The best place to find the books you want





I have talked a bit about some of the books I really enjoy but I never really got into how I go about procuring said books. When you read the amount of books I do you are always on the lookout for the most cost effective way to obtain those books that you love.

I'll start by saying that I prefer having an actual physical copy of a book. No offense to all the kindle/e-reader people out there but I much prefer having a paper copy, something not reliant on the charge of a battery, that I can take with me wherever I want to go. Also, part of the appeal of owning a book is being able to display it on a bookshelf and a lone kindle sitting on a shelf doesn't quite have the same effect.

So where do I start?


I did mention that I look for the most cost effective way to get the books I like, so your first thought might be your local library. While the library is a great source of virtually free, unlimited reading material, I did say that I like owning/displaying the books I read and the library tends to frown upon stealing their books so that option is out for me.

Even though the library might be out it does start you down the right path- used books. Maybe I am just cheap but I really don't see the point in buying a brand new copy of a book when there is a used one in decent condition for a fraction of the price. The words on the page don't change based on the price you pay and the fact that someone else once owned and enjoyed it doesn't diminish my pleasure at all. My first stop is generally, they connect you with the local cities in your area that are having a book sale. For the most part these are old library books or donated books and you can get them for the cheapest price around, usually .25 or .50 cents a book. You can't really beat the price however there are a few drawbacks. The books are generally unsorted and finding what you like(if it was there to begin with) can be a pain in the ass. You aren't likely to find anything that recent, so lets hope the book/series you are after is at least a few years old. The sales are generally only held a few times a year so you might be waiting a long time to try to find that book you really want as well. So if you don't want to wait around, I recommend checking out option # 2

The local used book store


Most cities or towns have at least one used book store and they are definitely worth checking out. You are going to pay a bit more at a store then you will with the previous option, though you do get a few more benefits as well. Generally the stores are better sorted and organized than the free for all at the city sales, making it a much more enjoyable shopping experience. They might have limited hours but are still open more often than a few times a year and I feel better about supporting local small businesses rather than giving my money to some random large corporation. Stop in at a local store often enough and you'll actually start meeting people that share your interests and I feel like in this day and age anything that gets people out and socializing is a good thing.

The downside with the local store is similar to that of the library/city sales option. You generally won't find anything that is too recent and finding a specific book can be difficult. If you go in with the idea of finding something that looks interesting and giving it a try then it might be the right place for you. If you go in looking for something specific, like book 5 in a 7 book series, you might be disappointed. The prices are generally about 1/2 the original cover price(at least in my experience) so you are looking at 3-6 dollars a book instead of .50 cents, although many used book stores are happy to take a trade in to knock the price down a bit. So what do you do when you need a specific book and cant seem to find it anywhere else?



Amazon is still the go-to online retailer for books, used or new. There are other sites out there like or even ebay, but I find that Amazon generally has a larger selection and better prices. The cheapest you will find a book listed on Amazon is 1 cent, though all books add a minimum of 3.99 shipping, so you are looking at 4 dollars on average for the cheapest used books. Side note- if you are looking for why someone would sell a book for 1 cent on amazon, this NY times article does a good job of explaining it- A Penny for your books.

Despite the higher price than the previous 2 options, you can find virtually any book that has ever been printed on Amazon. Not only will you be able to find the specific book you wanted, but any version of that book really. First edition, paperback, hardcover, they are all there. You don't have to worry about digging through stacks of unsorted books, just a simple search and you will have a few different buying options waiting at your fingertips. This holds true for even the newest of books, within a week of a new book coming out you will see it relisted under used for at least a few bucks off the original price.

So which option is the best?


I don't think there is any right choice, just personal preference. If you are patient and want to pay as little as possible for a book you can't go wrong with a library sale. Want to meet people and support a small business? Check out the local used book store. If you want that hard to find book and don't mind paying a little extra then Amazon is the place to go.

I will say that I did leave out a few choices- Craigslist and the Salvation Army. I have usually found the books on craigslist to be surprisingly expensive and you have that whole arranging a meetup with Johnny Sketchy Guy, no thanks. The salvation army is usually just as cheap as anywhere, .25 or .50 cents a book, but I never seem to find anything there and the quality of the books leaves a lot to be desired.

So that's it, those are my observations from years spent slowly amassing my own personal library. I am open to any suggestions on anything I missed and I hope someone out there is inspired by this to do a little more reading of their own.


*All images from Pixabay

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Learned about crypto in 2016 and have been going down the rabbit hole ever since...

All things reading, fantasy, and books
All things reading, fantasy, and books

A bit about my reading habits, love of fantasy novels and books in general

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