I read a lot of books and at any given time, I could be reading three books in a week at most. On slow days, I could read one book every two weeks. If I buy every book I want to read, I can end up spending the same amount I have budgeted for my food expenses!
So beginning last year, I made it a goal to save money by buying only books that I cannot acquire for free(legally, of course) or at a discounted price. And I was able to find three ways that really worked for me.
Borrow - I make it a point to know what my friends are reading. Chances are, they are probably reading a book on a subject I am interested in or perhaps they know someone who does and can probably lend me the book. This is a very successful approach when it comes to fiction books but can be very challenging when it comes to non-fiction. Almost all of my friends read to be entertained while I prefer books for self-development.
Buy used - In a mall near where I live, there is a used-books store that I often visit. They carry non-fiction, fiction and even children's books. There is also a good selection of magazines, both new and old. I have bought many non-fiction books and children's books. Non-fiction books usually sell at 30~40% their brand new price while the children's books could go as low as 10%. I have probably bought more than twenty titles last year, mostly reference books and children's books.
Another way of buying used books online. I have never tried this approach but there are many reliable sources of used books online. One of them is ebay but you have to check the sellers' reputation and the shipping cost before buying anything.
Amazon.com also features a 'Buy Used' option for many titles. I wanted to try this one but for the title I wanted to buy, the used-book dealer was asking for a high shipping fee. I chose a brand new copy instead and availed of Amazon's free shipping.
Blogging for Books - This is my current favorite. I started reviewing one book on my personal blog and ended up maintaining a separate blog for books! I have three on my list:
- Booksneeze.com used to send me hard bounds but eventually, to reduce clutter, I opted for ebook versions instead. Most of their titles were written by Christian authors and there is assortment of categories to choose from.
- O'Reilly Media also has a blogger review program. They offer mostly technical books but from time to time, there are some titles that are not technical in nature but are very interesting anyway. They also send you updates when there are newer versions on the books that you have reviewed for them. All books are in digital form.
- Netgalley.com offers the most extensive collection among the three. You will be required to fill in a profile page and publishers will take a look whether they want you to review their book. Some publishers would as number of page views, etc. before you get approved. All books are in digital form.
I hope you find this helpful. Happy reading(and saving)!