A few people have asked for tips on building up a child’s library collection inexpensively, and I’m not an expert, but thought it might be worth a post to share some sources and tips. I’d love to hear any ideas you have too (any excuse to buy more books).
I’m pretty sure that access to books is more important than ownership of books, and with budget and square footage being limited, our weekly library trip is my favorite way to get new books in the hands of my girls. That being said . . . I love owning good books, and love giving them to my children.
*Goodwill (Value Village, etc.): My all time favorite book source. It’s amazing how many brand new classic children’s books are here . . . and for less than a dollar each. (Sidenote: if you bring items to donate, you’ll often pick up a coupon for 30-50% off a same day purchase.) There are usually multiple copies of titles like Charlotte’s Web, James and the Giant Peach, all the Little House books, Black Beauty . . . I could go on, but you get the idea. I also like to keep a list in the notes on my phone, so if I’m browsing, there’s a reference point for books we want.
*Library sales: Our library regularly sells off books for 50cents a piece and we’ve snapped up many favorites this way. I’m always shooting weddings when the Seattle Public Library does it’s big sales, but I’d LOVE to make it there some time. This year it’s on Sept. 24th & 25th, for all you lucky folk that can make it.
*Ebay: Almost never the most economical way to go for a single title, but I have had great luck buying lots of books here. I particularly love doing searches for lots of Sonlight reading list books. It’s a homeschool program, but parents often sell off lots of read alouds, and lots by grade level. Even if you have no interest in home schooling, the book lists are amazing and we’ve discovered fantastic books by browsing the lists.
*Gifts: Another good reason to keep a wish list of books handy – when grandparents ask what to gift your child it’s nice to have great titles lined up.
Speaking of gifts . . . I was searching for some adorable book plates earlier to add to a gift and couldn’t find quite the right thing. I took matters into my own hands and made these.
They can be printed directly onto full sheets of sticker paper (like this), or printed onto a nice paper stock and installed with spray adhesive or glue stick. I love giving books as gifts, and it’s a fun personal touch to add a small envelope of these. They would also be sweet birthday party or baby shower favors. If you use them for anything fun like that, I’d love to know! They’re available HERE as a free download for you. Enjoy!