Kids books are so expensive that you wonder why you haven’t written an 8 page book with 20 words in it to sell for $14.99. And of course, your child will read it once and toss it to the side or just completely destroy it. Even if your kid loves books, she’ll keep wanting more and more. So how do you afford all of these kids books?
Well, friend, you get thrifty and find ways of getting free or cheap kids books. Here are some good places to start.
I love garage sale season. Try to find a family that has kids who are a few years older than yours and swoop! They’re exiting a stage of childhood that your kid is just entering. If you can find a box of kids books marked at a couple dollars per book or less, you’re golden. Grab anything that sounds decent and is good shape.
Even if your kid is still a toddler and there are cheap chapter books, grab those too. I already have a stash of Goosebumps books for Toot and she’s not even two.
The Library Store
Yes, you can borrow books from the library. But does your library have a store, too? Ours recently added one to sell off extra copies of books and to make room for newer books. We only have a small section of kids books available to buy but they’re only 50 cents each. Toot has already torn up a Big Bird Popup Book, but I’m not too terribly upset. It was only 50 cents!
If your library doesn’t have a store, check your surrounding areas. They’ll usually let you buy books even if you don’t have a card with them.
The Goodwills in our area have a huge selection of books. But you have to get lucky when it comes to kids books. They’re very in demand because people usually buy more books for their kids than themselves and everyone is looking for cheap books. Hence, why you’re here! So find out if there’s a specific time the books are stocked and try to get there right after fresh books are added.
Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade Groups
People usually sell kids clothes and toys. You probably don’t see a whole lot of kids books, but there’s usually an option to ask for items. ISO is short for “in search of.” So if you can’t find any already on the group, try posting “ISO kids books” and list any specifics like your child’s age or if you need board books.
Remember how I said to try a library store? Well, if you can’t find any, guess what! There’s some big ones that sell their extra books on eBay! You can buy individual books for about $2 to $4.
But the best deals are book lots. When people like me want to get rid of a bunch of things at once but are too lazy to sell individually, they group them together in lots. It’s much easier to sell everything to one person. So yeah, it’s a little more expensive to buy 20 books than two or three. But if you buy in bulk, you pay less per book. I found a set of 12 Eric Carle books for $10 on eBay!
So search eBay for book lots and you can narrow it down to board books or age range if you need to.
Trade with a Friend
Does your kid have a stack of books she won’t touch or is just bored with? Find a friend who has the same problem (and a little one about the same age) and trade your books! The books your toddler doesn’t like may be your friend’s son’s favorites!
I discovered BookOutlet before Toot was born because I loved owning books even though I never actually read them. I’m an audiobook person but those don’t really look pretty on shelves. They have books that are heavily discounted. Some may have imperfections and scratches, but that just makes them cheaper.
They only have a limited number of each book because they’re extras that other retailers couldn’t sell. They do charge shipping, but it’s worth it if you buy a bunch of books. Some of the kids books are as low as 49 cents!
Consignment Sales and Stores
I’ve talked about selling at consignment sales and stores before, but we’re going to talk about buying now! I love buying cheap things especially when it comes to baby or toddler stuff. It’s all so expensive and I JUST WANT ALL OF IT.
The big consignment sale in our area has a huge selection of kids books. Last year, I walked away with 15 for under $20. Check your community events or google consignment sale and your location. Even if you’re not selling, they’re great places to buy stuff cheaply.
Your Mom’s House
This sounds like a Yo Momma joke but it’s not. My mom kept a whole bunch of books from my childhood that Toot has been able to read and play with. (Also my sister’s childhood books which she may or may not get back in decent condition for her future kids, but whatever!)
Ask your parents if they still have some of your old books. Or even a friend or relative that has a kid who has grown out of them. Hand-me-downs are free and still just as good.
I’ve been able to find some pretty good deals on Amazon for kids books especially with free Prime shipping. (If you’re not a Prime member, you totally should be. I live my life by the Prime! lol) You can get new board books for as low as $3.
If there’s a book that you really want but it’s like $15, try buying it used. I think the lowest the used ones go is about $4 to cover the cost of shipping. Most of the used ones don’t have free shipping, but they’re still cheaper by comparison.
If your little one can deal with not having a physical copy of a book, excellent. Some ebooks are free! Toot, however, is not so thrilled that she can’t flip pages. I’m sure she’ll learn to love the digital versions eventually.
Amazon has a good selection of free ebooks for kids that you can download and read. You can also borrow ebooks from your library if they have that capability.
Amazon also has Kindle Unlimited which will let you borrow as many ebooks as you want for a monthly cost.
And if you’re a Prime member like me, you can borrow 10 ebooks at a time in the Prime reading section. They have kids books available, but I’m selfish and borrow books for myself! lol.
Where do you find the cheapest kids books or free books?
I’m always on the lookout for new books for Toot. She’s not picky when it comes to books. She just wants as many as she can get her hands on. Luckily, I’ve been able to get cheap ones at garage sales, online, and even in my mom’s basement! Let me know in the comments below where you get your books!
You can also check out these must have board books for toddlers.