Ten maybe-helpful tips on how to buy books without selling your children

Or in addition to selling your children, if that was already on the agenda.

So: I am a book hoarder. In an ideal world, I would own every book I’ve ever read in addition to every book I ever want to read in addition to every book with a pretty cover in addition to every edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ever thought up or created.

Is that possible? No. But I’d like to believe I come closer every day.

I own approx. 500 books, and I have roughly the same amount of money as a 19th century street urchin, or one of those Depression-era kids selling apples on the street. In other words, the fortune of a small bird. Guys, I’m 19 years old. Any money I have just disappears somehow. It probably says somewhere in my student loan agreement that if I ever come into any $$$$, my college has the right to subtly suck it out of my bank account like the scream machine from Monsters, Inc.

But I digress.

Here are my tips on how to be financially irresponsible without ruining your life!!!!!


  1. BOOK OUTLET!!!!!

Ahh, Book Outlet. The love of my life. Fire of my soul. Light of my universe. Book Outlet, let me sing thy praises.

If you don’t know what Book Outlet is, you are about to be revolutionized. Book Outlet sells brand-spankin’-new books for, like, $5. Or less. Sometimes more, but almost always way less than half the actual price.


Again, this is not sponsored, but I hope and pray that someday it will be.

The only problem with Book Outlet is you have to do a lot of digging through garbàge to find the treasure. (If the treasure is recent YA books with an average Goodreads rating over, like, 1 star.) But it’s worth it and also fun. (Yes, I think scrolling through pages and pages of books I’ve never heard of is fun? DON’T YOU?!)

Also it can push you to try books you wouldn’t necessarily try otherwise.

But it’s totally full-on way easier to search if you have specific books in mind. Which brings me to my next point….



It’s super helpful to keep a list of books you want to buy. A) it’s easier to look through heaven Book Outlet, and B) you can prevent yourself from overbuying if you (pretend to) only let yourself buy books you’ve got listed.

Side benefit, it keeps down your to-read list on Goodreads. Anytime I add a book, I either add it to my to-buy shelf (and then add it to my actual wishlist, which I keep on Amazon) or my library shelf.

I love a good list, man. Really simplifies ya life.



No, they didn’t. I’m sorry. I really do love a good bookstore as much as the next person, but not enough that I want to pay two or three times as much for the same book. It’s easier for me because I have 0 local indie bookstores to support, but still.

Barnes and Noble pricing is insane. You can get twice as many books on Amazon for the price. And I am all about more books for less money, bbg. That’s my #1 aesthetic.


  1. GET AN EXTENSION (disclaimer: this has nothing to do with hair)

If you use Google Chrome, you can get extensions that automatically search for coupon codes for ya. I like Honey because it also allows you to subscribe to products on Amazon and they’ll let you know when the price drops. (Is it clear yet that I heart money?)


  1. GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS (aka why doesn’t everyone take advantage of these all the time forever)

I almost don’t want to…give this one away (get it?) because it’s proved so helpful to me in the past. Goodreads has hundreds and thousands of book giveaways, for ARCs and hardcovers and paperbacks and Kindle ebooks and even audiobooks. It’s super amazing. Every once in awhile I just like to go through and enter whatever seems interesting. I’ve won at least a dozen books doing this. Plus it usually helps me ~expand my boundaries~ past the mainstream YA I normally read.



It’s just easier, for me at least. For the most part they have the cheapest books, and they also have a huge online user marketplace where you can buy used books, often for super cheap. Plus their wishlist tool is really helpful for me. (Instead of saying oOH PRETTY and buying whatever book I see, I can say “oOH PRETty wait it’s not on my wishlist,” hesitate and then buy it anyway.)


  1. SUBSCRIBE TO MAILING LISTS (even though they’re the worst and literally everyone hates them)

Find your favorite book-buying sites (cough cough, Book Outlet, cough) and then subscribe to their mailing lists. That way you’ll know whenever they have a sale, and some sites will send out coupon codes. (Wow, huh, what a coincidence…Book Outlet is great about both of these things.) This is true of subscription box mailing lists too, to a certain extent.



My favorite thing to do is ask exclusively for Amazon giftcards whenever I am presented with a gift receiving opportunity (think: anniversary of my birth, Non-Denominational Winter Holiday Seasonal Festivities™, Arbor Day if you’re into that). Then I hide them away from myself to use later in the year when I am even penniless-er than usual. Just a few days ago I found a FULLY NEW UNUSED Amazon giftcard and used it all in one go like the mannerless rapscallion of a Dickens-esque orphan I am.



It’s soooo much cheaper and the books are usually in better condition than ya think. Library booksales are really helpful for this. (Myyyy library has a year-round paperback sale, three for a dollar.) (I hope the whining braggy tone of that came through via my use of multiple Ys.)



I always use Amazon by default, but if hell hath frozen over and I’m using Book Depository or Barnes and Noble or whatever, I check the prices. Sometimes (and I mean SOMETIMES) books are cheaper on BD or B&N. And I looooooove money. (Also, it feels much more justifiable. Like, I have to buy this book. It’s thirteen whole cents cheaper! What a deal!! Can’t pass that up, etc.)



Now you see why book-buying is a full-time job for me, and no I absolutely do not have time to vacuum my room because I’ve heard on the street that Book Depository may lower the price of the Fantastic Beasts screenplay by six whole cents and you know that’s been on my wishlist for eight months even though I’ve never seen the movie.

Hoped this helped in some way. If it didn’t, DON’T TELL ME. I’m sensitive and you’ll hurt my feelings.


14 thoughts on “Ten maybe-helpful tips on how to buy books without selling your children

  1. Lisa says:

    Dollar Tree often has some decent books . They are usually about 3 years-old, but if you don’t mind it not being hot off the press, you can find decent books and even by authors you may have heard of


  2. aravenclawlibrary says:

    My mom and I went on this thrift store binge thing. We are trying to go to every Goodwill/Salvation Army in Iowa. We’ve done about half the list. I kid you not, I’ve spent about $40ish bucks (and I’m just as poor as you, even though I’m 24. I don’t get paid enough, man) and have gotten at least 50/60 books (much to my bf’s dismay). Buying used is everything!

    I used to be one of those snobs that bought new books all the time. I then realized I’m being stupid. So Amazon and thrift stores are my everything now.

    Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      oh my god that is so amazing! i need to go on a goodwill run soon, a) b/c i want to be the kind of person who wears cool vintage clothes and b) because i have been seriously under-utilizing goodwill as a book resource.

      thanks dude!

      Liked by 1 person

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