It’s almost Family Literacy Day! Six ways to save on books

By: Lucy Zemljic on January 21, 2015
That’s it, that’s the last page.
I close the book and clutch it to my chest. After all the struggle, the late nights reading by Micky Mouse night light, the intense storytime sessions spent sounding out strange words, I’ve finally claimed my prize. There’s only one thing left to do – announce it to the world.
“Mom, Dad, I finished reading it all by myself!”

I’m running into the kitchen (book still clasped tightly, triumphantly) and proclaiming my victory.
I did it.
I read “If You Give a Moose a Muffin” all by myself!
That was about twenty years ago, but I remember it as clearly as the day it happened, because that stubborn muffin-loving moose sparked my lifelong love affair with reading. My story’s not unique, though – it happens to kids all around the world, from Canada to South Africa to Japan. Fostering a love of reading in childhood is one of the best things a parent can do for their little ones.
So for this week’s Ways to Save Wednesday, we’re honouring a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts – Family Literacy Day. Next Tuesday, January 27th, families from coast to coast will take part in this annual tradition, and this year, is proud to celebrate this special occasion.
But, just like any other hobby, a love of reading can come with a price tag. Even the most bookish parents can end up with sticker shock when it’s time to pay for that stack of new kids’ books. That’s why we’ve scoured the Internet and searched high and low for the best, and most creative ways to save on books.
Read on to find out how to keep up with your little ones’ literary appetite, and keep it light on your wallet too.
1. “Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!”
Arthur couldn’t have said it any better.
E-books and Kindles may have changed the way books are read, but the library’s still what it once was: the perfect place to find any book your heart desires. The best part? It’s totally, absolutely free (just remember to return them on time!)
Plus, with the advent of e-books, you can borrow and read library titles without ever having to leave home. Most major libraries have e-book lending systems, so you can get your kids’ favourites on an e-reader or tablet – as long as you’ve got that trusty library card.
Just take a look at the Toronto Public Library's fantastic selection of kids' and teens' e-books, all free to read online.
2. Buy used instead of new
If you’re irked by the idea of reading a book someone else has already read, it may be time to let go of the notion – your wallet will thank you.
Used book stores typically sell their fare for a fraction of the price of brand new. Even mint condition new releases are marked down by a whopping 50% at many used book store chains.
You can cut down your book budget dramatically just by going for used instead of brand new. Just think – if you spend about $500 a year on books, you’ll be slashing your yearly spending by $250 or more. Plus, not only is it good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment, too. 
Still worried about reading pre-loved books? I used to be the exact same way. Give it a try, just once, and you may change your mind – I know I did.
3. Stick to paperback rather than hardcover
Have you seen the price tag on hardcover kids’ books these days? They may look nicer, and hold up better against that schoolyard wear and tear, but when it comes down to it, they may not be worth the price.
Hardcovers are always more expensive than their paperback counterparts, because they cost more money to make. A hardcover typically costs $5 or even $10 more than a Plain Jane paperback, but hardcover children’s books take the cake.
$25 for a hardcover kids’ title is just a little too steep for most people, so stick to paperback and save.
4. Avoid new releases
While Timmy may have his heart set on the new Maze Runner book, new releases can cost a pretty penny. If you want to cut down on book spending, try to avoid buying new releases – just like all newly-released media, these sell at a premium.
Instead of buying one hot off the press, why not check if your local library has a copy yet? 
5. Take advantage of online resources
Oh, the wonders of the online world!
The Internet’s full of free classic e-books resources, and that includes children’s and young adult novels. Check out resources like the children’s section, Aesop’s, and Children’ for tons of totally free classic kids books that are sure to keep your little ones reading.
For kids that are a little older, the Project Gutenberg kids section and are chock-full of kid-friendly classic novels, all in the Public Domain.
6. Don't pay full price
This is one piece of advice you’ve heard time and time again here on the Dough Report – don’t pay for full price, get it on sale.
Because books do go on sale, just like everything else. Take advantage of your local bookstore's clearance shelf, or their seasonal rotating sales. I picked up three classics for $10 the other day at Indigo – that’s around $3 per book!
Plus, you can shop online to get deals on books all year round. is a great way to stock up on reading material for the whole family, at discounted prices.
Happy reading, and happy saving! Make sure to check back next Tuesday, January 27th, for a special Dough Report Family Literacy Day post.