this site). If i cannot find it there I will wait for it to go on sale online. I don't own a Kindle, and I don't believe that I plan on it in the near future...

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I prefer to go to the bookstore

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I like you on facebook!

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Baby's Moon

It depends... if its a cooking or "reference" type book - I usually go to the bookstore to put my hands on it and look thru it first. If its an older book (cookbook or reference) or a new one not yet released that I am already SURE I want, I will buy it online, used in good condition is fine by me, or pre-order to get the discount. If its a reading/novel/story type book, I will usually get it at the library. If they dont have it then I request it thru the "inter-library loan" program from another instate library. If they cant find it thru the inter-library loan, they usually will purchase it. This works for me because I'm one of those people that will read a "story" type book only once.
I have played around with Kindles & Ipads and they are a neat toy. I can see they would be useful as I have a TON of cookbooks and magazines that my hubby complains about, if I could keep them all in a Kindle etc he wouldnt notice how many! LOL! But I'm still one of those "old school" people that likes holding a real book and turning the pages....

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Jamie Pettit

I buy books at Half-Price Books here in Texas, or at Amazon.com. Most of the time I just borrow books from my local library.

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Emmy T

I buy from Amazon.com, and swap via paperbackswap.com, but I my defense, I also buy from Barnes and Noble's brick store, and The Book Table, a small independent store in Oak Park, IL. Sorry Borders, you were never really competitive.

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Sue Anderson

I buy most of my books at thrift stores or garage sales. Occasionally I will buy a book at a bricks and mortar store or on Amazon, but these are usually presents. I also read books from the library.

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Darald Fischer

I almost always go to Amazon first for my books. First I'll look for a Kindle version. If a Kindle version isn't available, I check for a print version. I just did that last Friday night. My newest book should arrive tomorrow.

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Kandace

I recently switched to Nook books. Our family is growing and we're running out of space for paper books. It's been a good experience so far.

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Kandace

like on facebook

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Kandace

tweeted
http://twitter.com/#!/Mama2Goosie/status/96066976497139712

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Nancy B from Many LA

I buy KIndle books, and regular books at amazon.com

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Nancy B from Many LA

I already liked you on fb

Guest's picture

When I buy books, I buy them from local used bookstores. If its a new book then I still go to local stores or amazon.com. I used to go to Borders for my new books as well but I guess that won't be happening anymore.

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Ernest S.

I never thought that e-reading would get me to buy books again (I've been a heavy user of our local library), but it has. I started with a Kindle and found it amazingly convenient for business travel. I seem to read books faster when they are electronic, and overall, seem to enjoy the experience more than physical books.

I'm now reading on an iPad and love it. I hate to sound like a snob, but I am now a true believer of ebooks!

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Ernest S.

"Liked" on Facebook!

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Brenda

Before my Kindle, I would go to the bookstore with a notebook, browse until I found a book that looked interesting and write down the title and author. Then I would go home and look online to see if my library had a copy. I would also buy books at yard sales.

Now I have a kindle, and I get a lot of the books for free or for less than $4.00. I also have family members who give me give cards, and I use these to purchase books for my kindle. Since getting my kindle, I'm actually reading many more books than I used to, in a wider variety of genres and styles, too.

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Kathryn

I buy books that are inspirational only. Nothing dark or negative for me. AND I buy audiobooks. I don't have time to sit and JUST read.

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Kathryn
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Kathryn

Tweeted ! http://twitter.com/#!/KGLaBruyere/status/96215793867554816

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Kerry

I always check half.com first.

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Guest in CA

I use our local library a lot. But now that I have an e-reader I do most book shopping at Amazon. I need to start going to the library's monthly book sales more often (although a lot of their collection are my DTBs I've donated).

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Rebecca R.

I try to buy almost all of my books used, either at thrift stores, garage sales or on the internet. I use addall.com to compare prices of books on different websites. Once the Kindle comes down in price, I may look at getting one of them.

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holly

I try to get my books from the library as much as possible. However, occasionally I will need to buy one (for bookclub purposes usually) and then I always check out our local Half Price Bookstore first, unless it's a recent bestseller, then it's usually cheaper for me to get it from Target who will have it at 40% off the list price.

