Walk into any bookstore and you may be surprised by the rising cost of books. New hardcover best sellers can reach prices of $25 or more. The thought of paying such prices makes me shudder. That’s why I’ve found several ways to obtain these very same books for a fraction of the price.
My best source for inexpensive books is the Friends of the Library (FOL) Book Sale. Here you’ll discover a wide assortment of gently used books, usually priced between 50 cents to one dollar! Friends of the Library (FOL) are volunteer organizations dedicated to improving their associated libraries. Friends of the Library (FOL) accept donations of used books from the local community, and then once or twice a year sell these books to the general public at their FOL book sales.
Depending on the library, the book sale may contain anywhere from a few hundred books to tens of thousands of books. FOLs use profits from these sales to improve library facilities, to buy new equipment, or to buy new books for the library. As a result, these sales create a win-win situation for everyone. You buy gently used books at great prices, while profits from the sale are used to improve the library.
Generally FOL book sales last 2-3 days, usually occurring on a weekend. As always, the early bird gets the worm. Those who arrive on the first few days of the sale get a crack at the best assortment of books. Additionally, many FOLs have a preview night, lasting two or three hours, on the evening prior to the sale. These preview sales are only open to members of the FOL, but are where the absolute best bargains are found.
In fact, such good deals are found at preview night that many people line up early. By attending preview night I usually spend $20 and get 25 or more books that would have easily cost me $300-$400 at a local bookstore. You too can attend these preview nights by simply becoming a member of a library’s FOL. It’s easy and usually costs between $5 and $10 for a yearly membership with no other commitment required.
If you can’t attend the preview night, then definitely attend the sale on its first day. Another lucrative day for FOL book sales is the final day. On the last day of the book sale most FOLs hold a bag sale. Here the FOL allows you to fill a bag full of books. You pay only a dollar or two for each bag of books. Doing this you can literally get books for pennies. Because FOL book sales usually have large amounts of children’s books, these sales can be goldmines for parents, especially on bag day.
My strategy is to target FOL sales in affluent suburbs. As FOLs get their books donated from the local community, FOL sales in affluent suburbs tend to have the nicest books, as well as the greatest number of recently released best sellers.
To find FOL book sales near you, visit booksalefinder.com. This website lists the dates and times of FOL books sales, organized by city and state. By attending FOL sales you can purchase gently used books at a fraction of their original cost. If you’re a frequent reader, the savings can be amazing.