How to Save Money on Physical Books

While eBooks seem to be all the rage right now due to considerably lower average cost than their physical counterparts, the benefits of buying a physical book are still worth the price difference to many avid readers. Like an audio CD from a popular band, physical books sometimes come with additional extras like companion DVDs and physical collectables. So, how do you save money on these often expensive pieces of literature?

Shop at Used Book Stores

Used book stores are great places to find books both old and new at very reasonable prices. The typical price for a used book is at or below 50% of the original marked asking price, with rare books being more valuable. Places that sell used books often buy them directly from their customers to keep their stock rich with a variety of interesting and rotating titles so you might be able to trade in your old literature for something new to you with for pennies on the dollar of what you might normally expect to pay.

Book Swap Services

How to Save Money on Physical BooksThere are a few sites online that allow you to trade your old books for someone else’s old books without having to deal much with the fuss of buying and selling. PaperBack Swap is one of these places, and it’s built a business on facilitating trades between members.

By joining a book exchange, you can find the book you’re looking for and acquire it by simply making some of your old books available in exchange. You may not have to exchange with the same member, as the deal works on more of a community level. For example, if Fred needs War and Peace and Jill’s got it, she can send it to Fred and pick from other books available by other members in exchange.


Like it or not, online retailers have the market cornered when it comes to undercutting retail brick-and-mortar bookstores. I’m personally a big fan of walking into a bookstore and experiencing the environment that comes with physically browsing the aisles for the perfect book and making the purchase. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the best way to save money. Amazon frequently offers deals like free shipping and gives buyers access to a library of used books to buy from as well as third-party distributors. When it comes to quickly finding a good deal on a hardcover or paperback book, it’s hard to look past this retail giant.

Join a Store’s Discount Club

Many book shops including, Barnes & Noble, offer customers the opportunity to join their frequent customer club, which comes with a reasonable discount of 10-20% on any merchandise in the store. This, coupled with seasonal sales and frequent special can add up to serious savings on your purchase. In some cases, these clubs can even save you money at the store’s coffee bar, as well.

Going Out of Business Sales

This may be a depressing note on which to end this article, but the reality of the industry as it stands today is grim. Borders has recently shut its doors entirely and gone out of business after decades of providing service to its many customers. Locally owned book shops are facing an uphill battle as the popularity of eBooks grows and more are closing every quarter. Clearance and going out of business sales are one way the store owner can attempt to recoup at least some of their investment in stock without having to pay to cart it all off once it comes time to actually close their doors. By taking advantage of these sales, you are giving them the opportunity to shut down without facing overwhelming debt on their current stock. In addition, you can save a bundle as well.

The book business is a rough one right now, and as more and more readers embrace digital books, stores around the country are having to adapt and bring their business online in a hurry. Fortunately for some of us old-fashioned physical book lovers, there are still a few ways to save money.

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