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Guest

Love the books, but only with a great deal.

Deal-O-Rama

Guest's picture

Used to own a tremendous number of books. Now I'm trying to de-clutter my apartment, so I am making my way through books I already own. I also go to the library.
No new purchases for the time being, unless it's an amazing title or an irresistible deal (e.g., 25 cents at a yard sale). In addition to yard sales I like Half-Price Books and used bookstores, and the "greatly reduced" table at new bookstores.
I also have a daughter who buys me wonderful fiction for Christmas. :-)

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Paula Baines

Once in awhile I buy books. I like to browse book stores and library book sales.
I do have many books at home. I try not to buy at full price. I usually use my Borders Plus card and coupons or any gift cards that I may have received

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Kara

It really depends on the book and how soon I want to own it. Most books I read come from the library. After that, I compare prices on amazon.com's used book area. Sometimes I find books on ebay. I also used paperbackswap.com. I always look through thrift stores/salvation army, etc. I do own a nook, but I use that mostly for taking online books out of the library.

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Betty

I'm a frequent flyer at my local library! For my daughter's text books, I usually buy or rent used online. This past Christmas, I had to give my relatives a heads-up that I DON'T want an eReader. I knew they would all think it was the perfect gift for me. I like the physical book!

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Betty

Responded on Twitter. http://twitter.com/#!/1bets1/status/96271665343897600

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Debbie R

I'll buy books any way I can. Amazon, local stores, big box stores, Borders (you shall be missed!), Goodwill, tag sale, library sale, and everything in between. I also visit the library on a weekly basis and have a reasonable back log of books I own but haven't managed to read yet. Can you tell I really, really like books?

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Betty

Liked your article on Facebook.

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Carmen

I hate buying books at full price. I do a lot of exchanges either through PaperbackSwap, the local paperback exchange store, or rummage sales.

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Rose Mary Lemming

I always buy books at a thrift store.

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Jordyn

I spend a lot of time at used bookstores in my area but lately my weakness has been Amazon, can't beat the used book prices if you can get the free shipping option... I need to stop, I don't think there are enough hours in the day for all the books I've accumulated and yet I want more.

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Lisa

Mostly online at Amazon. Otherwise Half Priced books. I don't like B/N and our Borders stores are gone. I like the convenience of Amazon.

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Mary Hunt

I usually buy books used from Amazon.

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Susan

I buy books most of the time from half.com, ebay.com or Amazon.com. Once in a while I might purchase a really good book from a used book sale somewhere. Otherwise I just borrow books from the library.

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Gold Bug

The best deal I've found was Borders. If you became a member of their club, you paid $20 a year for shipping, which included used books. I must have 30 books from them and most cost me about $3.00 a piece, free shipping. It was stupid cheap. It's little wonder why they're going out of business...

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L Cabael

Liked on Facebook!
I love going to bookstores! Honestly after Borders closes I am not sure where I will be going as I am not a big fan of B&N.

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edjusted

Usually library first. Then Amazon if the library doesn't have them. But I try to buy them lightly used.

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Lynda

my first resort is the library. if i must buy, i use amazon or half dot com.

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Lynda

tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/96462912708804608

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Lynda

i like wisebread on facebook

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kristina wittchen

I buy a lot of books from used booksellers.

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Raina

The only books I buy these days are for college, and I buy those from Amazon.

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Justine

Normally I buy used books from Amazon. I try to buy from shops that are run by charities, such as Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity.

I'd love to have a Kindle to free up physical storage space in my home, but would be terrified of breaking it and losing all my beloved books!

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KelR1

I still buy good old-fashioned physical books. I prefer them to e-readers. I shop for books online (Amazon, borders.com, etc.) as well as in brick and mortar stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble. It depends on the selection and the deal whether I buy online or in the store. Whichever has the book I want for the best price is where I buy.

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Alex

I alternate between buying Kindle books, buying real books online, and going to local, independent book stores. I also will pick up used books from time to time at yard sales and thrift stores.

