Do you have an expensive reading habit? Here’s where to find cheap books

Love to buy books but can’t afford to read? Or are you looking to buy more sustainably? Here are some great places to buy inexpensive books.

Honestly, I feel like reading books and buying books are two separate hobbies. Who can’t resist the temptation of a sexy book cover or captivating blurb? But I’m sure you’ve felt the same drastic change in the weight of your post-portfolio book frenzy. Finding inexpensive books can be a challenge.

Believe me, we understand. To solve this problem, we’ve put together a list of bookstores that won’t break the bank. Depending on what you prefer or where you are now (for my containment comrades, we’ll get by!), We’ve rounded up a mix of online and in-store options. If you are looking for inexpensive books, look no further.

Elizabeth Bookstore, “Blind Date with a Book” (Photo: Reddit)


Alibris is an online marketplace that specifically sells second-hand novels and if you want to get first editions or rare copies they are known to have a large collection of them as well. They also sell textbooks, films and records. Another cool feature is that you can also sign up to sell your own items. Check them out here.

BookDepository, AbeBooks, Booktopia

Book Depository, AbeBooks and Booktopia, your classic online bookstores – they have almost any title you are looking for, especially between the library of the three online stores. Because they don’t sell second-hand novels, they’re not the most sustainable option on this list, but if you’re looking for cheap books, all three companies have regular discounts and flash sales on titles. . Discover BookDepository, AbeBooks and Booktopia.

Gumtree Market / Facebook

I combined these two in the same paragraph because Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are basically known for the same thing: selling housewares, furniture, clothing, etc. But if you are looking for a specific title, it is very likely that you can find it with a quick online search on these websites. With hundreds of thousands of users, there is an incredibly large selection of titles out there – so your likelihood of finding a gem is high! Check out Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.

Used books

ThriftBooks is a used bookstore that sells used novels, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, video games and audio tapes. Created in 2003, it has sold around more than 160 million used and new books since its inception. Although the products are cheaper, there is still a shipping charge for international purchases. Check out ThriftBooks here.

Local second-hand bookstores

Say it with me: support local! Like many small local businesses, bookstores certainly struggled during the last lockdown. This is a great option for picking up second hand books, and given that they exist in almost every suburb of Sydney, there is a bunch of choice. Definitely the perfect option if you like to wander around bookstores and hold them in your hands, but don’t want to pay the price for a new book or are looking to buy in a more sustainable way. We’ve listed a few local ones below, check them out in your area and help support a small business!

Berry books

I know – regional NSW is a bit of a stretch for ‘local’, but listen to me! Berry Books is a carefully curated online bookstore by a couple living in Berry, NSW. Best of all, all the hard work is done for you! The couple travel around Australia, visit book fairs and choose the best books for their site. They have a wide range of titles “with a particular interest in Australian history, including the military, aborigines, nature, Australia, real crime, art and biography.” They are known to be extremely specific in their categorization, so it’s worth scouring their site for the more esoteric titles you’re looking for! Check out Berry Books here.

Dog ear books

Based in North West Sydney, Dogeared Books is a quaint little bookstore located in Pennant Hills. They are open to book exchanges – although they are selective enough to maintain quality control over their offered titles – and specialize in new releases and paperbacks. They have a small section of old and rare books which is regularly updated on their website. Discover their offers here.

Elisabeth Bookstore

One of the largest used book retailers in Sydney, Elizabeth’s Bookstore is based in the heart of Inner West and has three stores in Washington State. They have been around for 48 years and are a mainstay of the used bookstore space. They are also the pioneers of “Blind Date with a Book”, where you can buy based on a short description written on the cover. As their website says: A NEW hand-wrapped book, carefully selected from a wide range of popular genres. Tagged with intriguing clues hinting at the mysterious title inside. It’s a puzzle, it’s a gift! Check them out here.

Lifeline bookstores

Managed by the Lifeline Charity, Lifeline Bookstores offer books in up to 50 categories – including children’s and young adult books, popular and literary fiction, memoir and biography, classics, art, history, military, science and nature, travel, music, graphic novels, cooking, gardening, crafts, textbooks and study guides. They also stock a range of CDs, vinyl records and other diverse and fun cultural items. They have a bunch of pop-up stores all over Sydney, so go for it! Check out Lifeline bookstores here.

Sappho Books, Café & Bar (Sappho’s)

Oh, that of Sapho! A mainstay of the bookstore scene in Sydney’s Inner West, this is possibly one of the most charming little bookstores you’ve ever visited. Located in a classic multi-storey building dating from around 1880, Sappho’s is home to over 30,000 titles. They also have a nice cafe and bar at the back of the building – the perfect place to relax and start your new book! See what Sappho has to offer, here.

Online reading apps

Another alternative to buying new books is online reading apps. They are generally less expensive than physical books and are very convenient for reading on the go. But, there are so many reading apps out there and it can be super overwhelming! Luckily, we’ve already published an article that did all the research for you – read it here.

About Joey J. Hott

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