Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finding Used Book Sales

If you've ever walked into our house, you know we love books. And not only do we enjoy books, but we hoard them. I admit it. It is an addiction. For every book we get, there is two more that I want. We have bookshelves in every room of the house but the bathrooms. A couple years ago I loss track of how many books we have when the number reached 1000.

With six book lovers (the baby likes to chew books) in the household and plans to homeschool our children, I don't see our book collecting coming to end any time soon.

But amassing our book library has cost us very little. Ed and I enjoy a date night at Borders but we never ever buy books there. We almost never buy a book new, and when we do it is usually given as a gift.

Earlier this week, Money Saving Mom shared Five Ways to Get Books for Free.

Besides the first way (asking for review copies) we have acquired books to read through each of her methods. (The others ways are Paperback Swap, Swagbucks, borrow from library and friends.)

But she didn't mention used book sales. This may not be free, but it is sure cheap. Most of our books have been bought at used book sales. I sometimes pay as much as $3.00 but usually it is a dollar or less. At times I've filled a grocery bag for only a dollar or two. One time I came home with 60 books for the grand total of $8.00. No wonder, bookstore prices have me gaping in disbelief.

Used books can be found many places. Yard sales and the Goodwill usually have a book table. But for a book addict, there is nothing more fun then a huge book sale. At one time, I thought our area only had one a year. But the last few years, I've found numerous book sales in my local area.

Want to find one in your area?

  • First, check the Book Sale Finder. Click on your state for a listing of book sales in your area. This is a great place to start, but usually lists only large sales. I only found two sales listed for our area and I know of quite a few more that were not listed.
  • Next, get out the phone book and call all the libraries within the range you'd would drive for a book sale. Many libraries have a book sale once or twice a year.
  • Next, start talking. Let others know that you are interested in book sales. Go to one of the larger sales in your area and if you find a friendly person, ask if they know of any others sales in the area. Most book lovers are friendly folks!
  • Watch the events section of the paper. In our area, the historical society, a local church, a private library and a Christian school all hold excellent book sales for fund raisers.
  • If you are a homeschooler, many curriculum fairs have a vendor that sales used books. Sometimes homeschool support groups also hold used book sales.
Just keep your eyes open and you may find more book sales then you have time to attend. Or at least that is what has happened to me.

With a little experience, you'll learn which book sales are the most worth your time. Some are well organized, and some are not. Some attract huge crowds with long lines waiting for the doors to open, while at others you can go the second day and still find a good selection. Sometimes I stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow book lovers, and other sales I can bring the children and a huge stroller and not lose my sanity.

When you do find a great book sale, ask to be placed on their mailing list. Many will mail out cards the next year. If there is no mailing list, jot down the date on next year's calendar to remind you to give them a call when the time nears.

To me a day spent at a good (meaning huge, cheap, well organized) book sale is one of the best days of the year. Better then Christmas or birthdays! Like the Gold Rushers, I just may be obsessed with digging for buried treasures. If I have to count it as one of my bad habits, I'm at least grateful that it is cheap and my husband and children appreciate the nuggets I haul home!

If you live in the local area, I'd be glad to share the dates of some of my favorite sales. Just drop me an email.


  1. I hear you on all your hooked-on-cheap-books points ;o) I loved Paperback Swap but got tired of all the shipping so my accounts on "vacation". Swagbucks is the only way I buy my wishlist books from Amazon. Do you have the store Half Priced books there? I hit one of their sales a couple years ago that they held in a hall nearby "in cog nito" (not sure how to spell that) and walked away with 6 sacks of best sellers for $11!!! I saw the ad for it on Craig's List. If your ever in the Midwest lookin' for a sale or have a wishlist of books I might be able to help you :)

  2. Hi Gina,
    I love books too. My dh and I both are readers. Our library has a used book store inside of it that I love to go to.I get some really good buys there.

  3. We love books, too. Now that my husband's library is at home, too, we are really crowded. I have finally hit the point in life that I'm happy to give books away. Can hardly believe it!!

  4. You're my new best friend----Thanks for the link to *Book Sale Finder*! My sister and I love to travel to book sales. We get to stock up on books and spend time together. Thanks. Happy Reading to you!


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