9 Ways to Make Your Book-Buying Habit Easier on Your Wallet

published Aug 3, 2016
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(Image credit: Andrea Posadas)

In the grand scheme of things, reading isn’t a very expensive hobby. But if you’re the type who loves to voraciously read every best seller or collect literary trophies for your bookshelf, you know all too well how quickly your book-buying habit can blow a budget.

So we’ve rounded up 9 smart ways to save money on books, for every type of reader.

Kindle Unlimited

Like Netflix for e-books, Kindle Unlimited lets you pay $9.99 per month for unlimited access to a huge library of titles (over one million) you can download and read on Kindle devices or through the Kindle app.


For everyone managing to juggle a collection of both print and digital books, give this app a try. After downloading Shelfie (on iOS or Android), use the app to take a photo of your IRL bookshelf—a “shelfie,” if you will—and the service matches your book covers and spines to unlock the digital e-book versions of your already-owned print titles for free or at a big discount.


This resale site is eBay’s tidier, more refined sister. Users on Half.com sell items (it’s limited to books, textbooks, movies, music and games) for a fixed price, instead of the eBay auction system.


Sign up for an account and set your interests, telling Bookbub what you like to read. The service then alerts you to deals on free and seriously discounted e-books you can read on any device.

Bookstore Membership Programs

If you buy enough hard-copy books, it might be worth your while to pay for an annual membership at your local chain bookstore. Members usually benefit from steep discounts, free shipping and beaucoup coupons.

Shop Thrift Stores & Garage Sales

You might not always get a pristine copy of the latest best-seller, but if you’re looking to treat your shelf with some new (to you) titles, scour local re-sale shops and keep an eye out for garage sales in your neighborhood.

Swap Books with Friends

If your book-buying habit is more about consuming than collecting, you can kill two birds with one stone by hosting a book swap for your friends: Clear your bookshelf of the things you’ve already read and score some gently used but highly recommended new finds from your friends.

Visit the Library

Many bookworms do this already, but in case it’s not on your radar, let us remind you: Your local city or county library is a great resource to read your way through piles and piles of new books without spending a cent.