If you are anything like me, you look for the best deals when it comes to children’s books. And even though I would love to support the authors more by buying them brand new, there’s a catch.
I mean, have you ever seen a baby or a toddler with a book?
Let’s be honest. Those books get destroyed. Even board books go through a makeover in our house!
But because I absolutely want to encourage the love of reading in my toddlers, they always have their bookshelf available and we read numerous times throughout the day. And of course, I am always on the lookout for great book bargains.
Learn more about reading with babies and toddlers here:
- Tips and tricks for reading with toddlers
- 6 amazing benefits of reading to babies
- The One book to read with your child you probably never heard of
- Infant books: List of 20 classic and unique ideas for baby’s first library
Ideas for finding affordable books for your children
1. Our own childhood books
I have been very lucky. My parents have kept most of my children’s books intact. So whenever I head back home I make sure to bring my favorites with me to share them with my boys.
Books we used to love as children bring back memories. They draw us into the story and we read them very passionately to our children. It is a great way to show them our own love of reading.
In addition, it is a wonderful thing to see your own child wonder about things you used to think about back when you were younger. We get to see similarities and differences between the generations.
Plus sharing something we love with our kids is an opportunity for creating beautiful long-lasting memories.
Even though their brick-and-mortar stores are located mainly in California, Hawaii and New York, they have a huge storefront on Amazon or Ebay.
They have thousands of children’s books to choose from. When I am in their store, I always go for the under a dollar section of children’s books. Many times I found wonderful gems among those!
Book-Off is also great for CDs, DVDs, and many other items. They are very picky about what they buy from people, so you know they care about quality. I tried to sell them several of our old books and not all of them were always accepted.
And that’s a great way to buy books from them, by the way. Bring in some old books of yours that no longer fill your needs, get cash and buy your children’s books. Trading at its best!
3. Facebook Groups
There are most likely Facebook resale groups in your area that you are already a member of, right?
Why not ask for children’s books?
I am a member of several baby and toddler resale groups and I am always on the lookout for good deals.
Many moms just don’t have time to post pictures of every single book, therefore they often sell them in bulk.
Some ladies in my groups are even running at-home daycares with the need to update their toy and book library several times per year. Great opportunity to jump on their sales!
4. Amazon used
When it comes to books unless I am buying a Kindle version. I hardly ever buy brand new ones.
You can find amazing books sold for 1¢ among Amazon used offers. You only pay for shipping and you’re all set. It is so worth it!
And to be honest, I never had a bad experience with receiving damaged or dirty books. I always make sure to read about the book’s condition and choose only Good or Excellent ones.
And when it comes to my boys, their books sure look better the day they arrive than after a few months on their bookshelf!
5. From friends with older children
Do you have friends or family members with older children?
Ask them for their old baby/toddler books. Many of them are most likely just sitting in a box somewhere in the garage or the attic collecting dust.
I am sure they will be more than happy to get rid of them and help you out at the same time. We got a box full of books this way with some traditional Christmas stories we now read during every holiday season.
6. Community fairs
Last year we stumbled upon a nearby church community fair. By the last day, they were just selling their stuff away! We bought amazing books for next-to-nothing.
Such places can be excellent resources for your family if you decide to homeschool. My husband found a math book for his college class, for instance. You can find books related to all subjects, workbooks, encyclopedias and much more.
I felt like I was in heaven! (Coincidence it was a church happening? Lol)
7. Baby resale stores
Similarly to Facebook resale groups, these are actual physical stores.
I have found their selection to be more limited, but they still offer some baby and toddler books.
You can most likely get on their “wait list” to get notified when new books arrive. You can even ask for a specific title and be only called when they have it in stock. At least the stores I visit offer this option. It’s always worth it to ask!
8. Garage sales
Every Saturday our neighborhood turns into a giant flea market. Since we live in California, the weather hardly gets in the way.
When I feel energetic early in the morning, which doesn’t seem to happen too often these days, I put my boys in the stroller and take a walk around to see what our neighbors have to offer.
Even though I haven’t had much luck with finding good books for my toddlers, I haven’t given up yet. The extra exercise, serenity of the morning and connecting with other human beings are all beneficial anyway.
9. Flea markets
I used to go to flea markets looking for toys early in my career. I had to keep an updated “toy bag” for my therapy clients. Flea markets were a life saver!
If you enjoy strolling around, admiring a whole lot of vintage furniture and knick-knacks, flea markets can be a treat! And as a bonus, you will absolutely find great children’s books for fraction of the cost.
10. Library book sales
This is one of my most favorite ways to get books for my children.
It is convenient and quick (I don’t have to wait until the book is shipped), and most of all extremely affordable.
Most of the children’s books sell for less than a dollar! Some of them are in better shape than others, but their selection is quite wide, so feel free to be picky.
Every library seems to have its own book sale, just ask your local librarian to direct you.
11. Friends exchange
I have to yet try this method, but it seems like a no-brainer.
If you have a few good trustworthy friends with children of similar age, suggest a book exchange.
Just like with toys, ask to exchange books that your child no longer enjoys. For a few weeks or months borrow their books and lend them some of yours.
Expect the books to be used and even slightly damaged by other children, however. It shouldn’t be anything that gets you upset. Otherwise, it will turn into a stressful swap rather than a pleasant one.
If you are interested in learning more about saving money on everyday items, check out 44 Ways to Save Money Now and How to Save Hundreds of Dollars a Year with One Simple Switch on Jenna’s blog At Home With Kids. Her tips are super helpful!
I just received a great advice from one of my readers. Check out Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. They send one book each month to children until 5 years of age. For FREE!
Unfortunately, they don’t operate in every state. So it didn’t work out for us. But maybe your area is eligible. Make sure to check them out!