The problem with buying cheap electronic thrift books is that you never can tell if they’re self published. I have read some good self published works, but the quality is always hit or miss. Typos or awkward phrasing can be left in and that’s difficult for me. That said, some of them have been worth more than I paid. I have just started in on my latest crop of cheap electronic thrift books, and we’ll see how it goes. The first one was disappointing, but that’s OK.
Cheap books are a passion of mine since I am a voracious reader but refuse to pay full price anymore for all but a very few books. There are about 3 authors for whose books I will pay, but that’s it. The rest I get in trade at a couple of favorite used book stores. There is one that will pay cash for books, but it’s usually so little that I find it’s not worthwhile to sell them there. Instead I wait until I have a nice pile saved up and go to my favorite store that’s about 20 minutes away. They buy books for 1/4 the cover price and sell them for 1/2 cover price. I usually have a large bag of books so I can shop to my heart’s content and not have to pay a penny. They don’t take everything but, if you bought it there, they have to take it back. That’s my go-to place for nonfiction. They take novels as well, but they have such a large selection of nonfiction that I usually only deal with that there. I have another bookstore, right around the corner from my house, to which I take my novels. They’ll accept anything as long as it’s not too torn up. They specialize in genre fiction, which is what I read. (science fiction, romance, thrillers, mysteries, that sort of thing) They have the same trade scheme. Because I trade so many books – anything that’s not a favorite these days – I almost always have a positive balance with both stores so I can shop anytime I want.
Thrift stores are another good place to find books. Read them and then sell them at the used bookstore and you can actually make money on the deal. I don’t advocate just buying books at the thrift store and turning around and selling them, first because it’s dishonest, and second because used bookstores generally only take books in very good condition that they believe they can resell; most thrift shop books are ones that bookstores won’t take in trade.
Amazon and Barnes and Noble have online bookstores. They both sell used books as well. For those you have to pay shipping, but you can get books in good condition for pennies usually. I usually end up paying about $4 for a book ($0.01 for the book and $3.99 in shipping). The advantage to that is that you can find pretty much any book they have in stock – and they have millions – used. For costlier books, you may not find them for pennies, but you can certainly find them used for less then full price. Usually they are cheaper than full price even after you factor in shipping.
Those are my primary outlets for book shopping. I rarely go into an actual full-price bookstore anymore. Even the few new books that I buy, I buy at Target or Walmart where they discount them. There is nothing quite like getting a great deal on a great book. Not every book is going to be a good one, but enough are that it’s worth looking. At least for me it is.