7 Ways to Buy Books on a Budget

Help your young reader buy books on a budget

Owning books can be expensive. Some people love books with sentimental value. Others own books only from a particular genre, series, or author. Many people love bookshelves full of favorites they can read repeatedly. While others own books that have touched and transformed their lives in some way. Building a book collection is a personal expression. Regardless of what you choose to include in your collection,  everyone can buy books on a budget.

What Makes a Good Book Collection

Personal preferences and interests define a good book collection. There are some commonalities among book collections, though. You’ll probably notice some of these things in your own collection. Even if you have a genre, author, or series preference, your collection is probably pretty diverse. The same is true for sprouting readers. There’s no doubt your favorites will be front and center. Books about fairies, dinosaurs, trains, and puppies might fill your little one’s bookshelves. It’s likely they also have a shelf devoted to holiday tales, bedtime stories, or even encyclopedias. Their collection reflects their interests and sentiments. Over time, you’ll see how your budding bookworm’s interests change or evolve. Maybe even the complexity of the books has changed around topics they’re passionate about.

Inexpensive Ways to Build a Book Collection

Building a book collection doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of ways to build a collection that your young reader keeps coming back to without spending a lot of money. These methods aren’t just great for saving money, they’re also great for reducing waste and supporting local businesses.

Local Bookshops

Many local bookshops have a section with discounted books. In order to make room for paperback titles, bookstores will place hardcover books on sale. They might also put a book on sale at a small discount if it’s been returned. There are also times an older version becomes cheaper because a new edition is coming out. The sale table is a great spot to find deals.

Charitable Shops

You can find cheap books at charity shops and thrift stores. It’s hard for book lovers to throw books away. They donate them instead! Great titles that meet your ravenous reader’s unique interests can be found at an incredibly low price.

Library Sales

You’d be surprised to know that even libraries have sales! People often donate books to libraries thinking they’ll get put on the shelves for someone else to read. This might happen if it’s in good shape and works for their collection. Libraries also sell donated books to raise money. Library sales are another fantastically inexpensive way to build your little learner’s collection.

Free Little Libraries

Have you seen those cute birdhouse-like book structures popping up around your town? That’s a free little library! People will read a book and put it in the free little library so someone else can enjoy it. Free little libraries are a great way to pass on great books to a new reader.

Book Swap

You can get new books without spending a dime at a book swap! Check out your local book swaps, or start your own! The idea behind a book swap is that each person brings a book to trade. Everyone in attendance leaves with a new book to read. How fun would it be to organize a book swap for young readers?!

Online Marketplaces

You can find used books on online marketplaces like Pango, BookScouter, and even eBay. Make sure you read the seller’s reviews to make sure the book isn’t tattered and falling apart. As long as you’re happy with the book’s condition, your growing reader now has a new title to devour.

eBook Deals

Many readers love eBooks because they’re convenient and save paper. Even eBooks go on sale! You’ll find deals in your eBook app or favorite eReader. Building a virtual bookshelf is another fun way to extend your physical collection.


Mackin is a book distributor for public and school libraries. If you’re looking for ways to build out your Novel Effect collection, Mackin has you covered! They’ve got a list of books that pair with Novel Effect. Talk to your local librarian to find books that work with your favorite read-aloud app.

School Libraries

School libraries are a great place to get books as well! As librarians update the collection, books may be removed to make space for new titles. They’ll often place discarded books on display for children to take home and add to their own collection. 

You can also ask your school librarian if they offer summer checkout! While this won’t grow your child’s collection, it does provide them with books to read over the summer. 

A book collection can be built in a way that works for readers of all ages. Kids change their interests all the time. It only makes sense to help them build their own collections without breaking the bank.

Download the Novel Effect app to bring stories to life with music and sound that respond to your voice. 

Share this post


Supercharge the school year with a Novel Effect School Plan and transform learning!

Transform Summer Reading!

Engage & Inspire Readers with our Summer Reading Program!

Join the Challenge!

Turn the page and discover a new adventure!