Thursday, January 24, 2013

My favorite sources for free/cheap books...

Like all (at least stereotypically) homeschool moms, I LOVE books.  Some people collect shot glasses or thimbles.  I collect books-specifically children's books. 

Hubby teases me every time I start saying that I need a new bookshelf.  In reality, I don't think I have too many books.  (It's all perspective, though, I guess.)  And I occasionally sort through and get rid of some.  Especially after reading Language Police, I have realized that I want my shelves not just full of books, but full of good quality literature and resources.  That Dora book may be cute and my child may love it, but it does not deserve a permanent place in our school room.  We'll enjoy it for a while and then pass it on.

Anyway, I wanted to share my favorite sources for adding to my collection.  I also love frugality so these are all ways I get them free or super cheap.  Except for curriculum, I will almost never pay full price for a new book:

1) Library
Our local public library allows you to check out 30 books at a time.  Each of the girls and myself have our own cards and often enough, all three cards are full.  Borrowing books from the library is our main source of supplements for history and science.  We also get lots of picture books and leveled readers. 
I especially love that I can search the catalog online and "request" the books I need.  Then they are set aside to wait for me when I can go pick them up.  Saves me so much time and I have access to the entire public library system, not just my local branch!

2) Library Book Sales
Honestly, I have never attended one.  I know they happen often and I have a friend who scored big the last time she went. 
Our library also occasionally sets up a table of random for-sale items right by the front door.  Once I picked up 10 old National Geographics for a buck!

3) Goodwill Outlet
I always gravitate toward the book section anytime that I am in a thrift store.  But my favorite has to be Goodwill Outlet.  All soft-cover books are 25 cents and all hard-covers are 50 cents. 
Once I even picked up a set of 10 phonics readers.  And since they were all together in a box, I was only charged 50 cents for all of them!

4) Public School Textbook Warehouse
We live close to our local public school district offices.  In their textbook warehouse, they have a huge bookshelf full of books that are free for the taking.  These are all books that aren't being used anymore for whatever reason that have been gathered from schools around the district. 
When I went with a friend, no one stopped us from walking in to take a look.  We weren't asked to prove that we were teachers or anything.  I made it out with about 40 chapter books and novels!  I also scored some old Social Studies textbooks (I like them for the pictures), picture books, phonics readers, and anthologies. 
And these aren't just old, beat-up books that belong in the trash.  I grabbed a hard-cover copy of Little House in the Big Woods complete with dust jacket that looked like it had never been touched.  There were also some middle school science texts that were still wrapped in plastic!  Seeing the district wasting so much money makes me sick to my stomach, but my frugal (selfish?) side rejoices that I can benefit!

5) Stuff Swap
I have an amazing friend who has been planning these every few months.  As word spreads, they get bigger and bigger.  How it works is that we all meet at a church building and have about half an hour to organize all the stuff we want to get rid of (clothes, junk, toys, books, baby stuff, etc.) 
Then at the appointed time, everyone gets to go "shopping."  You take whatever you want for free-no limits.  Everything that is left over when everyone is done looking is donated to Deseret Industries

So those are my "secrets."  Do you have a favorite place to "shop?"

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