I love books. I have books everywhere in my house. I would spend a fortune if I bought every single book I own at full retail price. So I use a book swap community called Bookmooch to save money on books.
Here’s how it works:
- No cost to join. Bookmooch makes money if you decide to buy something through an Amazon.com link instead of mooching.
- Point-based system. You can earn points by adding books to your inventory (1/10 pt), giving away books in your country (1 pt), giving away books to another country (3 pts), or acknowledging you received a book (1/10 pt). You use 1-2 points by “mooching” books. You must keep a 2:1 ratio though to be able to mooch. Which essentially means, you have to send out 1 book for every 2 books you receive.
- Once you receive the book, it is yours to keep. You can do whatever you want with it. You can read it and then re-list it on Bookmooch or keep it for your collection.
- Low cost to send via media mail. Media mail is your friend. Send your books via media mail and it will usually run less than $3 to send a book.
Here’s a few tips on how to use Bookmooch:
- Be Patient. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for the sender to send the book. This is normal. In my experience, I have received my books very quickly. I try to mooch off of people who have the most recent log in.
- Use a wishlist. Use the bookmooch “Bookmarklet” and easily add books you find on the internet to your wishlist. This is great for new releases because if someone adds it to your inventory you will be notified via email this book is available. Sometimes you have to act quickly on this as the more popular books will go quickly.
- List any defects of your book in your inventory. There is place when you list your inventory you can note anything about the book. Make clear any defects. Sometimes this won’t stop people from mooching. Most of the time, I just want to read the book and I don’t care if the pages are frayed but some people are particular so you will want to note that.
- Wrap your package tightly. I’ve had books come just wrapped in brown paper with a nice layer of packing tape on it. That’s all you really need. You can keep your shipping supplies low by doing this. If you use manila envelopes/padded envelopes (you can usually get the nice padded envelopes on sale at Walgreens every couples of months for 3/$1), make sure you tape it nice and snug also or it can get damaged in shipping.
Some other ways to save on books include:
Public Libraries. If you are quick reader or your library allows you to keep books out for an extended period of time, this is a good option. If you want new releases, check with your library to see if you can reserve a slot for a particular book. Many libraries now have online reservation services and online catalogs. Another option, is look for Library Book Sales. My library has 2-3 of these a year. Sometimes it is a fill a bag deal!
Thrift Stores, Used Book Stores, and Garage Sales. If you are patient, you can find good deals on books at these locations.
Share. Swap books with a friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc.
Internet. Look for deals at places like Half.com, Ebay, and Amazon.com. If you are looking on Amazon, check beside the price to see if anyone is offering any of the same book used. I’ve had good luck on Half.com by setting up a “Pre-Order” and entering a ridiculously low price.
Over the years, I’ve been able to curb my spending on books by utilizing different avenues besides buying brand new. As a result, my personal library is overflowing.
What ways do you use to save on books?