07 June 2006

Get children's books cheaply at library sales

Caitlin shares how she builds her son's book collection on a budget:

I was an early reader, and my parents always made sure to have plenty of books around for me to read. Now that I'm building a library for my own son, I've noticed kids' books are not exactly inexpensive. I happen to enjoy reading vintage sci fi, which is usually out of print, so I do a lot of shopping at used bookstores and library sales. Most library sales I've been to have a special on the last day of the sale where you can fill a box or brown paper bag with books for US$5-8.  A $20 investment on that day can net around 75-100  books for your child. Some of them also offer older sets encylcopedias (yes, I was one of those kids) for $20-40. You can also find other gems like one of several American biographies series produced in the 1950s and 1960s about pioneers and other historical figures.

Unless you're a friend of the library doing the book sale, it's pretty hard to keep up with when book sales happen. I ran across BookSale Finder, which seems to have listings for a good bit of the US and some of the Canadian provinces. I thought it was pretty neat and might help other parents build a library for their children.

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other organizations do this as well, so keep your eyes on the newspapers--the YMCA here in St. Louis has a huge book sale every fall.

Another good way to build your book collection is to trade books you're done with for fresh ones. Most used book stores will give you credit to use in their store. Or, you can trade online. We use http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php and have had very good luck finding all kinds of books.

Great topic!
Here in Atlanta our local library websites link to the Friends of the Library calendar of booksales.

There's a new thrift store near my home where I've been snagging board books & kids' books for 45 cents. Hard to beat! See my blog if you want the address.

My best bet has been Yardsales. You can literally get grocery bags full of them for a couple dollars.

Yard sales and Freecycle are where most of our kids' books come from.

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