Thursday, January 13, 2011

New books for 8% retail cost, where else but at the thrift?


On the eve of 2011, I challenged readers to shop for the 2011 holiday season year-round and spend “A dollar a day for the 2011 holidays” by shopping thrift. January on into February are exceptional months for thrift shopping because: 1) people purge their homes in the last minutes of 2010 for donation tax write offs and 2) many unwanted holiday gifts end up in thrift stores; still in the box or tags still dangling.

I thought it wise to check in mid-month and report my progress. This post is on books. I love giving books, maybe because my friends and I love reading them. And what better way to save money on shipping than with the book/media postal rate?

I found many new books, dead certain the spine has never been cracked. Perhaps a tossed holiday gift? Most of these finds will become birthday gifts.

A few of my favorite selection from adult fiction and non-fiction are:

1) The World of Escoffier by Timothy Shaw. This biography of one of the world's most famous chefs is a glossy page masterpiece complete with amazing photos, art and script.

2) The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt.

3) Stones into Schools by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greg Mortenson, founder of The Central Asia Institute and co-author of Three Cups of Tea, considered by many as one of the most important reads of our time.

4) A fresh, never been opened paperback of the 1998 re-release of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This is one of my favorite British classics and was made into a film in 2003, which is lovely but nothing compared to the book.

In the children's section I found:

1) The twentieth anniversary hardback of Babe, The Gallant Pig by Dick-King Smith. Yes, this is the darling sheep herding little pig from the movie, Babe. This endearing story with heart-warming illustrations by Maggie Kneen are a great gift for the young child who is tired of having picture books read to them and is up for the challenge of an honest chapter book.

2) National Book Award Finalist, each little bird that sings by Deborah Wiles. This hardback edition has likewise never been cracked. I recommend this book to readers of all ages. The back of the book begins, "Top Ten Tips for First-rate Funeral Behavior" as written by ten-year-old Comfort Snowberger who lives in a funeral home and writes obituaries.

3) The secret lives of Princesses by Pillippe Lechermeir beautifully illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer. This book was a COMPLETE score and I will keep it for my own Legacy Library. However, it’s gorgeous artwork and whimsical nature will probably force me to buy a few used copies for certain little girls I know that NEED a copy of this book at their sides. It has a page of "The International Alphabet of [Hand] Fans" similar to naval flag signals as well as a page of "Palaces & Residences" which include a Manhattan Walk-Up, an Inuit and Rustic. If you have a little girl in your life who loves books, I think she needs a copy. Mr. Golightly and I firmly believe that it had to be a mistake that this book was donated. It's a complete charm and we've read it together and enjoyed every word and will adapt some of the terminology into our daily speech like "to have a toad on the stove" is princess talk for "running late".

On the vintage circuit I found the 1960 original The I Hate To Cook Book by Peg Bracken with illustrations by Hilary Knight. Apparently, a 50th anniversary edition was recently released. The copy I have resells at around $15 but – to me – the book is priceless. I'd buy it just for Knight's illustrations.

A quick tally of my thrift purchase of these lovely books, seven hardback and one fresh paperback, comes in at $14.

Had I selected them new online, the total purchase would have exceeded $175.

Had I bought them online on used market it would have totaled near $90.

In addition to saving all that money and having lovely gifts for the coming year, I found a paperback copy of a book I almost bought at the price-o-club because I was in desperate need of a read. Instead of paying close to $10 for The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry, I paid $1 at the thrift. Call it serendipity, but it happens a lot when you thrift.

It can all be found at the thrift, new releases, current best sellers, classics, and rare and out-of-print books for a small fraction the conventional market would have you pay.

One of my favorite book finds is a small, very old, first edition French translation of Beatrix Potter's Tiggy-Winkle (Histoire de Poupette-a-L'Epingle) published by F. Warne & Co. Ltd., London. This book has no publication date but is so precious to behold, like a little baby. I paid 50 cents for it.

I'm certain many readers have favorite books scored by thrift. Do tell.


Mel said...

I haven't purchased any books for myself at a retail store in many years.

My daughter is a voracious reader, I can barely keep up with her, but I only pay between 2 to 4 dollars for each book, so it's easy to keep her loaded up.

What I like most about buying thrifted books is that I will choose books that I probably wouldn't buy, if I had to pay retail for them. I can easily pick subjects outside of my norm and am usually pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

I also haven't bought a book at a retail store in years. Another great place to pick up books...the library. My library has times when you can buy a bag of books for $2! And some of them are new. People donate books to the library also, so it's great to get a brand new hard cover book for about 10 cents. Then I donate it back!

