Have a Bookworm in the Fam? These Places Have Books On The Cheap

One year at Christmas time I asked for books. Just books. I wanted nothing else. My parents kept saying, “Honey, are you sure you only want books?” I said yes, emailed them my reading list, and boy, did they deliver. I unwrapped book after book on Christmas morning and I was the happiest camper ever.

But books are expensive! With a new book ringing in at upwards of $20, it isn’t always easy to foster the reading spirit in your loved ones. Thankfully, your local used bookstore isn’t the only answer (though it can be a great one!). Here are all my favorite places to get books online on the cheap.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ThriftBooks (@thriftbooks)

ThriftBooks is, without a doubt, my favorite online bookstore. Founded in 2003, it’s now the biggest independent used book seller, with each book hand-graded to meet the store’s quality requirements (and that’s saying something, because they sell millions of books!). They offer their books in a variety of formats, so if you prefer hard-cover to soft or audio to physical, you’ll find your daily dose of narratives here. They say their purpose is to empower people through reading, and I love that their affordability makes that a possibility.


Powell’s Books

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Powell’s Books (@powellsbooks)

If you can’t make it to the famous brick-and-mortar store in Portland, OR, their online shop is  the next best thing! Their website will help you find the perfect used book, with the ability to filter through categories such as awards and format types. If you’re still lost, they also include a Staff Picks section, with each member writing why they’ve chosen their book. Their online blog features interviews with authors and timely recommendations (for example, they released a list of children’s books for Pride Month) as well.


Better World Books

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Better World Books (@betterworldbooks)

If you want an online bookstore that gives back, check out Better World Books. The best part about buying from Better World is the impact you create with each purchase. To date, they have raised $28,430,000 for literacy and libraries through their Annual Literacy Grants, which provides grants to reduce poverty through education. On top of this, every book you buy results in a book donated to someone in need — in June of 2018, they had donated 26 million books through programs such as Feed the Children and Books for Africa.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by ValoreBooks (@valorebooks)

Students on a budget, this one’s for you! The College Board reported that within the 2018-2019 school year, materials for courses — including textbooks — cost an average of $1,240-$1,440. ValoreBooks offers textbooks for rent and for sale at ridiculously low prices, so even the most strapped-for-cash students can have access to course materials without getting into an obscene amount of debt. They also pay the most for used textbooks, so you can say goodbye to receiving a cheap payout from the university bookstore at the end of the semester.



View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Abby Glassenberg (@abbyglassenberg)

Alibris is where you should go for all your rare and unusual book needs. Because it’s connected to thousands of independent sellers, you’re bound to find someone with the books you’re searching for! Want the first edition of The Catcher in the Rye? You’ll find a copy through Alibris. Or perhaps you’re looking for a signed copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Yep, they can locate that for you, too. Their blog also introduces you to books and genres you may not know about — for example, punk genres in speculative fiction. Whatever your interest, you’ll find book after book about it here.


The Strand

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Strand Book Store, NYC (@strandbookstore)

Another online equivalent of a famous brick-and-mortar, The Strand’s online bookstore will save you a trip to NYC for your used book shopping. Carrying 2.5 million new, used, and rare books on an array of topics, you can find exactly what you’re looking for with their specific categories. For example: rather than searching under “Self-Help,” you can choose “Bereavement,” “Recovery,” or “Meditation.” My favorite part: they have a subscription service, the Book HookUp, which sends out first-edition books and other literary goodies on a quarterly basis. (The next one ships in September — subscribe now!)



Where do you go to find your books? Let us know in the comments!

For More Book-Related Articles, Read These:

Need To Spring Clean Your Bookshelves? These Tips Will Make It Easier Than Ever

Our Decor Tips Will Make Your Bookshelf Look Like A Page From The Pottery Barn Catalog

Join the Conversation