When we first met, Al and I both decided that we wanted to create a library. It’s taken decades to reach that point, but a few years ago, we finally achieved our aim of having a room that is entirely dedicated to books.
I estimate that we have over 2000 titles now and we’re still collecting. We like to mix our purchases up, regularly paying full price (someone has to fund the publishing industry and bookshops!) but very often finding bargains – particularly as I’m taking a short career break to retrain at the moment. If you’re prepared to put a bit of work and time in, then you should be able to find great books without shelling out. Here’s our top tips:
Charity shops (or thrift stores)
I’m always surprised at the amount of premium titles available. It’s possible to pick up newly-published works for a fraction of the cost if you can spare the time to forage. Occasionally you might even discover a first edition, although these tend to be snapped up by the retailers themselves.
Not always the cheapest, but good for sourcing classics at a lower price and of course, essential for building a vintage collection. We try to support indie bookshops wherever we can.
Competitions and giveaways
The bigger publishers and booksellers such as Penguin and Waterstones run competitions constantly, but you’re likely to have more success with smaller giveaways on social media. The bookstagramming community is really generous so if you haven’t joined and you love books, then I would highly recommend it (be careful not to only enter giveaways though as this makes your account look spammy!).
This involves a bit more work, but it’s very rewarding. I reviewed books for a website few years ago and built up a good chunk of my YA section. Look out for openings on social media, follow a couple of bookbloggers or if you’re super confident about your writing skills, apply to magazines such as Kirkus. If you want to go down this route, it’s best to start your own blog or have some samples at the ready so that you can share your work.
For those mega-expensive treats, why not compile a gift list for family and friends? We collect Folio Society editions but tend to save these buys for birthdays and Christmas. Patience required but it’s worth the wait!
Do you have any tips that you can share in the comments below?