Save Cash: On Books

This one’s for all the bookworms out there

bookworm_red-4b240c012d844e9f418075f2cb1af7e7I am a pathological book collector. I like to own books for several reasons. So I can freely write in the margins and underline passages. So I can read as slowly as I see fit. So I can pass the book off to a friend when I’m finished. So I can curl the pages back on a paperback with no worry of ruining it. So many reasons! But, owning books usually costs money, and sometimes it’s a good amount of money. If you are a bibliophile type, like myself, one VERY easy way to save money is by not buying books. The horror! Could you go an entire year without purchasing one book? I tried, and nearly succeeded.

Over the past 12 months I have spent a total of $44 on 6 books, but I have collected quite the mountain of books that I am looking forward to reading my way through. Here’s how I did it.

Cape Cod Swap Shops

I’m not sure if they are unique to Cape Cod, but I encourage you to inquire at your local transfer station, or town dump, if they have a section where people can drop off items, like books, they no longer want or need for others to take. It’s a little like a thrift store but it’s completely free! I stopped by the swap shop each time I dropped off my recycling and scored a collection of best-sellers, classics, and new releases. I found too many in fact. I now have a mountain of books to read and share.

Local Libraries

CLAMSappIn a world of instant gratification and convenience, the library has perhaps seen better days. In case you’ve forgotten, a library is a place you can get your hands on a copy of almost any book written, take it home to read, and return it by the due date (usually 1-2 weeks). All this happens for free, folks. A library card is free. Borrowing the books is free. Zero dollars. It just makes cents, ehr I mean sense! Borrowing is even easier with the Cape Libraries Automated Materials Sharing (CLAMS) system online or using the app. You can request a book from any library in the system and pick it up at the one closest to your home or work!

Most libraries also have a “book store” where overstock or donated books can be purchased for a dollar or two. The money supports the library in different ways like funding the purchase of new releases or running programs for teens and children.

While perusing the CLAMS website awhile back I stumbled across a handy calculator tool, HERE. It’s nice, if you can keep track, to input the numbersĀ  of things you borrow from the library and see how much money you are saving. The form is based on estimates and averages from popular sources like, Netflix, and

I kept a running list of everything I checked out of the library over the course of the entire year, including books, cook books, DVD’s, and e-books, and my savings grand total was $455!

Little Free Library

lJust five years ago, a man erected a model one room school house full of books in tribute to his mother, a former teacher and lover of books. Since then Little Free Library has spread worldwide. There are thousands of Little Free Libraries around the world, and one was recently placed right across the street from my office. Anyone is free to take a book, leave a book, or both. Keep a look out for one near you, or search the map provided on their website.


Maximize your Amazon Kindle

Kindle-fire-logoWhen it comes to new or recent releases, e-books are generally cheaper than hard copies. If you just HAVE to own that new book and borrowing from the library is out of the question, consider purchasing an electronic version.There are several ways to get discounted or free e-books.

*The following tips all apply to using a Kindle Fire HD, which I own, so I know they work. Though, the Kindle Reading App is available for most smartphones, tablets and computers, and these same tips might apply. I cannot speak to whether or not these tricks will work for other types of e-readers, like the Nook.

1. Amazon Prime members can borrow one book a month from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. Amazon Prime is an annual paid membership that comes with free 2 day shipping on many items purchased on the website, access to thousands of streaming videos, and a few other perks. The membership costs $99 a year, or $49 a year for students. If you use this link, you can try Amazon Prime FREE for 30 days.

2. Borrow an e-book from a friend with a Kindle for up to 2 weeks. Instructions on how-to HERE.

3. Use OverDrive to borrow e-books using your library card and PIN. Loans typically expire after 2 weeks, but the rules at each library are different.

4. Amazon Prime members can sign up for the Kindle First monthly e-mail newsletter to preview one of four Amazon Publishing editors’ picks every month.

5. Another e-mail newsletter to sign up for is Book Bub. You set your preferred genres and a daily digest of free or steeply logo-7371ab8547ec8da72d51d75c2eb8b7bbdiscounted books will be delivered to your e-mail. This is how I bought Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (print price $16) and John Lennon: The Life by Philip Norman (Kindle e-book price $13.99) for $1.99 each!

6. Kindle Unlimited is a monthly subscription service that allows you to borrow up to 10 e-book and audiobook titles at a time with no due dates. You do not have to be a member of Amazon Prime or own a Kindle (just use a Kindle Reading App) to subscribe to this service. The subscription costs $9.99 a month.

Please share any other tips for saving cash on books in the comments below.

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