Saturday, August 20, 2011

How to Build Your (Child's) Library without Breaking the Bank

I love books. Yeah, yeah, the virtual ones are nice for quick consumption, but I'm talking about books in the traditional sense. The smell, the feel of them in your hands, physically turning the pages, looking at and touching the artwork on the papery pages. It is wonderful is it not?  While I love taking advantage of the local public library as much as the next guy/gal, I also value having a personal library at my fingertips. It is a high priority in our home to have a well-rounded and well-stocked library with books for ourselves - but even more importantly for our child(ren).

Ever since we have been married, Squire and I have been compiling a lengthy list of books we want to purchase for our children.  But, there's one major obstacle blocking us from that dream: $$$. We simply don't have the money to pay retail price for every book we want our children to own. Children's books are EXPENSIVE. So instead of paying retail price, we buy them cheaply.  In lieu of the new school year, I thought I'd share our "secrets" with you all. :)

Here are our favorite ways to snag great children's books without breaking the bank:

Thrift Stores: This is probably our most favorite way to shop for children's books. New (as in more) product come in every day so the treasure hunt never ends! Just check out our latest purchase for Linoln's library. See these 7 books pictured below? They are all in excellent condition and have hardcovers. A rough sum of their retail prices/new prices online would come to about $63.73 (before taxes). Guess how much I paid for them? Price (after taxes): $4.65!!
Our latest steal from Savers.

Yes, thrift stores pretty much rock. We make it a point, every time we stop in a thrift store to look in the children's book section to browse for books we already know we would like to add to our collection, like this one:

A great find! Board book, in very good condition - would have been $8.99 at Target.

We found this one when I was pregnant with Lincoln. It was only 50-cents!! It is in near perfect condition. We found it at our local Deseret Industries.

And this Dr.Seuss classic, "Hop on Pop" was only a dollar:

$0.99 for a mint condition book - would have been $7.99.
Not only do we love to shop thrift stores for the prices, but we have also discovered an added benefit of finding unusual/random books that we had never heard of before but still love, like this one:

What a random and unique find - translated from Danish even! So cool!
Local garage sales, Craigslist, and ebay are also excellent resources:
I think we got all three of these (hardover) Shel Siverstein's for $15.00 on Ebay
People selling books on ebay often sell them in package deals, which is nice if you're going for volume.

Make sure you check the free section for your local area on craigslist! You could be the lucky one to get a gaggle of old children's books for nada. And, we all like nada. ;)

New books at discounted prices can often be found at stores like Costco, TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Ross, etc.
Costco sells these new children's board books in packs for good prices too. 4 for $4.99.

We picked this board book up from Burlington Coat factory for about half the retail price.
Other ideas? Check with your local public library or elementary school - they often do cheap book sales. If your kids are in elementary school, take advantage of the Scholastic book order forms - they sell books for well under the retail price.

Buying books the cheap way takes time and patience. We still have many more on our "To Acquire" list: Arnold Lobel's, Frog and Toad collection, Eric Carle's, Very Hungry Caterpillar, John Burningham's, John Patrick Norman McHennesy - the Boy Who was Always Late, Bill Peet's, Whingdingdilly, and Maurice Sendak's, In the Knight Kitchen, just to name a few. And one day we'll get there. But we're not in a rush - our patience has already paid off! (Pun intended.) :)

What are your favorite ways to acquire/buy books for your child's library?

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