Book Buying Tips

Tips for building a home library:

1—Buy books. (he he he)

2—Set aside a space for the books that is independent of any other thing.

3—Create a comfortable place for kids to read with good lighting.

4—Frequently add to the library, and show your kids your purchases.

5—Periodically set out books you think will spark your children's interest (but don't tell them you are doing it).

6—Remember this saying: A house full of books is a house full of learning. I tell my husband this all the time. I have a dear friend who hates buying books. She doesn't want the mess in her house. She goes to the library regularly and all of her kids are readers. I also go to the library regularly, but I am a messy library person. I frequently have over one hundred books checked out. I'm always scrambling to find overdue books, I hardly ever like the books I have out of the library, and I am always paying fines. I am not organized enough to be a true, die-hard, library-only person. If I was, my kids would never be readers. It is true, books are all over our house. On the floor. On the counters. On the tables. In the bathroom (and sometimes on the floor in the bathroom which makes me really mad). But our house is a house full of learning, and I will always be grateful for that.

Here are pictures of our sad, not-even-close-to-how-I-would-like-it-to-be "Book Room." To the right is a very broken IKEA couch with comfy cushions and not much else. (We do have six other book shelves around the house because this room and these sad book shelves can't hold all our books, but one day, I would love a real library with built in book shelves and lots of giant bean bags and comfy chairs. Ahhhhhhh.)

Book Buying Tips:

1) Library Book Sales. These differ by area, but you should always check them out. Simply because you might find ten amazing books for fifty cents each. And because it supports your local library. And because it shows your kids that buying books is important, therefore books are important, therefore reading is important.

2) Scholastic Book Orders. These can be good. They can also not be good. Giant sets tend to be good deals. Individual books do not. Individual hard back books almost never are. They do have those 0.95 cent books, and the great thing is that can be the only thing you order (I've done that before).

But beware Scholastic Book Fairs in schools. Now, if you have plenty of money and are interested in supporting your school, go to the book fairs and spend lots of money. If you have a limited book buying budget, be careful. Books at book fairs are not nearly as discounted as they are in book orders, and their hardback books tend to be FULL PRICE. And you should never buy a book at full price, because you could probably buy two books for the same amount of money.

3) Scholastic Book Warehouse sales. If you can get access to these—like if you homeschool or if you have a friend who is a teacher—get yourself to the warehouse. The big sales tend to be in early December and in August, right before school starts. The books are sooooooo cheap, plus they often have build-a-box, which is a time when you can get a box and stuff it full of books, buying the whole thing for twenty-five dollars. I once got one hundred books at the warehouse for one hundred and fifty dollars and forty-seven of them were hardbacks.

4) Amazon. Amazon almost always does one of three things. They heavily discount their books, usually when they are hardbacks, or they sell the books (usually paperbacks) at full price, but if you buy three of them, you can get the fourth free. So if you get three paperbacks for 6.99$, you can get a fourth book (if it is part of the four for three deal) for free.

Occasionally I stumble on a Bargain Price book. I got a hardback copy of The Penderwicks (one of my favorite books ever) for 3.99$ once, because it had been marked down as a bargain book. These are beautiful things.

5) Ask people whose kids are grown if they have any books they'd like to hand off. People frequently do, and they think they want to save them for grandchildren, but then they get impatient, and are likely to one day just throw out the whole lot. These books are often yellowed and falling apart, but they are a start!

6) General rules: (I feel slightly guilty as I write these because I want to be a published author some day, and I might have a publisher who does not like this, but in light of encouraging people to buy books, I must record this!!!)
--Never buy a book for full price (if you have the money, go to an independent bookstore to do your book shopping; they are worth supporting at full price)
--Never buy books at Barnes and Noble or similar stores (the selection there is terrible—and their bargain books tend to also be terrible)