I was one of those adolescent girls who always had her nose buried in a book. I’d stay up reading until 2 in the morning, because I couldn’t bear to go to sleep without knowing what happened to “my” protagonist.
Ever since my oldest was born, though, I have to confess that my fiction reading has taken a huge nosedive. Instead, I’ve segued into short stories (anyone else have a hard time committing to a full-length novel?) and a whole lot of non-fiction.
Another thing that has changed is how I acquire my books. It used to be — in my pre-Dave Ramsey days — that I’d hear about a book I wanted to read and would just head over to Barnes & Noble to buy the book. I even thought I was hot stuff using my 10% off membership card. Hahahaha.
Now I know the real deal when it comes to good cheap reads. Here are my three favorite ways to save big while still reading when and what I want.
1. The Public Library — The libraries in America. Oh, the libraries. They are definitely on my Top 3 Favorite Things about America list! Now when I hear about a book that sounds interesting, I just mention it to my husband — the library “manager” of our family. He requests it from inter-library loan and a few days later, I’ve got my book! Totally free, for at least three weeks.
2. Paperback Swap — It took me a while to get on the PBS bandwagon, but now that I’m on it… it’s magic! If you don’t know PBS, it’s like a book swap-meet – but virtual. To get starting swapping, you need to:
- Sign up for a free PBS account
- List all the books you have at home that you want to get rid of. (They don’t have to be paperback. You can list old coffee table books, kids board books, text books… if it’s a book — or a CD or DVD, for that matter — you can list it!)
- Get 2 FREE starter credits when you list at least 10 books for swapping.
- When your book get requested, package it up and mail it off per the directions. When your book is received, you earn another credit.
- Now here’s the best part: You can also search for books you want to read and request them. If they’re in the system, you can get your book in a matter of days. If they’re not, you have to get on the waitlist — but that’s okay. It gives you more time for your credits to pile up!
I have a shelf full of PBS books that I love and use often. I’ve easily saved over $250, just by passing on something I was going to declutter anyway. As for the few titles that didn’t turn out quite as riveting as I’d expected? I just relisted them on PBS!
3. Amazon — Most of the time, I read my books for FREE from the public library. Sometimes, the book is so impressive, that I want to own it. So, I put it on my PBS list and wait patiently. But sometimes, I need to own the book RIGHT NOW and CAN NOT WAIT. Thanks to Swagbucks and my $5 Amazon gift cards, I don’t have to — I can just order the book. Most of the time for free after giftcards! It doesn’t matter how obscure the title is, odds are I’ll find it at the Amazon Book Store.
Are you a reader? How do you save money on the printed word? (And yes, I know that the future of literacy is all Kindle and iPad. But I’m too old fashioned to give up reading an actual book. What about you?)