I love to read. My reading time is limited since the girls are just now getting into similar schedules. Since my husband likes to drive when we go anywhere I usually grab a book and read at least part of the way to our destination. I also read when I eat a kid-free lunch (during their naptime).
When we go on vacation, I hesitate to check books out from our local library because what if some horrible fate befalls the book? I don't want to have to pay the fine to replace the book. Because of this, I have had to find some alternatives to find cheap books since I don't usually read books over and over again.
Here are great places to score cheap reads for less:
Check the bulletin board, website, or ask at the circulation desk to see if your library has book sales. Our library has them four times a year and I often can pick up the latest titles at a fraction of the cost.
Yard sales/rummage sales
Used book stores
This is a great way to pick up cheap reads. They are usually about half of the listed price. You can also get more money off if you take in books you have already read to trade. Our local used book store takes books (with the exception of college textbooks) and credits you 1/3 of the price. When you make a purchase, half of the money you pay with can come from your store credits.
If you have an iPhone, you can purchase Kindle books to read on your phone. New releases start at about $9.99. This is much cheaper than paying the $25 for a new hardcover book.
Paperbookswap.com is my favorite online source for used books. Registration is free. If you post 10 books you are willing to trade with other members, they give you two free book credits. You can search their online library for books (this includes new releases but these books go quick). If you find one that you like, click on the order book link and another member will send you the book. If there is a book you are looking for but it is not listed, you can add it to your wish list and they will email you if someone lists it. You can also have it sent to you automatically when they become available.
When someone requests a book that you listed, you will receive an email. Just mail the book to them using the media rate which is about $2.25 (this includes paperbacks and hardcovers). You will get one credit (good for one free book) for each book that you ship to someone.
If you would rather just buy credits, they cost $3.45 a piece which is still a really good deal considering most paperbacks are over $6.
I personally use this site and have never had a problem. The books that I order always have arrived in about the same amount of time as if I had ordered them from any online retailer such as Amazon.
Other online sites
Swaptree and bookmooch are two other online sites. Swaptree also allows you to swap other forms of media such as DVDs, CDs, and games. All you do is enter all of the information on what you want to trade and then swaptree will list all of the items you can receive from other people who are looking for your items. The nice thing about swaptree is you can do cross media trades.
Bookmooch is another online book trading site. It is similar to paperbackswap.com but with slight differences such as you get 1/10th of a point for every book you list and 1 point for every book you trade. You also need to give away one book for at least every two you recieve.
Bookins has free postage on books you send to other members and when you find a book you want then you pay $4.49.
When choosing an online book swapping site, check to see if they have the books that you are interested in and then look to see how their site works.