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Bargain Shopping For Books
By Patrick Seitz
Dime Novel | Chomsky | Libraries | I Feel Used | Epilogue

To a bibliophile, a trip to the local Barnes & Noble or Borders can be a bittersweet experience. Sure, there’s always something worth taking home, but paying the new book prices all the time can get to be a real drag. For those among you who aren’t freaked out at the idea of owning used books—heck, it gives ‘em character!—consider the following sources as ways to expand your libraries without breaking the bank.

Brother, can you spare a dime novel?
Before moving into my current apartment, I was living at home. As a result, I really didn’t have any furniture of my own beyond what essentials I could fit in my bedroom. Before the move, I let my friends and co-workers know that I would be in the position to relieve them of the unwanted stuff that was clogging their garages and storage spaces. I got a classy area rug, chairs aplenty, a couch, a teak dining table, a microwave and a small entertainment center, and didn’t pay a cent. The same principle works with books. Let the readers among your circle of friends know that you’re jonesing for whatever they’re done with, and you’ll be amazed at how freely they’ll pass books along. Just make sure you return the favor and sling your unwanted books their way, too.

Advantages: First and foremost, the books are free. Also, they’ve already made a good impression on friends and family members whose taste in books you can (hopefully) trust. Nobody ever says, “Man, this was the worst book ever—you have to read it!”

Disadvantages: This is the least proactive way of getting books, since you’re basically waiting around for people to finish reading them first. If you need new books to read all the time, you can’t depend solely on the pro bono kindness of others to get you through. Also, sometimes you’ll have take books you have no interest in reading, as to not offend the giver. If they’re really that excited about it, try to at least give the book a chance.

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