Monday, March 7, 2011

Bargain Book Bonanza

Lesa, of Baja Greenawalt's Cozy Book Nook is starting a new linky party for those of us that love bargain book hunting.  Stop by to see all of the participants and their bargain book finds.

I'm not a book buyer.  Up until the summer, I lived in San Diego and had access to a wonderful library system.  I could reserve any book I fancied and it would be delivered to my local library for free.  It was rare that I had to wait more than a couple of weeks for a book.  In addition, they had an excellent collection of classics so if I was still waiting on a reserved book, I could always find something to read.

This past August we moved to a little village in Scotland.  The entire library is about the size of a large living room.  No joke.  I can go to the library on any given day and not find a single thing I would want to read.  Not very many classics.  There is a reservation system, but it costs 37 pence (not a big deal), and I often have to wait several months.  I have also found that there are some books that I'd like to read that are not available at any of the libraries in my area.

Enter the charity shop.  I had mentioned at The Avid Reader's Musings that I hadn't been able to get my hands on a copy of The Remains of the Day.  She suggested I check out thrift stores.  The thought had never occurred to me.  So I did.  My village happens to have one on the main street so I took a little stroll and was surprised to find such wonderful books.  I visit weekly, and I have found some great books in excellent condition.  All paperbacks are 5 for £1 (about $1.50), and children's books are 10 pence (about 15 cents).  It works out that it costs me less to buy books I'd like to read at the charity shop than to request them from the library.  Here are a few that I have found.

The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier--I've been wanting to read this for a while.  It's on my list for the What's in a Name 4 Challenge hosted by Beth Fish Reads, so I was really excited to find it.  (20 pence)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett--I have heard wonderful things about this book from many bloggers.  I was already planning to read it for Jenners' Take A Chance Challenge 3.  I found it at the perfect time.  (20 pence)

On Beauty by Zadie Smith--I was attracted to the cover of this one.  It doesn't show as well in the photo, but it is gorgeous.  It also says on the cover that it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction.  That sure helped its cause.  (20 pence)

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery--I never read this as a child, but as a mom, I always keep a look out for books that I think my kids will enjoy.  While my 3 year old daughter isn't ready for it yet, some day I hope she'll read this one.  (20 pence)

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame--I have been wanting to read this one to my kids as a bedtime story ever since Kathy at The Literary Amnesiac mentioned that she had.  My kids are animal lovers so I thought they would love this one.  (10 pence)

Captain Courageous by Rudyard Kipling--I loved the Just So Stories as a child, so I thought I'd give this one a try.  I figured it might be a good one for my boys.  (20 pence)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott--This has been on my TBR list forever.  I'm not loving the movie tie-in cover, but that's okay.  (20 pence)

These aren't all books that I will keep, but any that I don't love will go back the charity shop to find their way into another bargain hunter's home.


  1. +JMJ+

    Those really are serendipitous finds! =)

    For some reason, my favourite books to buy used are the classics. There's something about a "pre-loved" copy of an old book that so perfectly underlines the experience of reading a book beloved by many other generations. Why should the text be the only thing to stand the test of time? Let the physical copy be a veteran of the memory wars as well!

  2. You got some good finds! It is a bit like going on a treasure hunt I suppose! Happy hunting!

  3. Hi Kristi,

    Wow, what a change in environment and it is very interesting on how it effects your book reading. I'm glad that you found the thrift store and are nabbing up the good ones!

    Thank you so much for stopping by to say hi. I am following you now and have put you on my sidebar under the "Book and Book Club" section.

    I hope to visit with you again soon.

  4. Whoa! That is some serious bookworm culture shock! So cool that a thrift shop has saved the day!

    An Aussie blogger was complaining about paying to reserve books recently. I'd never heard of such a thing and now you say Scotland does it too. I'm always on the waiting list for a book--hope Ok doesn't institute such a thing!

    What a great haul! And I think you got the most for your money of all the BBB linkers so far this week.

    I haven't read Pearl Earring but I liked the movie. My library has The Help and I plan to read it when school is out-- read mixed reviews of it but it sounds good to me.

    Love Love Anne and Little Women!!

    Thank you so much for linking up this week. Hope to see you again!

  5. How nice to solve a problem! Looks like you'll never be short of books again...

  6. Enbrethiliel--I love old books as well! I haven't run across too many at my charity shop. It seems like most of them are modern publications, even if they are classics.

