Gold Star for the Internet: Thrift Books

These stickers are on many of my books but I am 100 percent cool with it because a) I got them for basically no money and b) I like to rep the cause.
These stickers are on many of my books but I am 100 percent cool with it because a) I got them for basically no money and b) I like to rep the cause.

The only bad thing about having an appetite for literature is that buying books can get expensive very, very quickly. Taking multiple literature classes at one time left me with a pile of good books to read but a dent in my checking account. Having to buy 10 or 12 books at one time gave me the used-book-is-better mentality, which I’ve also ruminated on here re: the things people leave behind in their books. I started to buy used books partially because of the cost and partially because I felt more environmentally responsible in my paper consumption. I also like to buy from used bookstores, but I don’t always have time to go. is the only place I buy new books for gift-giving or recent releases, but even that can get expensive: walking away with two or three new books for around $20 or $30 can still be hard to justify for an undergrad or post-grad lifestyle. So if you like to read, I’m about to give you a life hack. It’s called Thrift Books.

Thrift Books is an online retailer that sells millions and millions of used and new books. I don’t remember exactly where I found out about this website, but I started using it about a year ago. It is a wonderful Internet gem for several reasons.

You can find a lot of good stuff.

 I usually stick to the Literature and Fiction category for classics and contemporary novels, but Thrift Books has everything from cookbooks to graphic novels to young adult fiction to self-help books — and even stuff that has been out-of-print. While they mostly sell used books, you can sometimes find brand-new copies to add to your cart. If you’re looking for a particular book that they’re out of, you can set up alerts to tell you when it’s back in stock and the price. The wishlist function is also useful too if you want to keep track of books you want to buy. However, they don’t have a lot of used copies of newer titles, so you’ll have to stick to Amazon for that.

It’s cheap. 

Since last winter, I’ve given almost 20 books homes on my bookshelf for less than $75. (I know.) The cheapest book price on Thrift Books is $3.59 — which is slightly less money than Amazon’s lowest price — and you can search for gently used copies that are a little more money. The best part is that you can get free shipping with at least $10 worth of books in your cart, which isn’t hard to get to. And if you sign up for the Reading Rewards program, you can get a $5 coupon when you spend $50. That’s essentially a free book, and everyone loves free books. They’re simultaneously helping you save to buy more books and giving you money for more, and that is one of the most valiant of causes. While it is admittedly hard to find newer titles on Thrift Books, the money you save makes buying them in a bookstore or online easier on your wallet. Sounds A++++.

It’s environmentally and culturally responsible. 

When I buy a used book from Amazon or a bookstore, I know that I’m helping to keep both a business and a culture afloat. And while you’re doing that with Thrift Books, you’re also helping the environment. Giving a used book a new home stretches the use of the paper, which is a form of recycling. Buying classic fiction from a website like this helps to keep not only the copies circulating, but the ideas relevant — especially in a world where we can always stand to learn more from our past. Thrift Books has also donated millions of books to boost literacy around the world, and rescued millions of ex-library books from the landfill. I like knowing that the place I’m buying my books from is giving back to the broader community and making reading accessible. And for that, I’m giving Thrift Books a huge gold star.

Do you know about Thrift Books? Let’s talk about it in the comments.







One response to “Gold Star for the Internet: Thrift Books”

  1. […] by Joseph Heller: I hadn’t read this book in high school or college, so while filling a ThriftBooks binge I decided to give Catch-22 a go. I knew that it was a novel about World War II and that […]

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