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It is no secret that I love, Love, LOVE books! I have always been an avid reader and to me, a home without books is a home without a soul. Just ask my husband. We have “soul” in the living room, in the children's bedrooms, in the hallway and even in the bathroom. (Don't judge me! There was some fabulous wallspace in there that wasn't being used! And there's no shower so the books won't get moldy.) I justify my collection by telling
myself my husband that it's important to have books at home because we live so far from a library. But collecting books can get expensive. Here are a few ways I have built up my wonderful library over the years without going broke.
Paperback Swap is a book-swapping club that I have been a member of for so long I can't remember how long! (Maybe 7 or 8 years?) All you do is take the books that you are willing to part with and enter them into the system. Once you've entered 10 books, you get a free credit to get started. Each book is worth 1 credit. Then you wait. Your book goes into a database and when somebody is searching for your book, they will request it from you. You pay to mail your book to them, but you receive one credit. Then, you can use that credit to request a book from somebody else. You can make a wish list and you will be notified automatically when books on your wish list become available. I have saved hundreds of dollars over the years by swapping books this way. (They have recently added a tiered membership so the program is no longer free. BUT, the membership cost is minimal and if you opt not to join, the cost is only 50 cents per swap.)
Little Free Libraries
Have you heard of the Little Free Library Movement? I love this! People build adorable, weatherproof boxes and install them in their front yard. People walking by are welcome to take a book home with them! In theory, you're supposed to either return the book or leave a replacement book, but many Little Free Librarians have had books donated and allow you to keep the book for free. It just depends on the person who owns the book box. Either way, it's a super fun way to find some new titles and authors!
Usborne Books and More specializes in educational books (and other educational supplies) that are interactive and fun! (I do have to be choosy because some of their books contain evolution, which does not align with our beliefs). Some Usborne books are internet-linked and some are lift-the-flap. Right now our current favorite are the Shine-the-Light series where you shine a flashlight behind the page to reveal a secret picture. So much fun! I get a good discount and earn free books by being a consultant (and the new consultant kit is a fabulous deal!). If you're not a consultant you can still get a discount and earn free books by hosting a Facebook Party. I set the party up and make the posts, and you just invite your friends to hangout on Facebook at the appointed time and come to the party yourself. I still have a few openings left for this month, so if you'd like more information about earning free Usborne Books this way, you can email me at GoodOldDaysFarm@gmail.com or use this form.
Yes, you can borrow books here, but did you know many libraries also give or sell excess books very inexpensively? Our local library has a shelf where they give books away for free. They only ask that you take less than 5 books and leave books for others. The give-away shelf is very hit-or-miss, but we have found some treasures here!
The library in the next town over has a shelf of books in the library that they sell for 25 cents each. You can't beat that! They also rent out a convention center every year and sell all their surplus for crazy low prices! (Why yes, I was the pregnant lady two years ago pushing my biggest baby carriage through the book sale. When people peeked in to see my sweet baby, all they saw was a load of books!)
Thrift Shops, Used Books Stores, Garage Sales and Craigslist.
Thrift stops can be hit or miss, but almost every thrift store I've ever been to has a book section in the back somewhere. I've found some treasures in thrift stores that I wouldn't have come across any other way. Used books stores are often adorable and full of character. I enjoy sweet shops like that as much for the experience of being in the store breathing their air as for finding neat books. Most garage sales also have a box or shelf of books that somebody is selling for pocket change and I've found some great deals on books on Craigslist. And of course Amazon has a ton of used books! If I'm looking for a specific book or a variety of books on a specific topic, Amazon is often the first place I check.
This is a new resource for me that I haven't used yet, but it could really come in handy (especially for home schoolers who need a lot of literature for school, but don't necessarily want to keep the books). There is a monthly membership fee, and you can check out multiple books at the same time. When you’re done, send them back (you don’t pay for shipping) and get the next ones on your list. There are no late fees and membership starts at $9.99/month for 2 books at a time; plans go up to 12 books at a time. This may or may not be the cheapest way to do it. It depends on what books you need. If you would like to try it out, click this link and use the coupon code SAS to get 60% off your first month.
A Book Club Like No Other!
Over the next six weeks, the other bloggers from the Christian Homemaking Community and I will be hosting a really unusual book club. Every Monday, we'll each be posting our top 3 favorite books in specific categories. One week it might be our Top 3 favorite Self-Help books, another week it might be our top 3 favorite recipe books. Be sure to check back on Monday to see what books some of your favorite Christian bloggers love!
You already preview some of our introductory posts in the linky list below: