How To Save Money #8: Borrow Books, Don’t Buy Them

Take a look around your home. How many books do you have that you read once, perhaps even enjoyed, but that you know you will never read again? Instead of buying books, use your local library or borrow books from friends.

Calm down, I don’t mean all books. There are some books that you will refer to, use, or re-read a number of times, and those are (probably) worth buying. These are most likely to be reference works or cookbooks, for example, though they could be fiction or other types of books as well.

But in my experience, the majority of books that people buy are read once, then never read again. If you take a look at, at the prices of used books for the most popular books (especially fiction), you will find that many of them have dozens, or even hundreds, of copies listed for a penny or just a few pennies. This is especially true of fiction. The reason so many books sell for pennies even when they sold for close to $30 when new is because there are far more copies than there are people who want them. People read them and then never read them again.

If you instead first borrow a book, either by checking it out from the library or borrowing it from a friend, then you save some trees, save your own dollars, and reduce the amount of bookshelf space you need. If you decide after you have read that book that you must have it, then first give yourself a cooling-off period. In this case, I recommend a full month. If, after a month, you still want the book, then go ahead and buy it, but consider buying it used, either from a local used bookstore or from

In addition, as a way to make a little cash, consider selling some of your books at Amazon has fees that will dig deep into the amount you sell your book for, but you can still make some money. You might even hit the jackpot and be able to sell some of your books for $40 or more.

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