Let me share with you the steps I take to save the most time and money I can on reading materials, research, and building our personal library.
Free Digital Copies Online
Any time I wish to read or research a book, the first thing I do is look for a free digital copy online.
My favorite sites are:
- Google Book Search at http://books.google.com/: This site has many different types of digitized books, old and new, secular and religious, and everything in between. Sometimes you will be led to this site when you Google a particular book. If you have a Google account, you can even save your favorite books in your online library. I found a full-copy version of Secrets of Happy Home Life by James Russell Miller. I can read it online or make a print copy if I like (probably cheaper to buy it used!). Beware, however, some books are incomplete. Therefore, I may have to look also on this next site.
- Internet Archive at http://www.archive.org/index.php: I was blown away when I found this site! It is easy for me to get caught up for hours looking through all they have to offer. They describe themselves as . . . a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded to build an Internet library, with the purpose of offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars to historical collections that exist in digital format. . . (which) includes texts, audio, moving images, and software as well as archived web pages . . . This site also offers a way to save your favorites. One of the best finds on this site was the Goops and How to Be Them book. A digital copy of this book was offered by a fellow blogger this week, and I missed it. On a hunch, I searched it on this site and found it! Yee-ha! This site is also an excellent resource for finding out-of-print books on religious and homekeeping subjects as well.
- Okay, there are just too many sources of free books online for me to list them all. So, I'll just give you a whole list of resources found here: Internet Public Library. Wait! Before you go there, please finish this post, because I know you'll get too caught up there if you don't.
Used Books Cheap!
If I can't find what I'm looking for online or from the library, I figure I'll just have to purchase it. If I can wait, I just keep looking for it through local thrift shops and yard sales. These generally run from $1 - $2 for hard covers and $.25 - $.50 for soft covers. These are also excellent ways to purchase books for resale online. However, if I can't wait to find it, I look on these sites to get the best deals:
I'm sure there are others. Please leave your own suggestions in the Comments section below.
New Books at Great Prices
When it comes to purchasing books new, ChristianBook.com should be the first place you look. Not only will you find the books you are looking for, but some of the best deals on curriculum you will find anywhere. Once you are on their mailing list and become a member ($5.00 a year or $20 for a 5-year membership), you will be sent seriously-slashed-price deals on a regular basis. I have purchased CDs for as little as 99 cents each!
You may also join Ebates in order to save even more while shopping the online sources mentioned above. You not only get automatic rebates from your favorite online stores (currently AbeBooks: 2.5%, Alibris: 2.5%, Barnes & Noble: 2%, and many more!), but you also get a $10 cash credit just for signing up! Be sure to bookmark it once you've joined and go there first before making any online purchase.
If you have any tried and true frugal ideas for us fellow bibliophiles, I hope you'll leave them for us in the Comment section below.