My cousin is one who turns her nose up at thrifting, & wouldn't dare to read a used book cause it might have germs on it. Should I tell her that many people have already touched that "new" book & in fact it may have been returned? Who knows how many germs are on that new book.

Shopping Golightly said...


I too visit the library sales and have purchased autographed copies of very popular books there and at thrift stores.

Alex M said...

I buy all of my books at thrifts. 3 for 99 cents can't be beat!

My hubby is making long trips back home to spend long weekends caring for his ailing father. Tommy loves Presidential biographies. I was in the thrift the night before his last trip and found the memoir of Richard Nixon -- a big bound hard cover. .79 cents. I left it on the front seat for him.

I was able to do something unexpected that meant something for him and it only cost .79 cents.

Also, many libraries donate old books to the thrifts.

Sewfast said...

I too love thrift books, but the greatest savings came when I found all 4 of my Nursing school textbooks (the current edition we were using) at the thrift store. They sold for $100.00 a piece. Instead of paying $400.00, I got them all in an all you can stuff $4.00 bag, so I got my textbooks AND a new fall wardrobe for $4.00!

Staci said...

I am an avid reader, and my husband is not. For Christmas I was going to make him an altered book to use as a case for his watches, misplaced buttons, etc. I was looking for something with some heft and a nice cover.

While on the hunt I discovered 4 books that were ideal for him - all from the 1950s and 60s. There's one about elk, duck hunting, and goose hunting. My very favorite is about training dogs - it's all illustrated instead of using photographs.

I know he loved these because every time we had a new visitor he would sit them down and say, "Look what Staci got me!" and then they'd look through these books.

Total cost: $4 - and they're all hard back! I so scored!

Daisy said...

When I started teaching, I stocked my classroom library with thrift books. Now 15 years into teaching, I still browse the bookshelves to find series my students love and to expand on sets of multiple copies for reading groups.

Serena said...

I go to thrift stores and look for children's picture books for images that I can use in my craft projects. At 50 cents a book, I don't feel bad about cutting them up. Once I've removed all the pages I'm interested in, I donate the book covers to a local bookbinder who then turns them into journals, which he sells at craft fairs and bazaars.

grace said...

I LOVE thrifting books! My favorite score ever is a copy of Winne the Pooh it Latin.

That princess book looks fantastic, it's going on my list right now.

Willo said...

What brilliant finds! And books are such a perfect idea! I need to start stocking up for birthday gifts as my Kindergarten aged son gets invited to more and more parties. Where do you find your new books?

Wyldchai said...

You are so lucky. I have yet to find a thrift store in my new city that has a decent book section. Well, untrue, there is one, but nothing like those. All very used paperback pulp novels. These have their place and can be entertaining! Please don't get me wrong. But I have yet to find anything that awesome. I'll keep looking!

Michaelle said...

I just found your blog and can I say that I am in love?? I have shopped Thrift Stores since I was a child. I have friends who have never set foot in one. They just don't know what they are missing, do they?

I buy home decor items, blue jeans, books, items for my photography business, like curtains to use for backdrops, and items that I can resell on eBay from time to time.

Shopping Golightly said...


I do the same with photos. Taking a course on recycled bookbinding has been on my want-to-do list for the last three years! Maybe 2001?

Michaelle, Thank you for the kind words. Once in, who cannot love thrift?

Shanna said...

I just found an entire 3 book series that I have been searching for for years at my local Goodwill. This is an out of print series and I could have gotten them used off of Amazon or some other site for $10 a piece but instead paid a total of $2.67. I love finding my books at thrift stores and used book stores. I also donate my books back to our local used bookstore when I can be parted with them. I tend to keep my books and it drives my husband insane. ;) I have started to keep a list of books by my favorite authors that I haven't read yet so when I get to a place selling used books, even garage sales, I can figure out what ones I still need and the ones I already have. Plus paying pennies versus full bookstore price makes it alot easier when it comes time to clean out some of the bookcases around the house. I say "Yeah to keeping books in the cycle", Circle of Life for books. ;)

Pammy pam said...

hi dropping in from apron thrift girl. i love love love to buy books at thrift stores! i've gotten some great finds too! if i give it away or spill coffee on it, i dont care as much because i've only spent $1. Monday I scored a book for $.89!!!