Ways to Get Cheap Books When Your Library is Dying

My local library is dying and, with it, my best source of free books.

Thanks to the crummy economy, the library’s budget has been cut to almost nothing. They have no money for new acquisitions. Old books are being sold to raise money and not replaced with new titles. Shelves are emptying and though they keep rearranging the furniture to try to hide the damage, there’s no escaping the fact that a once thriving library is dying. And it’s not just my local branch. This is going on county wide, so it’s not like I can just go to a different branch or request books from other branches to get what I need.

It’s sad because I used to be able to count on my library to hav


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9 Responses to Ways to Get Cheap Books When Your Library is Dying

  1. ladychadwick says:

    So far we are blessed that the library here is doing well compared to other areas of the country.

    However one way we try to keep it that way is to donate every book or movie we need to get rid of to the library. Things that would take up space in our house, help keep their shelves stocked, or offer a chance for them to earn money.

    I also return the books we buy from their sales, it is very rare that I would want a book to take up space in my very small house. A nice fluff fiction book is fun for a night, but after…it needs to go. That way the Library made my 50 cents, and can possibly make it again.

  2. Meg says:

    We are down to one library now. Used to have four in the area. I can’t say I personally have been much of a help in keeping them alive, having Amazon Prime has been a godsend.

  3. Briana @ 20 and Engaged says:

    Bookstores and libraries alike are a dying breed. I anticipated this so I bought a Kindle. You can find a lot of books for a cheaper price in the Amazon store.

  4. Amy Sutton says:

    I am the author of a book called, “The Daisy Field.” I am already gifting a portion of the proceeds from the sale of my book to charity, but having read your article, I’m thinking I should probably donate a few copies of the book to libraries in our area. Possibly then I could arrange an author discussion and book signing at the library. Seems like a reasonable give and take. Brings to mind a quote from Winston Churchill, “Make a living from what you get. But make a life from what you give.” Thanks for the idea!

  5. Christine says:

    Try http://www.swap.com !!! You list books u have and books u want, and they match u up and u pay the shipping costs to swap (media mail, so is cheap.) ALSO schools can list books they need and u can donate books to them also.

  6. Gail says:

    >>Since my library is letting me down these days<<

    It isn't that your library is letting you down, we are letting our libraries down! Libraries are one of the last free resources that are there for everybody. Instead of thinking up even more ways to get books (although I love cheap books and read like crazy) you might want to try thinking of 'what can I do for my library?' If you bought and read a new book, have you considered asking the librarian if they would like it for the shelves? Have you donated money towards the library fund? I even overheard my librarian talking and some libraries get state funding based in part on circulation of books. If so then you need to USE the library as much as possible. Ask the librarian what you can do to help. If you love to read and have some spare time, perhaps you could volunteer there. If you have a magazine subscription that they library doesn't ask if they would like your copies to set out and donate them as soon as you are done reading them.

    We need to keep our libraries viable into the future. I realize that many don't read even though they can, which to me is worse than those who don't read because they can't. Reading stretches the mind and not everything is on little electronic devices nor will it ever be.

  7. Jen (yup, another one) says:

    “Since my library is letting me down these days,” you say. But what about you? You may be letting your library down. Libraries are a public resource. YOU own them because you pay taxes. Speak up when your library is suffering – write a letter to the editor. Contact your town, county, state or national representatives. Let them know libraries are even more important in financially troubled times.

    As other commenters have suggested, you can also help by making donations to the library. You can donate materials or money but you can also donate time if you don’t have things to spare. Library volunteers can help in myriad ways.

    Short-sighted me-first thinking has gotten our nation into this financial mess. It won’t get us out of it. Don’t just figure out how to meet your book needs, but see what you can do to keep your library from dying!

  8. giax says:

    I’ve got an iPad but I can’t really use it for ebooks – I can’t concentrate. So for some reason I can concentrate much better in reading analog books. (But an occasional freebie from Amazon or Gutenberg gets on the read list).

    Most of my books are from a library booksale, or other second hand places.
    And with books you have read, you can swap them easily. Look for some readers who have the same taste around your area, or e.g. a bookcrossing shelf may be helpful.
    I also swap books I’ve read with friends, and use bookcrossing and goodreads for book swaps. With those it helps a lot to find others who have a similar taste in books than you do.

  9. I thought these were good tips, but I was disappointed because I thought the article was about getting free/cheap books for your library. I won’t keep up with the wet noodle treatment, since it’s been used above. But I have noticed that sometimes when I get too obsessed with saving money that I forget about generosity. And a spirit of generosity does seem to be missing from the article. I think we should all remember that doesn’t mean it’s missing from the author. She might be a big donor to Friends of the Library. We don’t know.

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