7 Ways to Shop SMART...in the book world.

If you're like me, you spend hours browsing Amazon, The Book Depository, and other online book stores. I've spent over $600 on books this year alone! It's all about great bargains! I can never resist a good deal on books :) So from my years of book buying experience, here are a few tips for smarter and cheaper book buying!
Image Credit: Auroille

1. VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY! I can't stress this enough! I understand that many readers (like me) want to own the books they read. But if you're looking for a book that's been released a few years ago, why buy it? Besides, I always discover great new books by just browsing through the YA section at the library!

2. USE COUPONS! It pains me to walk through Borders and find that nobody uses coupons! A couple dollars won't make a difference if you buy 5 books a year. But when it's around 5 books a week, you had better shop smarter! As much as I love both Borders and B&N, it's cheaper to buy books at Borders because they ALWAYS have coupons you can print out online. Discounts can range from at least 30% off to even 40% off! Coupons aren't just for the old paperbacks nobody wants, you can use coupons on just about anything; even books that have just been released! All you have to do is Google "Borders printable coupon" and a large list will pop right up! Print a couple out, present them to the cashier, and you're good to go!

3. BUY ONLINE! Walking through a bookstore is my equivalent of a weekend in Hawaii (sort of). But not all of us have time to peruse through the stores looking for a copy without bent covers or pages. If you can settle without instant gratification, then online book shopping is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Websites like Amazon and The Book Depository are always whipping out great deals! You just have to keep your eye out!

4. MAKE SURE IT'S NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN! For my English Lit class, we happen to read many classics, plays, sonnets, etc. I see a lot of the students going out to buy new copies of Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet! Public domain means that nobody owns the rights to the books because they've expired. So the next time you want to buy a digital copy of Shakespeare's work on your iPhone, look it up on Google books instead, because it's FREE!

5. PRE-ORDER IT! I'm sure every diligent reader has a list of upcoming releases (but that just might be me 'cause I'm crazy). If you're waiting for the newest Meg Cabot or Cassandra Clare book, never hesitate to pre-order it online! Most people think that pre-ordering just means you're securing yourself a copy (which is still true) but usually, you can get around 40% off just for buying it early! The B&N online store often has great deals for pre-ordered books, so check their website often!

6. COMPARE PRICES! Looking for great prices is a lot of work, but with the internet, a few clicks can make a huge difference. All online book stores sell the exact same book, but for a different price! Sometimes the difference is a few cents, and other times it can be a few dollars. There is no single website that offers the best deals, you just have to know when to switch back and forth between websites to find the better price. So before adding that book to your cart the next time you're on Amazon, check the Book Depository first, and vice versa!

7. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE SHIPPING! Almost every website has this feature. Sometimes you can find a great deal, but the shipping can cost more than the book! If that's the case, DON'T BUY IT! In the end, you'll be paying more for shipping than the actual book. For example, buying Amazon-sold books vs. independent sellers qualifies you for free shipping after $25. Although the independent seller may sell the book for $10 whereas it's $12 from Amazon, the $3.99 shipping charged by the independent seller will add up and nearly double your bill! Always take advantage of the free shipping feature, even if it means adding another book to your cart.

If you follow these 7 tips, you can read books without feeling guilty for spending so much on that new hardback! If a book is not available at your public library, you still shouldn't have to pay full price for it! Take advantage of coupons and online discounts :) Have fun shopping!

Happy Reading!
-Carina L. Tai


  1. Lots of great tips! A little add on to the coupon one: If you forget to print out your coupons before making it to Borders, they're usually more than happy to scan the code right on your smartphone screen.

    Kaity - Bitten Books

  2. Super great tips! I do have an Amazon used book addiction-I justify it by donating the books I buy to local libraries. hee hee

  3. Very good tips. The library is my friend and so is the book sales they have. I would also suggest paperbackswap.com and the like. You can get rid of old books you no longer want and trade them for books you do. Comparing price online is very important. Most buying I do is amazon for books though the book depository is now making head way.

  4. Of course after I commented, I can see it!

  5. Great tips! Being a huge book buyer I have learned that these tips really are HUGE money savers. It's good to see that fellow book readers are helping each other out because boy do we all need it!

  6. Good list! I need to visit my library more too... I need to get it into my head that I don't have to own every single book. If I really loved a book I borrowed from the library I could always buy it after.

    Also, this is just a pet peeve of mine, and I don't meant to offend you, but the credit for one of the photos you used is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/auroille/3779301648/

    It's never a good idea to use photos without credit really.