Books Are the Bomb: Where to Get Them
The pursuit of knowledge is happening in bookstores near you everyday. Bookshelves teem with the latest and greatest tomes on current events, super tech trends, and funky travel tales. Fantastical stories summon you into the book-lined halls and keep you there for hours at a time. But these bastions of intellectual thought and information aren’t so friendly to your wallet. In fact, a quick trip to the nearest book shop can set you back more than a few bucks. But there are ways to stock your shelves without paying retail.
Hit Up Your Local Library
Aside from letting you check out hundreds of books for free, the local library is the best deal around for buying books. For a single dollar or just a few more, you can stock up on great stories, fill your own bookshelves, and give your budget a break. The same is true of thrift stores. In fact, I just stumbled in to a thrift store in Jackson Hole where all of the books cost no more than $2 or $3 dollars hard and soft cover. I picked up five of them for around $8. Not a bad deal for a day’s wander through town.
Stroll Through Used Bookstores
Another easy place to stock up is a used bookstore. Finding the best one, however, can be a challenge. Some offer dismal exchange rates or only a small set of books. Meander through a few shops to find the one that works for you. For instance, I went through several different ones in San Francisco’s East Bay looking for the one with the best prices and the largest selection of books. It took a few months for me to unearth Gray Wolf Books, easily one of the best and biggest in the area. Worth the trip no matter what part of the Bay area you live in. If you’re a little farther north, check out Powell’s, a local favorite in Portland with some of the best coffee around.
Check Out the Bargain Tables
Big stores like Borders Books and Barnes & Noble are ideal places for checking out the latest books and seeing which ones you like so you can buy them later (for less). These spots also host some of the best new book bargains, especially those of the glossy coffee table variety. Plus, if you sign up for their memberships, you’ll get some sweet coupons that will help cut down on book costs. Sometimes you can use the coupons on existing sale items and really rack up the savings. Swing through here at least a few times a year to see what’s out there and to jazz up your space with some good-looking books.
Surf the Online Sales
Amazon is the first online spot that comes to mind. This bookstore behemoth stocks everything you need in books. To really get the most out of it, you have to check out the latest bargain books. These gems come at a price reduced by up to 70% in any given week. You can find similar deals at Barnes and Noble’s Sales Annex. For the hardy shopper, one who’s willing to bargain online, eBay is a good place to look. And Craigslist is worth a whizz through on your way to creating a stellar book collection.
Set Up a Super Book Swap
Easy to arrange and simple to execute, this master swap involves you and your buddies hanging out and exchanging books over drinks or dinner. Invite your neighbors, friends, acquaintances. If time is short, you can just swap on the go and keep passing around books as you go. This tactic is especially sweet if you’ve traversed overseas and run out of books in your own language. Hit Craigslist, network with your expat buddies and comb through regular expat hangouts. You’re sure to find your fellow readers, the ones who are dying for a new infusion of literature in their native language. If you widen out your groups enough, you can end up swapping with friends of friends of friends who happen to have a book you’d like to read and vice versa. Book exchanges are also great ways to make new friends.
Find It on the Street
Among my favorite ways to get books is to find one sitting on the street. I’ve found new books, best sellers, and philosophical analyses just sitting on the street corners and curbs in urban areas, usually adorned with a sign that says “free.” Take that sign at its face value and pick a few good books on your way to coffee or to meet friends for dinner. It’s fun, it’s spontaneous, and it’ll make your day. It always makes mine.
Now you’re on your way to creating the book collection of your dreams. Enjoy!