I love books, obviously. I love reading them, listening to them, shopping for them, collecting them, sharing them with others, etc. And I’m a 90’s child who has always had dreams of a home library with a sliding ladder just like Belle from Beauty & the Beast. So, of course, I aspire to have a personal “library” of my own. The only problem is that books can be expensive, and I just don’t have the funds to purchase every single book I’d like to read someday. Up until last year, I actually wouldn’t even read a book unless I owned a physical copy of it for myself – because I wanted to build my home library! But with the discovery of the Libby app and audiobooks, I have thankfully changed my tune! I still love collecting books and dream of that sliding library ladder, but now my goal is to build a home library on a budget. There are absolutely ways to achieve this, and I’m going to tell you how!
Used bookstores are my very favorite way to shop books on a budget while also supporting a small business. My local used bookstore has a storefront as well as an online store that I am constantly shopping to keep an eye out for new or favorite titles that I don’t already have on my shelves. Evan and my grandparents both gifted me with gift cards to our local used bookstore for Christmas last year, I was in heaven. At our local store, you can find older titles anywhere from 50 cents – three dollars, and brand new titles for no more than $15! When books can sell full-price for up to $30+, that’s the ultimate steal!
Thrift Shops, Garage Sales & Goodwill
Utilizing thrift shops, garage sales, and Goodwills can be the ultimate gold mine when you’re trying to build a home library on a budget. In a thrift store or garage sale, you may have to dig around and be a lot more observant of the books because they won’t all be in the same place. But Goodwill stores will generally have all of the books for sale grouped together so that they’re easy to shop. (PRO TIP: The Goodwill stores in vacation destinations, especially in beach towns like in Florida or Alabama, will be full of great reads. Vacationers often bring along or purchase books and then leave them behind after, so the stores are always stocked with a great selection that you wouldn’t expect).
If you don’t already utilize Goodreads, you need to get to it! I use Goodreads to track my reading, find new books, read reviews from other readers, etc. But my favorite Goodreads feature is their Giveaways section. Publishers will give away copies of their newest releases to build the buzz, and you can sign up to win them for free. I have done this for years – I enter any book that sounds interesting to me – and found some of my favorite reads this way. It’s exposed me to books and genres that I may not have picked up otherwise. I would venture to guess I’ve won near 50+ books since I started signing up for them in 2013.
Library Book Sales
Many local library branches will hold book sales once or twice a year to get rid of excess inventory or donations that they’ve received throughout the year. My local library also has a little store open all the time for patrons to shop discounted books. It’s definitely hit-or-miss, but I love to pop in and take a look around, and it’s nice to know that you’re supporting the community while doing so!
Swap With Friends
An obvious solution to finding new-to-you books would be to swap with friends! If you have books you’re happy to part with, think about coordinating a girls’ night to trade books with friends! It’s free to you, and everyone goes home with something new to add to their shelves.
What other ways are there to build a home library on a budget? Let me know how you’re finding treasures to add to your shelves!