Top tips to getting free/cheap books

Hello everyone – I hope you’re all doing okay? Apologies for the delay in posting recently. I’ve been a little unwell with some stomach troubles and what with Easter – it’s been a bit hectic.

Anyway I hope you all had a great Easter and are still getting through all the chocolate you’ve been given?!

So. Moving onto the reason for this post. This thought came to me recently when a good friend Helen dropped off two massive bags of books. She’s so thoughtful! I spent quite some time going through them, on a number of occasions, trying to decide which ones I wanted. Christmas came early for me!

It got me thinking though. How else can I get free or dirt cheap books?! Then I thought, “maybe, just maybe, someone else might be thinking the same thing!” Maybe not. Hopefully though as I’m devoting a whole post to it now!

But seriously. You can pick up some amazing bargains. If you like reading as much as I do, a little reminder that you can get them for next to nothing is always great. Plus, reading is great for anxiety.

Charity shops

As mentioned on my previous post – I love Charity shops/second hand stores. You can really bag yourself a bargain and if you’re on the look out food books – GOGOGO.

Some times they even have deals on. Say whaaaaat?! Yes you heard me correctly. A bargain shop has DEALS on. It’s almost too good to be true. I kid you not though, when my other half lived at Grantham for a while, we went to a charity shop just for a browse and I picked up 5 books for something like £4. The books seemed to be the less popular ones but I didn’t mind.

I felt smug. Real smug. I love finding bargains and this deal left me over the moon. I love bargains!

So if you’re in need of some more books, have a browse in a charity shop/second hand store. I’m sure you’ll pick up a great bargain and keep you busy. Here are some handy ideas to try.


Supermarkets are great places to pick up cheap books

On my trips to the supermarket, I always swing by the book section (well, mainly when I’m on my own when my other half can’t tell me off). Most supermarkets have the charts when it comes to books that are out, so you know you’ve got a good chance of finding some new books.

Most of the time the prices are also extremely low compared with the RRP (Recommended Retail Price). For those in the UK you’ll understand this. Books in Waterstones and W H Smith can be anything from £7.99 onwards. Getting the same book in Asda or Tescos will usually be £5 or less. I don’t think I’ve paid more than a fiver for any of my books from Asda.

It’s really worth browsing the book isle the next time you go.

Another thing that sometimes happens in supermarkets are charity fundraising. My local store has a small stand which holds a new books to pick up and donate money to charity. Another great reason to pick up your books at the supermarket.

Friends and family

As mentioned above, I’m always pestering my mum for new books! I can come away with a few books at a time if I get my timing right! But in all seriousness though – we all like to de-clutter and books are normally one of the first things that we get rid of. Why not be the person to take them?

Although sending the books to the charity shop is a great idea, by offloading these from your family, you can actually save yourself some money by taking them. Rather than buying new books, you get them for free! Plus I know it’s not always that easy picking up books from the charity shop. They can be bulky and heavy at times.

Maybe next time you pop over to your parents/family, see if they have any to give you. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that’ll interest you.

Local library


This is something I’d forgotten about totally. I think this is due to me not really having any libraries around me. But you should definitely check them out. What’s better than picking up FREE books, to be returned to get new ones?! Plus up to seven at a time!?

Not only are you keeping your community going by visiting your local library, but they are a great place for jobs and work experience if it is something you were looking to do. I know our libraries would always welcome volunteers.

Car boot sales

Car boot sales are another book-spotting-site that I always forget about. A lot of people set up stalls at car boot sales to get rid of some of their junk, as well as raising a little dollar. You’ll find a huge selection of books from various sellers for an absolute bargain.

White you’re there, why not check out the other stuff on offer too! I bet you’ll find some amazing home decor bargains.

When I say car boot sales, I don’t just mean you buying books, but also getting rid of your own ones if you need a bit of space. You’ll be able to raise a bit of much needed money if necessary.

On the bus

You may not have heard of this unless you’ve actually been in this situation! It might sound a bit strange that you can pick up books on the bus but this is something that happens.

