Being Well Read on a Budget

by Elizabeth on March 6, 2010 · 3 comments

in books, Frugality, libraries

Being a librarian, it’s no secret that I love to read. I adore books, of all kinds, but especially romance and historical fiction. Alas, these are not always the most popular in the eyes of the general public. I’m usually at a loss when people ask, as they often do of librarians, for book recommendations. I can go on and on about my love of Nora Roberts or Diana Gabaldon, but these aren’t books that are going to appeal to everyone. This summer I set out to remedy that. I created a nice long list of books, mostly of the general fiction persuasion, that were designed to improve my ability to give good book recommendations. I read a good number of the books on my list over the summer, but once school picked back up again, I reverted back to my easy reading schedule of romance novels mixed in with the occasional fantasy.

It’s not always easy to read so many books on a budget. Books can be very expensive, and sometimes the wait list at the library is months long. I’ve learned, however, that in order to finish my list, I’ve got to learn patience. That and find other things to read in the meantime. I started using a few years ago when I was frustrated at finding the same books at my local used bookstore. If you are unfamiliar with the website, it operates like a book-trading system. Membership is free; once you sign up you can begin posting books you wish to trade. Every time someone requests a book from you and you mail it to them, you earn a “credit”. Credits are then used to order books for yourself. All you pay for is the shipping costs of sending your books to people who request them from you. Through this website, I’ve able to clean out a good number of books that I had lying around my house and have been able to get lots of books I’ve wanted to read.

Using PaperBackSwap and the library have been my two ways of working towards my goal of being more well-rounded in my reading choices. The library is an obvious choice since it’s free, but PaperBackSwap is also a good choice because it gives me an opportunity to declutter my numerous bookshelves. I occasionally visit used bookstores and trade in some of books for credit there, but to date, I have more credit that I’ll ever use, so, for now, I’m sticking to these two sources.

Do you like to read? How do you read on a budget?

A selection of recently acquired books from the library and

*I have not been paid or compensated by PaperBackSwap to endorse them. I am doing so because I truly love their website.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cate March 6, 2010 at 7:07 pm

I do the same things you do: check the library first, and if they don't have it, check Paperback Swap. Often I'll put books on my Paperback Swap wishlist. If I absolutely can't get a book through the library or Paperback Swap, I consider buying it, or I stick it on my holiday wishlist. There's also interlibrary loans. I do sometimes wait months for books at the library, but don't usually have problems finding reading material in the interim.


2 Lisa March 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm

There's also It the same sort of thing as Paperback Swap, but there's a good contingent of international users who are willing to send books worldwide.


3 Shu Han May 3, 2011 at 10:39 pm

i borrow books alot! it's funny because if you go see my bookshelf you'd think i haven't read much when in fact i've probably read a lot more than most pple! great tips thanks for sharing (:


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