Reading is undeniably one of the best hobbies out there. But it’s definitely not a cheap hobby, especially if you’re an avid reader.
An average book starts from $11 – multiply that by two for a hardback. This makes it impossible to reload your TBR (to-be-read) section, without spending a small fortune every time.
So, if like us, you need some cheap alternatives to satisfy your book addiction, then read on to find how you can save money on books!
Best tips to save money on books
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1. Hit the library
As an avid reader myself, the library is most certainly my best friend.
Apart from the faint musty smell of old books, libraries are amazing places filled with exciting stories for you to discover – without spending a single dime.
Here in Singapore, we have a grand total of 27 libraries in Singapore, with 25 public libraries owned by National Library Board and 2 other partners’ libraries.
With a wide range of reading materials from children’s storybooks to academic books, you’re bound to find something you enjoy reading. Drop by a nearby library and perhaps you might even discover interesting finds!
If you prefer reading your books online, download the free NLB Mobile App to read on the go. Also an excellent choice for light travels!
Find your nearest library here.
2. Book Swapping
Bring back the old days, with a good ‘ol book swapping. Gather your bookworms, either at home or in a cosy café, and get them all to bring a collection of books that they own.
Sit down, have a hot cuppa tea or coffee and browse the books and pick your favourite reads!
To make it a tad bit easier, you can create a group or Google Doc to showcase your available titles and have your mates choose from there, so you don’t have to lug around an entire shelf.
Alternatively, you can look for online book communities to swap your books with (e.g. on Carousell). This is an amazing way of finding like-minded readers, all while getting books for free!
3. E-books and Audio Books
If you’re perfectly fine with reading on a technology gadget, without having the need to occasionally inhale your book, then you should most certainly try out e-books and/or audiobooks!
Not only do these forms of reading come in handy compared to a stuffing a 600-paged book in your bag, but they’re a ton cheaper – sometimes even free.
Audibl – the famous audiobooks site offers a free 30-day trial period, and a monthly fee of US14.95 (S$19). You can discover over thousands of audiobooks and podcasts. Each month, you can also select a title of your choice to keep!
PRO TIP: If you enjoy reading the classics, Project Gutenberg offers over 60K free eBooks. These are older works for which copyright has expired and are now digitised and available for you to read.
Fret not about the selection – there are amazing classic reads like Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein and Metamorphosis that you must read at least once in your lifetime!
4. Check out cheaper online sites
Save money on books with the well-known UK-based website Book Depository.
This store might offer free shipping to Singapore, and that’s on top of having constant deals throughout the year! Apart from that, you could also score some amazing prices on Kinokuniya.
There are monthly book promotions for selected books monthly for 20 per cent off either in-store or online. Additionally, they offer a large number of titles. If you’re an avid reader, apply for their Kinokuniya Privilege Card membership which allows you for 10 per cent off.
To stack those savings, shop via ShopBack for Cashback on Book Depository and Kinokuniya!
5. Secondhand Books
Don’t fret at the sight of secondhand books, for a large portion of them are still in a pretty good condition.
You just need to look in the right places. These dingy secondhand bookstores truly give you an authentic experience as you sieve through stacks of used books looking for the ones that speak for you.
So if you’re willing to give this a try, then feel free to visit any of these places right here in Singapore, Evernew Bookstore, Ana Bookstore and Book Treasure, among many others.
Other places where you can find books as cheap as $2 (and sometimes even free) is on Carousell.
6. Try Book Subscription Boxes
With bookstagrammers (aka book Instagrammers) taking over the social media, there are more and more book subscriptions boxes out there.
A few of the most renowned ones are NLB’s Little Book Box (for the little ones), Cratejoy, and Bluemoon Box.
Each box comes with one or several books and about 2-5 unique bookish goodies. The price for each box varies from as low as $15 to $60 depending on the box you choose. You can also score yourself some great merchandises on top of a novel.
Read more for less
Buy your books online and make the most of Book Depository’s promos and seasonal deals! And remember to go through ShopBack to score up to 4.0 per cent Cashback while you’re at it!
This article was first published in Shopback.