I’ll tell you a little story. Whether or not you read is fine but I think you’ll enjoy it!

I once got on a bus (I know amazing right?!). But there wasn’t much space and the only seat I found was one that someone had left a book on. I picked up the book and sat on the seat, weary from a day of shopping. I was more glad to actually get a seat than think about the book.

But I held the book in my hands and wondered who had actually left it behind. I checked out the back of the book – the first thing I do when observing books that catch my eye. It looked like a book I’d like to read. I felt a little cheeky just putting the book in my bag so a started to read a few paragraphs on the first page.

By this point someone had sat next to me. A nice old lady on her way to the local shops.

It was like she already knew the reason for this book being in my hands. My puzzled face probably gave a little of this away too! We both smiled at each other, almost knowingly.

Why books are awesome and should be shared.

She proceeded to tell me that it was a ‘thing’ for people to leave books they’d enjoyed on the bus. That the point of books was to share knowledge and story telling. After all, human beings have shared stories for centuries and we all love listening to them. She told me to keep the book, read it, and leave it for someone else to enjoy. She said that education is something to be cherished, and books enable such learning.

I thought this was such a moving thing to do. She was so right. I always want to share books I’ve enjoyed (a little begrudgingly as I sometimes want to keep them all to myself!) and what better way to do it that share them on the bus. The one time when we all seem to want something to browse through/read.

So the next time you find a truly inspiring/moving books, leave it on the bus for someone else to enjoy. You are helping others enjoy such stories and giving another people a chance to read a book for free. You might feel a little wary leaving a much loved book on the bus. But remember the reasons why you’re doing this.

Someone, somewhere, maybe can’t afford books but want to cherish them as much as you do. Maybe that child on the bus on the way to school wishes they had a book to take them away from reality for a short time.

You are doing something great by doing this and so I urge you to do it. Your good-deed-part-of-the-brain will thank you.

I hope you’ve found this useful! Tell me how you get hold of books on the cheap. Would you leave one of your books on the bus for someone else?

23 comments on “6 Top Tips On Getting Bargain/Free Books!”

  1. The story at the end is so sweet! I love finding older books for cheap at vintage stores! I also enjoy book exchanges (leave a book you own and pick up a new one)!

  2. I enjoyed your story about finding books on the bus. Here in the states, we have lending libraries. They are little huts sometimes no bigger than a bookshelf, in various spots in the community. (not all communities have them)

    People just leave a book and others pick one up. It is all based on the honor system.

    Another place I like to get books is online through All you pay is postage. You swap books with others based on credits.

    • Hi Sara – what a lovely idea! It really gives me faith in humanity when I hear things like this. I’m also going to check out the website you mentioned, that sounds like another great way to pick up books cheaply. Thanks for your input!

  3. Great post, Jess.
    After our local library was refurbished I discovered what a great place it was to spend time with the girls, browsing. borrowing but also ordering books for 20p! Not bad for a best seller! You may need to wait a bit for really popular books but at 20p it is worth the wait. Plus, if I am taking a long time with a book I can renew online. Simples!

  4. This is a great post! I love buying books at second-hand stores. I do this all the time; saves a lot of money. And how amazing is your bus story?!! Such a great idea! Libraries are a good option too but if I really like a book I want to have it on my shelves.

    • Glad you liked it Jennifer! I’d never heard of such things and thought it was such a lovely thing to say. I’ll never forget that lady! And yes you are right – libraries are great – sometimes I tend to forget about.

  5. Hi Jess,

    Really appreciated this post, I’m a book lover and am always looking for new bargains and finds. Your story about the book on the bus was wonderful. Such a beautiful way to connect with others and pass on the joy of reading (and maybe pick up a nice surprise yourself!)

    • You sound a lot like me in that sense, I don’t know what I’d do without books! You are so right as well. I think it’s a fantastic idea and would encourage anyone else to do the same.

  6. I love to read. My free books these days come from book blog tour companies and authors who want me to read and review their books. I love being a book blogger! Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday Linkup and encouraging others to pick up a good book. Pinned to our linkup board.

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