Garage Sales – Garage sales are an amazing source of inexpensive books. When I go to garage sales, I always check out the kids’ books. If they are asking more than you want to pay, try coming close to closing time and offer one price all the books you are interested in. The seller will almost always take you up on this, especially if you tell them they are going to a classroom. Garage sales are a bit like casinos. Sometimes you come up short, but when you hit a jackpot (good books, cheap price) it keeps you coming back. If you don’t like going to sales yourself, chances are you have friends or relatives that do. Tell them what you’re looking for and give them a twenty-dollar bill in advance. I’ll bet you money the bill turns to lots of books. Garage sale addicts love to have a mission!
Used Book Stores and Thrift Stores – Used bookstores and thrift stores are similar to rummage sales, but you might pay a little bit more. The advantage is you can go to a used bookstore looking for a certain series or author and have a higher success rate. Many book stores and thrift stores also have certain days of the week when they run sales or promotions like two-for-the-price of one or everything-you-can-fit-in-a-bag for one price. So ask about these.
Collect unwanted books and trade them in a used bookstore. When you discover some books that are not suitable for your library for some reason, fill a box and take it in to your local used bookstore to get credit. This credit can usually be used to trade for other books at little or now additional expense.
E-bay or other online auction sites – If you know your way around an online auction, this can be great place to get some used trade books. Just enter the search for a favorite series, authors, genres, or try more general terms like children’s book collection, or leveled book sets. You’ll be amazed how many people are peddling books.
Books for a buck (or less) – Although many leveled books created for the early years cost upwards of six dollars, even when purchased in packs of six, there are a number of vendors that sell quality books for one dollar or less. Check out the Books for a Buck (or Less) table in the appendix.
- Literacy Empowerment Foundation (LEF) and Wilbooks
- Townsend Press and The King School Series
- Candlewick Prese – Brand new Readers – Buy them on Amazon and get boxed sets of 10 or more for less than $10.00
- Scholastic Book Clubs – Scholastic always has some books for right around a buck. You can select price as one of the search categories.