    Jenners--Thanks! It's pretty fun to browse through the stacks. I never know what I'll find.

    Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy--Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed visiting your blog, and I love all of the photos you post. It really has been an interesting experience moving to such a different place. It has been a major shift in how I acquire books. It's okay though. Change is sometimes nice. :)

  7. Lesa--I've been wanting to watch the movie of The Girl with the Pearl Earring, but I wanted to read the book first. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    I was surprised by the reservation system here as well. One library when I lived in CA used to charge 25 cents for reservations, but the library was huge and I only ended up reserving one item in the year and half I lived there. I'm glad yours is free!

    Thanks so much for hosting!

  8. DeLynne--Thanks for stopping by! I definitely won't run out of books now. I just need to stop acquiring so I can actually read the ones I have. That's the difficult part because finding the books is so much fun. :)

  9. +JMJ+

    I experienced a similar shift in my habit of book acquisition when I moved to New Zealand for university. Books were so much more expensive there and people were more likely to use the library than to splurge on personal collections, so I learned to rein in my bibliomania and to kiss borrowed books goodbye after reading them.

    And then I discovered the "opp shops"--New Zealand's thrift stores--and what Kiwis like to call "pre-loved books." I had never bought used books before, preferring everything to be brand, spanking new; but necessity and the romance of being a "poor student" taught me to love buying bargain books. Now that I'm back in the Philippines, where public libraries are non-existent and books are very affordable, I still keep my eyes peeled for bargains!

    PS -- Kristi, I left a comment with a question under your Macaroni and Cheese post. I hope you won't mind answering it! Thanks. =)

  10. What a great haul! Girl with the Pearl Eaaring is one of my very favourites, and I love the cover of your edition of Anne of Green Gables. Charity shops have to be one of my favourite things about the UK.

  11. Enbrethiliel--It sounds like you have moved around quite a bit. I love the term "pre-loved books." That's perfect! I'm glad you were able to find a way to satisfy your reading habit when you lived in New Zealand.

    Nymeth--The charity shops are great! I'm so glad you loved The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I'm hoping to get to it in the next month or so.

  12. Love the bargains! It must be culture shock to make such a big move.

    I love thrift shops for books, too, especially book exchanges, where you can swap your unwanteds for new pretties!

    Hope you're enjoying your great finds!

  13. Great choices! I think you'll love The Help and Anne of Green Gables. I would highly recommend reqading Howards End before you read On Beauty. It's not that you have to, but On Beauty is a modern re-telling of Howards End (one of my favorite books) and reading it first gives On Beauty a lot more depth. Enjoy!

  14. Selene--I haven't found any book exchanges, but I need to. I would love to swap out because most books I really only want to read once.

    Avid Reader--Thanks for the heads up on Howard's End. I'll definitely read that first. I'm glad you enjoyed them. I can't wait to read The Help. I've heard so many great thing about it and I heard a movie is being made as well.

  15. Great finds. I intend to read Anne of Green Gables this year, so I can't wait to hear what you think. Also, The Help is being made into a movie starring Emma Stone. I'm really excited for that, too. :)

  16. Darlyn--I'm hoping I get to Anne of Green Gables. I heard they were making a movie of The Help. I'm excited to see it also.

  17. What a great idea! Charity shops can be a great source of nice books. I've read and loved those first three books you show, but the other four also look great.

    Have you considered Bookmooch? You can swap books with people either within your own country or also abroad. For the price of a stamp you might find just the books you were looking for.

  18. Leeswammes--Sorry for responding so late. Work has been a little crazy. I haven't heard about Bookmooch, but thanks for sharing. I'll definitely check it out.

  19. Excellent finds!

    I would like that Zadie Smith. It's on the 1001 books list (I think).

    I also found The Help in a charity shop last time we visited home (England).

    Be thankful you have any library and charity shop! I have none. :(

    Lots of good reading, enjoy!

  20. Monica--That makes me sad that you don't have a charity shop or a library. :( It must get pretty expensive trying to acquire books you're wanting to read. Hopefully you have some way to access all of the free classics through places like Project Gutenberg.

  21. Wow, that's amazing! You found some wonderful things for cheap! That's too bad about the library, but it's great you've found a viable alternative.

  22. Anne of Green Gables- great pick! I need to get a copy of that for my daughter some day.