Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?
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Author:  Old Reb [ Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

My wife and I are both avid readers and we run through lots of books in a short period of time, so finding a good, reasonably priced source of supply was a top priority for me. Retail prices on hardback and paperback books are outrageous. Fortunately there are lots of good resale outlets in Austin that carry stocks of both fiction and nonfiction.

Pricewise, the best one is a local charity called the Assistance League of Austin. All their proceeds go to school clothing and supplies for lower income kids that attend the Austin ISD. Their donators are usually upper income folks and the amount of new material they get in every week is amazing. So are the prices: $1 for hardbacks, 50 cents for paperbacks. No tired, beat up old material, either-mostly new titles. I get 3-4 books a week from them on average and donate back all the books we read to them so they can keep maintaining a constant supply of new material. I also do well at Salvation Army, once in a while at Goodwill and at another local charity called Savers. I was down there this morning and got John Grisham's new novel "The Whistler" in pristine condition for $2.50! Half Price Books is actually my high-end alternative, believe it or not! My average cost per year on book purchases is probably between $1.50 and $2.00 each regardless of their cover price. I'm not sure if Savers operate outside of Austin but you can check their website at and see.

Check the resale outlets in your city and see what they have. For example, in May we visited my sister in law and husband in Glenview, IL. Glenview has a monster public library with a huge resale section priced at $2 paperbacks, $3 hardbacks. I bought a grocery bag full when we were there.

Author:  Murmur [ Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?


Amazon. Whatever is cheapest.

Author:  KindaSkolarly [ Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

In Austin I used to go to the Book Exchange, in south Austin, on Stassney. According to the internet it's closed now. They had a card system where you'd drop a stack of books and they'd mark credits, then when you bought a book they'd charge you a nominal price. Like exchanging one book for another and paying some pocket change in the process. A great way to get an armload of books at a time. Dealt in paperbacks only.

I see there's a Book Exchange listed in north Austin, on Burnet Rd. You might check them out if you haven't already.

The Austin Friends of the Public Library used to have a couple of stores in town, and once a year they'd have a big sale of culls from the library branches. I don't think they do the yearlies anymore, but they might have a store or two still open. One used to be on W. Mary, in south Austin, in an old post office building. I expect that one's gone. But apparently the one on Burnet Road is still there.

They used to have good deals on books. Wasn't a swap system but the prices were good.

Good luck.

Author:  Litwitlou [ Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

The easiest place to buy low priced books is Amazon. If I'm feeling lazy I buy from them.

But if I'm serious about buying a bunch of books cheap, I log onto This site tells me when and where to find library book sales near me. What I've been able to do is replace many of the mass market paperback editions of great books I bought when I was a kid, with the hardcover versions in excellent condition for $2.00 a pop.

These sales work because libraries put up ads for people to donate their used books. Since the libraries are getting them free, they can sell them cheap. Also, the overwhelming majority of the books are not the library editions with all those black ink markings, but donated books, often in great shape. First editions are not uncommon, nor are old, out of print books. Some sales have a few thousand books, maybe 40% hardcover. Some can easily have 10,000 books 60% hardcover.

You just have to get their on the first day because those people who sell on Amazon show up and grab everything they can make a profit on. That's why the bottom has dropped out of the used book market.

As far as a buying from charity shops, I'd like to, but there aren't many near where I live. There's a Salvation Army shop I've seen, I'll stop in soon.

When I die I want to bequeath a 5,000 book library to my daughter. I'm up to maybe 1,100 or 1,200.

Author:  Old Reb [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

I knew Jerry, the owner of both Book Exchanges, very well. He only dealt in paperbacks and he closed both stores in 2013 because they were losing money. His prices on used books kept creeping up and I think that and increasing competition from the non-profits forced him to close.

As I mentioned before, my go-to places in Austin are the Assistance League, Salvation Army in North Austin and Savers. I do less and less buying from Half Price because their prices are too high. If Half Price books plans to stay in business much longer, they need to cut their used book prices to 25% of retail and have more sales.

I've also bought on Amazon several times with good results. My pet peeve with sellers there: they won't combine shipping charges if you get several books. $3.99 shipping is high anyway AND they want to charge separate shipping on multiple purchases? No thanks!

Author:  KindaSkolarly [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

Sometimes on eBay I'll search for a "lot" of books. I picked up a dozen of the Robicheaux novels for next to nothing that way. After the holidays I'll sell a lot of novels by Stuart Kaminsky. It's a good way to pick up beat-up reading copies a bunch at a time.

Author:  Jan_wow [ Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

Half Price Books was my favorite in Texas, especially with a 50% coupon. Since I moved to Colorado this year, there is no half-price books here :( so Amazon is where I purchase books now.

Author:  KindaSkolarly [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Where do you buy your books and what do you pay for them?

Sometimes I find bargains on craigslist. I'm going to pick up a bookcase full of Louis L'Amour books tomorrow. I was looking for bookcases and came across a huge set of L'Amour. I'll sell the books on eBay I suppose, but keep the bookcase. The whole thing will cost me $100. The books are selling for about $1000 on eBay:


So craigslist can be a good source.

A town called Llano is west of Austin, and I've found 3 places there that have books. The library is at the bridge, just south of the river. They sell books for whatever you stuff in the donation box. And a thrift shop with books is north of the river. And there's a book and record shop with lots of square footage south of the river. Records & Things. I believe they have 3 buildings, one of them the old lumberyard. Really interesting shop, maybe worth the drive on a nice day: ... irefox-b-1

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