5 Places To Find Cheap Books

Each day of this Ultimate Blog Challenge, participants receive an email with a prompt to use if we need inspiration. So far I’ve had posts scheduled in advance, or my ideas have popped up naturally, and I haven’t used the prompts.

Today’s post was already planned, and it just so happens to fit today’s prompt: Write a blog post that addresses questions that come up repeatedly.

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I’ve re-purposed one of my favorite previous posts, and it answers a question I am frequently asked: Where do you buy your books?

Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you I am the Queen of Thrifting. Clothes, small kitchen appliances, dog sweaters, you name it and I’ve probably found it for less than ten bucks!

where to find cheap books
My beloved reading chair: Goodwill $6


My book finding skills are particularly uncanny. For example, I had The Untethered Soul on my TBR List for about a year. A friend told me she was reading it, and that same week my trainer showed me her copy. I said I’d keep my eye out for a copy for myself, and the very next day, I found a lovely edition at a thrift store for 40 cents!

how to find cheap used books


Rarely do I ever pay more than $3 for a book. As much as I adore books, I find their retail prices horrifying.

Sure, I spend a lot of time thrifting in exchange for all the sweet deals I stumble upon, and it’s totally worth it to me. If you know where to go, and what to look for, you can save time by benefiting from my experience, and in some cases, you don’t even need to leave your house!

*Disclaimer: In this post, I am specifically referring to physical books. I enjoy my Kindle, and have resources for deals on e-books as well but for the most part, I prefer a book in my hand!


places to find cheap used books

1. Thrift Stores

You can’t go into a thrift store expecting to find exactly what you’re looking for.However, if you peruse them often enough, you will find great books for dirt cheap. Most books at my local Goodwill are $2-$3, so I typically only buy rare finds or editions in exceptionally good condition there. Salvation Army sells paperbacks for 99 cents and hardcovers for $2.99, then on Wednesdays everything is 50% off so that’s the day I go looking for books! There’s another thrift store in town that does 50% off everything on Fridays, making paperbacks 25 cents and hardbacks 50 cents those days.

how to find cheap used books
All of these for $2 at Salvation Army!


2. Yard Sales

Similar to thrift stores, you never know what you’re going to find at a yard sale, and prices are usually even cheaper. Plus, you get the added bonus of learning a little bit about the seller by the kind of books they own (and are willing to part with!)

3. Used Book Stores/Sales

Used book store is an obvious place, but make sure you’re maxing out the potential. The one I go to takes books and gives store credit. I can use my credit toward half of a book’s price, which are significantly less retail. So I’m usually paying around $3-4 for book, but sometimes less than a dollar.

cheap used books bookstore thrifting
I got this old book for 62 cents!

Also in this category is your public library’s used book sale. Most libraries hold them at least once a year. I always go on the first day, when books are $2 each, to pick up any particularly great finds. Then my husband and I go back on Bag Day and load up on anything that looks even remotely interesting!


places to find cheap used books
A bag day haul for $3


4. thriftbooks.com

This site was recommended to me several times by friends. Again, make sure you’re maximizing discounts. For my first order, I Googled coupon codes and ended up with three books shipped to me for $10 total. I turn to this site when I’m looking for specific books I can’t find used anywhere else. It’s great for out of print or rare editions.

places to find cheap used books


5. paperbackswap.com

This site was recommended to me over a decade ago and I used it for a long time. The concept is simple: If you have books lying around that you’re willing to part with, create an account and then list your books. When someone requests one of your books, you print out a label and mail it. Once your book is received, you get a credit in your account. You then use that credit to request a book and it will be sent to you. I’ve stopped using it because I generally don’t pile up unread books anymore, and it got to be a bit more effort than I have time for.


Did I miss any resources you like to use?

Where do you usually get your books?

Do you prefer to buy or borrow?

I’m a huge supporter of public libraries, and I use mine a great deal. There’s just something about owning a physical copy of books I love, and I especially appreciate being able to pass them on to other bibliophines!


places to find cheap used books


  1. Leslie Atkinson

    July 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

    I love used books. I don’t thrift like you do because I stick more to the stores near me rather than going out of my way to go to the Salvation Army. My favorite is the library book sales. I love bag day so much because of the value and because I can pick up books that perhaps I wouldn’t choose otherwise. I need to check out paperbackswap.com though. I’ve not heard of it or used it. I’m surprised you didn’t list the little free libraries in your post, however. 🙂

  2. Amrita

    July 12, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    These are great tips to buy good booKS. I used to haunt thrift stores

  3. Doug

    July 12, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Wow. So many books and places to visit. I would never be able to keep up at my 2 minutes per page reading rate. I am feeling overwhelmed by my even slower typing rate at getting things done here on the #blogboost challenge. Culling, researching and editing photos from previous vacations will fill my days for the rest of this month, then time for another vacation. Cruise ships have a library and usually allow a one for one trade. If I take a book or two, I can read one and return with a new one. It helps me make room for more books on the book shelves. At this stage of life I am starting to consciously reduce the stuff I have in the home. I carried too many university books with me from house to house until finally releasing them. Like the computer books, I could not give them away at garage sales.

    OK. Back to writing my next blog post. Thanks for the diversion. 😉

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