When I was in the city yesterday, I was bombarded by signs of Border's Going Out of Business sale. I thought they had already closed, and since I don't really live nearby I figured I'd missed it. Well, let's just say I had to check it out. Did a little gift shopping. Also picked up a few treats for myself. Couldn't resist. Thankfully all the books were from the 80% off section. Yeah! Sure have been running into the best book deals lately.
I like to keep a shelf of books in my spare bedroom closet. Love those built-ins. This way when I have a guest (we frequently host missionaries) I might have a book that they've been wanting to read or one that I've read that seems to really "fit" them. Some of our ministry wife friends are very avid readers. Just love 'em to pieces. It's just a joy to me to be able to present them with this little luxury that they might not splurge on for themselves. I tend to give away some of my favorites like Stepping Heavenward, Sisterchicks, or At Home in Mitford.
Some of the my favorite places to find gently used books are hard for me to resist. However, I only have so much space on my bookshelves. Of course, the obvious place to start looking for great bargain books is the used bookstore. There are little "hole in the wall" stores and big huge semi-chains. In Arizona we have the Bookmans Bookstore chain. While quite hippy-era style, it has a large selection, and most of the books are in really good condition. I've bought classics, christian novels, children's books, homeschool resources, movies, and music inside those walls. This year I was looking for a good copy of Randy Alcorn's Safely Home, and I found it there for $6 in mint condition. In fact there were two copies, but that would have defeated the purpose, right?
Libraries are great for their storehouse of books and infomation, but also for their bookstores within. Inside I have found donations and discarded items from the library itself sold for 10% or less of the face value. Recently I found a book less than a year old which sold for $30 for $2.50. Often, I don't think they realize what they have. Most items in the library bookstores are $1.00 or less. Children's books are usually 25 or 50 cents. I can take my daughter with me and let her pick nearly as many as strike her fancy. Our county has a central used book center where periodically they hold HUGE sales. You pay $5.00 per bagful on certain days and the individual book prices are not even considered. These have been my biggest bargain days ever. I have paid $5 (sometimes $10 for 2 bags) and come away with hundred of dollars in books. These are not all discarded items full of library stickers and stamps. Often they are in mint condition. Perfect for my gift shelf.
Charity groups, Goodwill, Clothing and Thrift stores are gold mines for used books. They are not necessarily what draws in the crowd for that store so they are not priced very high. You never really know what little gem you may find sitting on a shelf for .50 or $1. My daughter also finds great little and big toys for a fraction of the cost. She sees this as a great find. The plus side is that you know the money is going toward a needy cause.
Of course, most regular priced bookstores have discount sections. Especially around or after Christmas and New year these are full of great, great bargains. Barnes and Noble often has a display of books for a dollar or two around this time.
If you're a garage sale hunter, I don't even need to tell you the treasures contained there.
Of course, I'm not advocating these bargains simply to hoard books to yourselves, but to pass them on to be a blessing to someone else. A school teacher, a friend, a pastor's wife, a parent, a daughter, or missionary wife would be encouraged by a little gift once in a while. What better way to do that than with a book!