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How to get Cheap Books when Libraries are Closed

Tips and Tricks to Find Cheap Books

Does anyone else miss going into a library? Can you remember that feeling of stillness and sanctuary when you first entered into the hushed hallways? You might have had the same feeling about your local bookstore – it is a place to get lost for hours, letting the world spin on around you while your sense of time unravels.

We all endured several months without our libraries; whether yours is open again or not, the atmosphere of libraries/bookstores is definitely a bit different right now. Once people are comfortable, there will be no keeping readers away from the libraries. For now, however, there is still a need for alternative ways of finding cheaper books while libraries are closed.

As any voracious reader can tell you, a healthy reading habit can be quite unhealthy for your bank account. It’s shocking to see just how pricey some books can be – especially newer books. However, there are other options when it comes to finding a title you’ve just really been wanting to read.

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They’re so hard to resist!!

Thrift books

This website is a fun digital alternative to perusing through the used books at your favorite thrift store. It’s a simple online store which allows you to browse through your favorite category or genre, and slowly pulls you in as the suggested titles become more and more intriguing. You might suddenly find that your virtual cart is stacking up with volumes of books. The good news is that the prices add up more slowly than for new books. This website also offers free shipping for orders over $10, and they take care to follow guidelines for Covid precautions.


Instagram (especially bookstagram accounts) is a great place for book lovers to gather and share their love for books.

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@hayleysolano has lots of Giveaways on her bookstagram!

A bookstagram is just an Instagram account devoted to books; you could follow several or many of these accounts without making a separate bookstagram account for yourself. I would suggest following some of your favorite authors on Instagram or publishers on Instagram. Many of them may have a giveaway at some point. Although there is no guarantee for winning a giveaway, it is still a fun way to go about trying to get more free books. This account does giveaways pretty regularly, and I have tried many time but never won anything. On the other hand, this smaller account has done a few giveaways, and I won once! (Full disclosure, I work for the author). If you are thinking about starting your own bookstagram, one of the best ways to grow your base is by hosting giveaways. I’m curious, what are some things you’ve won in in a giveaway?

Little Free Library

One of the sweetest surprises is coming across a Little Free Library out in the community. Whether I am traveling (well, back when that was a thing) and came across a library in a new town I was exploring, or I am simply checking the Little Free Libraries near me, they are always such a special treat.

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A Little Free Library I saw in Nashville, Tennessee.

The history of these Little Free Libraries is actually very interesting. It was created as a nonprofit organization back in 2009 to promote access to books for everyone within the community. Libraries are donated to be placed in areas with a greater scarcity of access to books.

At the beginning of March, I was on a spring break roadtrip, just before everything shut down. I remember finding a couple of Little Free Libraries when I was in Nashville, and the memory of those spots of joy was a highlight in the beginning of those dark day.  

I also had a Little Free Library that I would pass on my almost daily walks at my parents’ house at the beginning of quarantine. Even then, I didn’t realize how much joy it sparked until I was walking one day (actually the day I found out my Oxford trip was cancelled) and it was gone!! I was so upset… and a bit melodramatic, but it turned out that the library had simply been taken away for some maintenance.

A few weeks ago, one of my friends and her boyfriend set up a new Little Free Library in our college neighborhood. It has been one of the sweetest things to witness! I actually came home with All The Light We Cannot See, and I am loving it so far!

Audiobooks on Spotify

Finding the right audiobook that you want to listen to on Spotify is no easy task, but for some books it is possible. I have been listening to the first two Harry Potter books recently. In order to find other books, it is best to search audiobooks under playlist. There is by no means an exhaustive list of books available, but some classics are possible to find through Spotify.

Of course, there are other apps to look into for free or cheap audiobooks, but I wanted to give some instructions on where to look on Spotify because, well it’s free, and also, it’s a little lesser known fact that you can find audio books on Spotify verses Audible or Audiobooks. If it is warranted, I could do another blog on different audiobooks.

I also have to mention that I haven’t always been a fan of listening to books rather than reading them. I’ve found that I don’t mind listening to a book that I’ve already read, but I seem to get something else out of it when I am reading it myself the first time.

eBooks from your Library

With just a library card and a compatible device, you can go to town checking out eBooks from your library, without having to worry about any of the health concerns of going to the library. Most books will be checked out through Hoopla Digital or OverDrive (also known as Libby).

Simply go to the website of your library and search for Kindle books or eBooks. Then you can choose to borrow it for a specific amount of time. Just like at a real library, you may have to wait for some of the books to be “returned” before you can check them out yourself.

Public Domain

There are also thousands of books in the public domain, which means that they are no longer under copyright, and they are free to download. The general rule for books is that they go into public domain 70 years after the last author dies.

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