Currently, I have 3250+ books on my Kindle, another 400+ ebooks on my computer, and somewhere around 350 books on my shelves and stored in big Rubbermaid boxes in my closet. And that's of course, not counting the kids book horde.
But when the average book is sold for around $12, with specialty books costing as much as $25 or more, how do you possibly end up with a collection as large as mine, without spending an arm & a leg? Well, I have to kinda preface this with - "Hello, my name is Sabrina, and I am a Book-A-Holic." If I have the choice between books and just about anything else, I am going to buy a book! In fact, since I've started trying to build my etsy shoppe, I have had to really resist the urge to get books so that I could get other things.
How do I do it? It's a multi-pronged approach. I'm going to do my best to list them all here:
Libraries - Most people think of Libraries as places to borrow books. But what most people don't know is that when they get book donations that they don't need, or when they take books out of circulation, they will often sell them for next to nothing. Our local library has a room WAY in the back, hidden behind the bathrooms, where they sell books. Depending on the "sales" they are featuring books can be as "expensive" as 3 hardbound books for $5, but they are usually cheaper than that. Once a year they do a "fill a bag" sale where you fill a shopping bag with whatever you want and pay just $5 for the whole thing. Check with local libraries to you and find out if and when they do similar book sales. If they aren't doing them yet, speak with the director about starting book drives & sales to help raise money for the library (or other charities in the area).
And of course you still have the option to borrow as many books as you wish! So don't skip that option!
Second-Hand Stores - Once most people read books (not me) they pass them on or get rid of them. So second hand places always have them in abundance. For the most part, the second hand places around here sell their books for between a quarter and $1 each. *I just bought 2 hard bound, social-economic, NYT best selling books for a total of $0.50 at our local second hand place, and they are BOTH in perfect condition!
Outlet Stores - When normal stores get to much stock, they sell it off to outlet stores like Ollie's, Gabe's and BigLots. And to be honest, these stores do not tend to get a lot of the books I prefer to buy, but they do, from time to time, find good books and really good deals. IF you read fiction or best sellers, you may find more at these stores than I do.
Yard Sales & Flea Markets - I don't spend a whole lot of time searching through yard sales and flea markets, but I do from time to time find good things, so it's worth a mention. If you love these things already, you already know you can find great stuff at them, but they take a lot of time! Just remember that you can ALWAYS offer less than they as asking when it comes to these types of sales - so try and talk the prices down.
Book Swaps - Places or Online Groups where you and other people will do exactly what the name sounds like - swap books that you've read, for books you haven't. My suggestion is that you look for swaps that are in line with what you like to read. If you don't read fiction (like me) don't waste your time at Fiction Book Swaps, instead, look for something that speaks to you. I have found a few Pagan/Witchy, Natural Medicine & True Crime book swaps online AND locally, you just have to be willing to look for what you want. OR, if you have a local group that may be interested, talk to them about starting one.
Online Sales - Ebay has lots of books, but they are rarely cheap. So I tend to skip that. Instead, post in book lovers groups or on FB pages where there are people of like minds listing the books or types of books you are looking for. Often you can find people who will give you the books if you will pay shipping.
Amazon - Books are listed on Amazon for as little as 1 cent, plus shipping when you buy from non-Amazon sellers. What makes this an even better deal is that you can pay for these books with gift cards. Of course, the question then is, where do you get the gift cards? I earn an average of $10 in Amazon Cards each month using SwagBucks.
Amazon also lists THOUSANDS of their Kindle Books for Free each day. You do NOT need a Kindle in order to access these books! Amazon offers many Free Kindle Reading Apps that you can use on your PC, Smart Phone or Tablet. If you do not have the option of downloading the apps, you can still access your books using any computer, phone or tablet that has access to the internet with their Cloud Reader option. I do my best to list many of the Free Kindle Books I find on my Facebook Page, but I can not list them all! So it's a good idea to surf around for yourself.
- Swagbucks is a program that allows you to earn "bucks" for searching the internet, shopping online, answering polls, watching videos and more. 450SB = $5 Amazon Gift Card. It's completely free to join, and free to use - Sign Up Here!
Listia - A "Free Sale" site, Listia allows you to earn credits by giving away things you no longer want or need. You can then use those credits to bid on items (including books) which others are giving away. In MOST (not all) cases, people will offer free shipping. THIS is where I get the majority of my Pagan/Witchy books and most of my ebooks as well.
E-Book Swaps - As the amount of people reading on Kindle, Nook and other Reading Apps rises, there is a matching rise in the number of sites where you can buy, sell, swap or borrow these ebooks. I can NOT speak for all for them. BUT, I have used eBook Fling a few times and have had positive experiences each time.
eBook Fling allows you to lend your Kindle or Nook (I believe) books to others and earn credits for doing so. You may then used these credits to borrow books from others. BUT, books are only borrowed for up to 14 days, if you don't finish it in that time, you will need to re-borrow and spend more credits, so you need to make sure you read them quickly.
So there you have it. There are tons of options for finding free or nearly free books, both on and off line. It IS a little work, and it DOES take time, don't think you're going to get 1000 free books this month, it won't happen. But you (or I anyways) can't read them that fast anyways. I hope this helps some of you to build your library!