How to Stock Your At Home Library for Cheap
Last week at school the Scholastic Book Fair rolled into town. Oh boy, there’s nothing like the good old school book fair. It’s pretty close to Christmas morning when you’re in elementary school. And I’ve got to be honest, it kind of still feels that way, even as a grown-up teacher.
It could be getting out of class for a little bit or the money practically burning a hole in their pockets. But I like to think that the appeal of the book fair is getting that brand new shiny book. That delicious smell of freshly printed pages and the sound of a spine cracking open. Getting a book and diving into a new story is one of my favorite feelings in the world. I like to think that some of my crazy kids feel the same way.
As an adult, what I realize is the book fair is also really great because Scholastic offers some pretty good prices on their books. Building a well-stocked library for kids can be hard, since it has to grow with them as they develop their reading skills. Personally, having a home full of books is not only a dream but another way to help me manage stress and my anxiety. Books are my way to chill out and escape a little.
It breaks my heart when I hear that kids and adults say A) they can’t afford books, or B) don’t have time to read. I’ll agree that, when Violet came along, I was worried about how we were going to add more and more books to her little library. I was also worried that there just wouldn’t be time to read. While I’m still working on finding time to read (and I think I always will be!), I do have a solution for finding and getting books to stock your at home library for cheap.
Find some local book sales or yard sales.
Obviously used books are going to be a whole lot cheaper than brand new books. Children’s books stand the test of time; I’m still reading books to my students that were read to me when I was in school! I’m also not a person who needs to read the latest book off the bestseller list so book sales are perfect for me. But honestly I’ve been able to find brand new books that are still pretty new at many sales.
I also love yard sales because you can usually find pretty popular children’s books. That’s pretty much how I acquired my impressive collection of Babysitter’s Club books in the fourth grade. They may have a little extra “love” around the edges but it doesn’t change the story!
Looking for a sale near you? This handy website makes it easy to see current book sales happening in your state.
Shop online at discounted book retailers
Remember when you had to buy textbooks in college and they were SO expensive? I found two hacks to get around that: renting them or searching on half.com. That started my love affair with Half, only now it’s part of ebay. Which is still pretty great for getting affordable books. Book Outlet and Thrift Books are also great and this list of online book stores is another great resource. If you’re looking for literally any book, Amazon is an obvious place to shop and Prime shipping doesn’t hurt either.
Go to Kohl’s
This sounds like a weird one but hear me out: they have the cutest picture books AND matching stuffed animals. The books themselves are only $5 and, because Kohl’s does a quick turnover, you can often find them on sale for half. They aren’t always winners but over the summer I got a few cute ones like The Adventures of Beekle by Dan Santat. I was a little mad that the Beekle stuffed monster was sold out but how many stuffed animals could Violet need? (Well, actually Beekle was so cute I kinda wanted him for myself but anyway…) Right now they have their Christmas and Halloween books which are all Peanuts books with the matching stuffed characters.
Don’t shop; use the library
Okay, this might be an obvious one for most but the library is free and has basically every book you could ever want. Over the summer, Violet and I had a little Friday ritual of visiting the library, picking out books, and then coming home to read. I need to build a new library routine into our busy fall schedule because I just loved sharing that time with her. As much as I want to fill our home with all the books, I also love getting to bring home new-to-us books every so often.
If you’re looking to buy books, I know that many libraries have ongoing sales (mine has a special section). You can support the library as a free resource for all while adding to your own library!