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.