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Pamela

I buy all my books used. I live in a college town with one of the biggest book sales in the country. People camp out in front to be among the first to enter on the first day.

If I want to read something newer, I use the library.

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Kathy

I prefer to buy my books at the bookstore. I will order online, but only if I can't find what I'm looking for. I do not buy ebooks - I can't smell them or carry them to the soccer game or lay in a bubble bath with an electronic device. I guess I'm old fashioned that way.

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Adryrn

I don't like to buy books that I haven't already read and know that I like/will want to re-read, so I always try to get them from the library first. Then if I like them enough I look for them used at used bookstores, the library store, and over the internet. I also read a lot of manga, and for some of those series I read fan translations online before the series is available in my country for purchase. To make up for this since the creators don't make any money off it, if I really like a series I will try to buy it new as it comes out in English.

Guest's picture

I purchase all of my books on my Amazon Kindle, however I still love the bookstore. Sad to see Borders go, hopefully B&N can effectively adapt to the changing book marketplace. I like the bookstore because it sparks creativity, I can make purchases of books that don't work well on the Kindle (this hasn't happened yet, but I suspect that it will with reference books) and it is a great place to read. I've always wanted to see Private Libraries, sort of like a FedEx to the government's USPS. Better quality, better customer services, etc.

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Cate Sparks

I shop second hand.. but I'm unemployed and refuse to pay full retail price for books.

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Charlotte Harrison-Baker

I buy books! I buy books at bookstores -- which I LOVE -- but most frequently online for the convenience and pricing. I buy hard copies, both hardback and paperback. These are books I want not only to read but to add to my personal library and may read or refer to again. I use my public library for materials I believe will be one-time reads (purely for pleasure or to satisfy a quick curiosity) or are more expensive than I can afford even if I plan to re-sell.

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Alicia C.

I buy "real" books, used online. I hate reading digital books! And buying used is better for the environment and my wallet.

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Carol

amazon.com Kindle or used copies of print books

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Carrie

I like buying books and I like to get them as cheaply as possible. I use Paperback Swap and I also go to library book sales and used bookstores. I buy books on Amazon a lot, both new and used. Amazon's prices can't be beat. But then I feel guilty about not patronizing my local independent bookstore, so I try to buy at least a few books a year from them. I live in a very small town in a rural area so my library system doesn't have a lot to choose from.

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Michelle Littleton

I am an avid reader and have several sources for my books.

1. I go to a thrift store in my area, The Foundry (it is a charity store, and !00% goes to the agency). find a good selection. I pay no more than $3, and that would be a newer book that had a higher original price.

2. Yard Sales and the local library book sales. Never pay more than a $1, and I am supporting local people and programs.

3. I use online sources, such as Project Gutenberg, to read classics.

4. For text books, or books for my job (I am a mental health counselor), I use Amazon and search used selections, and very rarely I will use ebay.

5. And, finally, I also swap using PaperBackSwap online.

I keep a small home library of my favorites, and will buy a new book every now and then, but it's usually through a discounted source.

Michelle Littleton

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Missy W

Like many of the comments already posted, I use my local library and paperbackswap.com for fiction. I use half.com to buy and sell textbooks. Every once in a while I'll splurge on a new paperback at a local bookstore.

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Annie Nation

Usually, I check out books from the library. If there is one that I really want to buy, I usually buy it from Amazon. I have gotten some great deals on used books!!

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Jessica G.

I actually rarely buy books; that's why I try to do surveys and enter giveaways to get gift cards. I do read constantly though, and I make good use of the public library!

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Jessica G.

I just liked Wise Bread on Facebook too!

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Koren

I prefer locally owned shops that cater to genre. I have found Amazon and Half.com to be very useful whan I am looking for oldar out of print books.

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Koren

Liked this

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speculative

While I prefer buying from 'half price' bookstores peddling used or mass-purchased lesser known titles, I end up at large bookstore chains. I haven't been able to buy online at Amazon, Half.com, etc. There is something about the experience that pulls me away from making it a regular choice.

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Kelly

I buy books on amazon.com.