A woman sitting next to a book shelf

4 Ways to Get More Books for Your Bucks (and Vice Versa)

If you are an avid reader, it’s safe to say you own a few books. Okay, make that a lot of books. You would never part with some of your books, but others are currently gathering dust on bookshelves or perhaps even piled on the floor.

A woman sitting next to a book shelf


Since it looks like you will soon have to buy new bookshelves or continue to wade through books just to get to the kitchen, I’ve got an idea. Resolve to do what some people do with their wardrobes—don’t add anything until you get rid of something. 

Fortunately, the Internet is the perfect place to unload old books and find those on your “to-read” list for cheap. 


If you like the idea of a fair exchange, try a free membership to U.S. only, PaperbackSwap.com. This is a Book Club that helps avid readers share their books online by exchanging books they have for books they want. Not limited to paperbacks (you can list and swap hardbacks, audiobooks, and textbooks), you receive two free book credits once you post 10 books you want to part with. Search the site for the books you want, send in your request, and the owner will ship the books directly to you. See PaperbackSwap.com. for more details and information.

Check out BookMooch.com if you can’t find the books you want at Paperback Swap. This site is international, and works on a point system–you get 1/10 of a point for each book you add to your inventory. “Mooching” (requesting) a book costs one point for books from your country, two points for international mooches. Sending a book gains you one point for domestic mooches, and three points for international. Gives you the ability to create a wishlist of books you want, and the site emails you when a book on your wishlist is available (first to get to the book gets it). The site is free. Points are awarded when the mooch is made.


Decluttr buys books, too. Decluttr is the easiest way to make quick cash for your highly desirable used books. The site accepts hardbacks, paperbacks, used textbooks, and children’s books. Know going in that Declutter buys books that have a high degree of desirability and they offer a price that will allow them to re-sell them for a profit. It’s certainly worth checking out.

EC readers report good experiences with Decluttr. I was thrilled to discover they would take a several-year-old college textbook languishing in my home, that other textbook buy-back sites were no longer accepting. Another reader was overjoyed to find she could unload her old homeschool curriculum.

Check BookScouter, where more than 30 used book vendors will compete to buy your books. Just input the ISBN number (either a 10- or 13-digit number on the book itself) to find out which book buyer is interested in what you have and is willing to pay the highest price.

Catch and release 

If you’re curious about the lives of your discarded books once they leave you, you might consider releasing your book “into the wild” as part of the BookCrossings.com project. 

To release a book, register your book on the site, print out a label with a unique ID number and leave the book in a place where you think it might find a new reader. The person who finds the book can visit BookCrossings.com, enter the ID number to find out where the book has traveled, and even journal about their experience. 

You can follow the progress of your book as it travels the world! To hunt for a book that has been released in your area, you can find release locations in the “Go Hunting” section of the site. 

I am seriously considering a little catch-and-release action because I think it might be fun to watch a copy of my pride and joy, Debt-Proof Living, travel the world.

Bargain shop

BooksPrice.com is a great comparison site for the frugal book shopper. Just type in your book title, author or ISBN and you’ll get a list of the prices of new and used books on many of the major bargain book sites. 

BooksPrice.com also compares the shipping fees and book conditions so you’ll be sure to get the deal you want. 

With all these resources for book owners, it seems there’s no excuse for the piles of discarded books cluttering my home and office. This year I am determined to re-home some I no longer need or want.

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  1. Dana says:

    I’ve found that homeschoolclassifieds.com is a great website for selling our used curriculum.
    Both children are homeschool graduates now, and we had a lot of items to clear out. Much of our curriculum sold within a week’s time!
    It’s FREE to list a few items and $6 A YEAR to get more credits. I happily paid the $6 to list all my items at once (some with pictures).
    The website offers other homeschool resources as well.

  2. peatwee says:

    Also, make sure you take advantage of what your local library has to offer! I haven’t purchased a book in years because I can find it all at my library for free. They also have a digital library – I can check out books straight to my kindle. Digital books automatically expire when they’re due, so no library fines!

  3. Pragmatist says:

    Thanks, “peatwee”! First use your local library services. This helps support free access in your community by showing interest. Our library even posts the value of the books we check out (or view online), so we realize the $ amount we have saved. When I encounter a book I want to savor at leisure or own to reread or give as a gift, THEN I consider purchasing it.

  4. Jackie says:

    I love the little free libraries in our community and there are quiet a few. Share paperbacks there and have gotten some really great things other than books in them also. I don’t go to paperback swap because of how they handled the change several years ago. I will check out the other free sites that you mentioned and my daughter might like to join some of the pay for sites because she buys really expensive books.

  5. Bookworm says:

    If you’re lucky enough to have a Half Price Books near you, that’s a great place to buy and sell books, CDs, DVDs, and even records and puzzles. Everything they sell is half the retail price, so they pay slightly less for used stuff. (They may only pay in store credit. I use it immediately, so I’m not sure.) You can probably do better online, but the convenience is worth it to me. I take a box full of items, browse while they price it, then use the credit to buy more.

  6. Cally says:

    I use Thriftbooks.com to order what i can’t find locally
    i buy from thrift stores for .50, enjoy them, and then donate to libraries, friends, the senior centers…

  7. Linnea Priest says:

    I donate my books to the gift shop at the local medical center. It is run by volunteers, and they sell them from a cart just outside the door. They wrote me a note to tell me that my books paid for new software for the cancer treatment center. I figure that’s a win-win situation, because patients and their families can find something good to read, which helps pass the time. It is really boring to be in the hospital unless you are so sick that you can’t do anything.

  8. Luisa says:

    I’m another public library fan. I wanted to add that our library helps me get rid of my books. They will take any book I want to donate. Some they will put on their shelves. Others they sell at their book sales to raise money. And the third choice is that they recycle any books that they can’t use at all. They even took some decades-old college textbooks for recycling. They are wonderful!

  9. Grammee says:

    You might also want to visit Little Free Libraries which are completely free places to take or leave a book. Just go to the Little Free Library website and there is a locator map and you can find ones in your area.

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