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September is National Literacy Month, so our new finance columnist explains how to celebrate the magic of a good book while saving a few bucks!

Cincy Chic's new finance columnist Emerald Athena Tucker. Photo: Lawrence Tucker
Cincy Chic’s new finance columnist Emerald Athena Sparks. Photo: Lawrence Tucker

With September being National Literacy Month, it is hard not to talk about books. For more than 50 years, book lovers have come together to share their passion of reading. The month has turned into a global movement to end illiteracy and expand learning opportunities for children and adults all over the world.

In true budget-friendly fashion, let’s explore how to buy that new found bestseller or “gotta have it” novel for the fraction of the cost. Below are some tips to buying books for a lower price.

If you are an avid library card holder, you know that the local branch may or may not have every book that hits Amazon’s Best Seller or Best Books of the Year So Far listing; therefore, the library is not always a dollar saver, but is a good place to start. Check out your neighborhood library and its reservation system. This is a huge database containing many, many books for free.

If a library is not close, there are online retailers. Usually, Amazon offers four formats to purchase a novel, Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback, and Audible. More than likely, the Kindle version is your cheapest choice, even beating the Used book price plus shipping charges. Additionally, don’t forget to peruse through the Today’s Deals section of Amazon, you could score a book for $0.99.

Also, Alibris.com and Thriftbooks.com are both great sites for scoring top name books for $0.99. Each site offers coupons and flash deals to further rack up the savings on your beloved novels. At Thriftbooks.com, teachers and educators receive a 15% discount.

As an alternative to the great online retailers, avid readers can opt into playing it closer to home. A great way to expand your reading list is to swap books with friends. Our friends are often an untapped resource. Friends belong to book clubs, get exclusive offers through their network, and work at really great places with awesome perks. Your friend could have access to that book you have been dying to read. Just ask around and treat your friends like the library. Trading books with one another is a great way to save money on book purchases.

If all else fails, check out secondhand booksellers and give yourself a budget. Start with a spending limit of $25 and spend no more than that in a given month for books. If it would help, bring a friend to keep you accountable. Sticking to spending limits can be difficult if you are not accustomed to the behavior. Having a trusty accountability partner can help until the natural willpower kicks in.

From library cards to secondhand bookstores, celebrating National Literacy Month can still be fun and friendly to your bank account!

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