Books on a Budget: The Best Ways to Read for Cheap (& Free!)

No matter if you own shelves and shelves of books with a swinging ladder (if you do, I’m jealous!) or if you don’t own a single book, bookworms all have one thing in common: we love to save money. Here are some simple ways you can access books for cheap, and even sometimes free and still get your literary fix!

The Library

One of the most obvious ways to save money is by going to your local library. Not only can you access free physical books, but you may also be able to access audio and e-books through something like the Overdrive service that allows you to borrow digital content. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a public library. Thankfully, there are tons of other ways to access books for cheap if the library isn’t convenient for you.

Little Free Library

Have any of you ever seen those photos on the internet of cute little birdhouse-looking structures with books inside it? Well, that is actually the Little Free Library which is aimed at sharing all your favourite books with your neighbors. How it works is people put up these waterproof boxes in their front yard, fill it with all the books they’ve already read and want to share with others, and anyone is free to come up, take a book, and leave one of their own! After a while the books will start to change and before long, you will have a little library in your neighborhood. You can also put a notebook inside so people can write their thoughts about the books they’ve left.

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If you want to see if you have a Little Free Library close to you, you can check here. I ended up having one 10 minutes away from me and I didn’t even know it!

Open Library

If you want to read free e-books, Open Library is your place. It is part of the Internet Archive, so it has thousands of them; people can even submit their own. You can get free access to titles like Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson; some of the books you can also read in other languages. If they do not have a title you are looking for, they do provide a link to where you can purchase it for cheap!

Interested in checking it out? You can do so here.

Thrift Stores / Bargain Bookshops

These are a great way to get books for cheap. I have seen brand new hardcover books in thrift and bargain bookshops for under $10. This one takes a bit more digging and is often hit or miss, but if you are lucky, the reward can be huge. Places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Value Village are good places to start thrifting for books.  If you are in Toronto Canada, BMV Bookstore is a good bargain bookshop to look into. If these don’t exist in your area, a quick Google search should be able to pinpoint more local places.

Do you have any other ways you read books for cheap? I would love to get some more tips!


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5 Beautiful Libraries on Beaches Around the World

How many times have you gone to the beach for a nice relaxing holiday in the sun and thought, “hm, it would be great if I had a book to read right about now”? Well, even if it’s zero times, you’re going to wish there were more beach libraries after seeing all the ones I found!

Albena, Bulgaria

One of the most beautiful sea resorts on the Bulgarian seaside, Albena is home to the first beach library of its kind in the European Union; it has since expanded into 3 libraries on the beach after the first gained a lot of success in 2013. There are over 6000 books that you can borrow completely free of charge in 15 languages across all 3 libraries.

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Beach Library

El Jadida, Morocco

This library in El Jadida actually commenced as an initiative by young people to try to get more citizens actively involved in reading since the books are free to borrow. In addition, they hoped it would draw tourists and be able to host events for groups of Moroccan authors to showcase their work. I love the boat shape of the shelves, it’s very unique.

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Bondi Beach, Australia

For one day only, Bondi Beach had a popup library right on the beach to celebrate IKEA’s 30th birthday. Featured here are IKEA’s most popular bookshelves called the Billy. First off, I want those bookshelves, and second, I wish this were there for longer so I could one day experience it!

Surfers browse a bookcase on Bondi beach

Tel Aviv, Israel

On Metzitzim Beach in Tel Aviv, beach-goers can check out free books in 5 languages from the library on wheels. Are paper books not your thing? Well, you’re in luck because you can connect to free WiFi provided by the municipality and download books on your phone or tablet instead! How cool is that?

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Qinhuangdao City, China

Do you like the idea of the beach but hate the idea of human interaction? We’ve all been there, but fear not because this beach library in China has got you covered! Sanlian Public Library is situated on a secluded beach—it’s literally the only thing in sight for miles and you have to walk to it as there are no roads in close vicinity. Surprisingly, it seems to be doing great despite it being a bit more inconvenient to get to, but maybe its seclusion is worth the trek for all the peace and serenity.

Quiet: The building is the only thing in sight for miles with no roads leading to the secluded spot

Hopefully next time you’re on vacation you have a book close at hand, If not, it’s nice to know there are places like these where you can get your fix quickly and conveniently 🙂

I think the one in Albena might be my favourite of the 5, but the one in China is a very close second for those times I want to be left completely alone lol! Which one is yours?

Catherine


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4 Stunning Libraries in Places I’ve Travelled to

Ever since I can remember, the library has been somewhere I could seek solace; a place where my soul feels most at peace among the millions of pages waiting to be flipped and discovered. That’s why today I wanted to take a moment to appreciate some of the beautiful libraries around the world— specifically libraries in places I’ve been— in both an effort to showcase their beauty and for you to get to get the chance to know me on somewhat of a more personal level.

Library of Parliament, Ottawa:

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This grand tour of libraries starts at home. Ottawa is the capital of Canada and as such, the federal legislature resides there. There too resides one of Canada’s most important libraries—the Library of Parliament. This library is at the core of parliamentary democracy as the source of information for parliamentarians, parliamentary committees and associations in order to keep up to date with relevant news and information. This library is extremely important as it keeps Parliament informed and allows its members to consider legislation and ensure the government is accountable.

University of California, Los Angeles Library:

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Anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with California. I love Canada with all my heart (as much as I complain about the cold weather in winter) but for as long as I can remember, I have always felt a connection to this place. I know it’s kind of ‘basic’ now because so many people romanticize it, but finally getting to go there was a feeling I can’t describe. What I’m also finding hard to describe is how I feel about this UCLA library. Apparently it’s one of the top 10 research libraries in the US and has more than 9 million titles! It’s supposed to be designed after Milan’s Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio, which explains the European vibes I’m getting from the space.

Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milano:

Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Milano

Speaking of Milan, how beautiful is the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan? Those chandeliers are everything. I’ve always wanted one of those bookshelves you need a ladder for and these ones are calling my name. It was built in 1770 and opened to the public in 1786. I’m a huge fan of places with history—honestly the older the spaces, the better, so I wonder how many people have graced its halls; if only walls could talk!

Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne, Paris:

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There’s no way you can visit the most romantic city in the world and not find pretty library somewhere, so I was really excited to research this one. The Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire de la Sorbonne in Paris was open in the same year the Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan was built—1770. It’s a university library now; however, it is open to the public as well. What drew me to this were the walls because I find that colour gorgeous and serene, especially with all the natural light pouring into the space. If I had to describe to someone what I thought heaven might look like, this photo would come pretty close.

Although I find the libraries pictured beautiful, they are so much more than that. It doesn’t matter whether you are there for leisure, school, or even political purposes, libraries have been and continue to be at the heart of our communities promoting learning and advancement. They are a vital lifeline for those learning a new language, looking for jobs, needing resources to start small businesses, and more. I never want to imagine a world without the library—my involvement and access of which has shaped me into the person I am today. It’s not until I spoke to someone who told me their nearest library is an hour away that I began to realize how fortunate I am that for my whole life I have been within walking distance from one, and I will never, ever take that for granted.


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