My Book Buying Strategy

How I shop for books!

Yes, that’s right. I have a strategy. It’s pretty time consuming, but on my rare days off I follow this exact plan.

First, I come up with a list of books I want to buy, then I immediately go to Book Outlet and search the list. Any books I can purchase online through them, I go ahead and add to my cart and buy them. Since they’re already so reduced, I wind up saving tons of money that way. Plus, I usually have a couple of gift cards (from birthdays and other holidays, since most people in my life know they will be lovingly used) or discount from points earned. That brings down my total by a nice chunk.

Then, anything I couldn’t find on Book Outlet, I make my rounds for: I hit up three different thrift shops in surrounding cities. Now there’s also an art form to this, as well. Through trial and error, I’ve figured out which are my top three thrift stores to visit. They’re all in areas I could never afford to live in (aka where houses are a million dollars for a small two bedroom, at best). Why go to fancy neighbourhoods? Because I’ve noticed one constant in all three of these shops. They have a lot of best sellers (that would normally cost over thirty dollars at a chain book store) in perfect condition. And I’ve realized this is because there might be a book that’s been very hyped up online and in newspapers, that people automatically buy because they think they want to read it (since everyone’s talking about it). So they go to Indigo and pick up a copy at full price, hold on to it for a month or so, and then when they realize they aren’t going to read it (either because they’re too busy or aren’t big readers, but simply thought they might read the book because everyone is talking about it) they put it in their “donation” pile and off it goes. I’ve purchased the Fifty Shades of Grey books this way, The Hate U Give, and a ridiculous number of other books that were all the rage a month or two prior. But the cost is knocked down to about five dollars each at these thrift stores. The more “affluent” a neighbourhood is considered, the more likely I am to find these best sellers in beautiful condition. No judgement – just a fact I’ve come to learn.

So, after making my rounds through my top three favourite thrift stores, finding bestsellers (and also stumbling across a few books that peek my interest) I finally move on to chain bookstores (mostly just Chapters/Indigo since they’re the only big stores near me). And it’s here that I’ll spend the most money on the least number of books. Which is fine. Sometimes that’s the only way to get a copy of a book I’m really looking forward to reading. Especially if I’ve been dying to get my hands on it since before it was even released. I don’t mind paying full price for these ones, since it’s worth the chance to read it immediately – if I don’t have the self-control to wait until people decide they won’t be reading their copy before donating it.

I’m not going to lie. This method of book buying is time consuming and not always foolproof. Sometimes I might walk out of all three thrift stores without a single book. And it does take a full day of driving around and the meticulous scanning of shelves, but I really enjoy it, which means I can make a day out of it and have a good time (on top of buying books!) Win win.

Anyone else have a book buying method? I’d love to hear it; I’m always looking for new ways to tweak my methods!

3 thoughts on “My Book Buying Strategy

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