The best deal you've ever scored on a book

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The best deal you've ever scored on a book

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Dec 16, 2007, 10:49pm

What's the best deal or cheapest price you've ever had to pay for a book?

I snagged a like new copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn at a thrift store for $1


Dec 16, 2007, 10:59pm

The Windflower by Laura London - it's a historical romance that was published in 1984. it's out of print now and used, i've seen it go for as much as $30.

i got it at GoodWill for $1.00!

also, the libraries around me have the best sales. i love their 5/$1.00 deals on all books. some branches have the 10/$1.00 paperbacks.

these sales drive my family crazy because i can never walk away from them-

Edited: Dec 16, 2007, 11:40pm

I found an untouched copy of Israel Scheffler's Inquiries buried in the back corner of a little used bookstore for $12. I looked it up when I got home and found that it's out of print, and copies are selling for upwards of $100.

Of course, the flip side is that this summer I sold my copy of David Marr's Vision at a used bookstore for a couple of bucks, only to find that used copies of it are selling for upwards of $100. That's what I get for being in a rush and not taking the time to look the darn thing up before I hit the store!


eta: the touchstone on that Marr book is wrong, sorry...

Dec 17, 2007, 11:55am

Perfect first edition of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for $2 at a booksale. No library stickers, no plastic dustcover — perfect.

But there have been so many good finds in my life... hard to narrow it down to just one.

Dec 17, 2007, 3:11pm

A like new copy of Roadside Geology of Washington (among several others) for $1. Library book sales are the best.

Dec 17, 2007, 4:56pm

I got my copy of The Windflower on E-BAY for 5 bucks not quite as good as aznstarlette but not bad considering how much it does go for.


Dec 17, 2007, 6:31pm

I got a 1950 Printing of City of God by St. Augustine with a forward by Thomas Merton for $2. This makes theology dorks like me get excited.

Dec 17, 2007, 8:44pm

I somehow managed to pick up a nice copy of the 1927 first edition of Revolt in the Desert by TE Lawrence for one dollar at a library sponsored sale of used books donated by the general public. There's only one copy being sold on Abebooks right now, and I'm happy to see that it's going for $115...

Dec 19, 2007, 9:22am

The best deal I ever scored on several books was, well free.

A few summers ago, on my way home from work there were a few milk crates by the side of the road with a "free books" sign. Judging by the rugs and rest of furniture on the sidewalk someone's apartment was being cleaned out for good. So I did what I normally do and started rummaging. The cases contained:
a complete set of cloth bound Nathaniel Hawthorne books from 1931,
a complete cloth bound chat book sized collection of all of Shakespeare's works, published from 1880-1890,
a three volume set of the Divine Comedy from the 1890's which are green in (needs to be rebound) leather, and
a 26 cloth bound set of the complete works of Charles Dickens.

I've managed to get half of them catalogued since they all have to go in manually and the cue cat is so much more convenient...

And the Dickens set alone, being a more common set of his works, retails for $350-400 on ABE books...

Dec 19, 2007, 2:24pm

*dies of envy*

Dec 20, 2007, 12:33am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Dec 22, 2007, 5:09am

Wow, I must not be looking hard enough. The best deal I've scored was a hardcover version of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman for $5.

Dec 23, 2007, 1:38pm

I never seem to run into a good deal, but then again, I often don't know what I'd be looking for to find a deal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll run across a first-edition of Stephen King's Gunslinger in some obscure place.

Well, I'm not really keeping my fingers crossed, or I'd have them crossed the rest of my life...

Dec 23, 2007, 9:32pm

Aren't library sales wonderful? :) I suppose my best deals (strictly looking at most books for the buck) come from the $2/bag sales that my local libraries have, although those aren't necessarily my favorite deals. I did get a copy of Anne of the Island from 1915 at the last one.

Some of my other favorite finds: A copy of Gone With the Wind from 1938 from an antique shop ($6 I think), The Thirteenth Tale for $1 from a library sale, and, because I'm a Disney nerd, Disney's Art of Animation for $5.

Edited: Dec 23, 2007, 11:52pm

I picked up a 6 volume set of The Memoires of Jacques Casanova for 60$ at a used book store. The set's pretty old but in very good condition. I don't really know if it was a good value as far as rare book prices go, but I thought it was really cool to find it and well worth the money.

There's a couple stores I frequent where I can pick up cheap contemporary books - last copy type stuff, or stuff that just doesn't sell as well as the publishers hoped. Usually end up finding at least one or two good deals - new hardcovers for 4 or 5$ type thing.

Dec 25, 2007, 1:57pm

I've somehow attained the complete works of Ernest Becker, a very provocative, Pulitzer-winning Canadian psychologist/philosopher who dealt with existential questions (death, evil, life's meaning) at various library sales and used book-stores for a median sum of about $2.

Dec 30, 2007, 8:43am

Ok, this doesn't really count, but I got a textbook for free because the clerk accidentally spilled his water bottle on my checkbook and he felt so bad that he ruined a bunch of my checks that he took the price off of one of my texts off my tab.

Yay independent bookstores!

Jan 27, 2008, 10:05am

I paid $0.60 for a copy of Silas Marner in a used bookstore, but it was in good condition. I think that was the cheapest book I've ever bought... I'm quite good at finding sales and great deals when it comes to books, here's a short list...
Sophie's World, $3.30
The Wings of the Dove, great edition, $2.50
The Return of the Native, $1.50
Howard's End, $1

And many more... I love used books :)

Jan 27, 2008, 12:30pm

I was thrilled yesterday to find an absolutely pristine hardcover copy of William J. Palmer's The Detective and Mr. Dickens, a fictionalized account of the relationship between Charles Dickens and his young protegé Wilkie Collins. It was $1 at the thrift store.

Feb 11, 2008, 12:32am

I snagged Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Soiled Doves by Anne Seagraves for FOUR DOLLARS at the thrift store!

Feb 11, 2008, 6:34pm

One of my dad's friends gave me a complete Oxford Dictionary when he moved. That thing is ridiculously heavy though, so I still haven't hauled it out of storage. I'm also a big fan of the Metropolitan Library sale in my state. It's takes the biggest building in the fair ground to hold it and they keep putting new stuff out all weekend. Plus the paperbacks are .50 and the hardbacks are a dollar a piece, or you can buy boxes of books for approx. 5 dollars by genre. It's pretty amazing.

Edited: Feb 17, 2008, 1:56pm

I just got a 1910 hardcover edition of Cyrano de Bergerac, in French, for $15 in Berkeley. It's gorgeous, with a ridged leather spine and beautiful swirly blue endpapers.

The inscription reads: "Scholarship price (sic) to our best French pupil in 1920 --J. Jobard"

I'm in love.

Feb 18, 2008, 2:58pm

I think I'm in love with that misspelled dedication :-P

Feb 27, 2008, 11:57am

I used to go to yard sales in high school Just for books and jigsaw puzzles (occasionally missing pieces, usually not--but the old ones seem to be so much better made in general). Now, I'm lucky enough to be in a department at a university. Every time a professor cleans out their office, or retires, there are stacks and stacks of free books in the halls--I've probably gotten two dozen interesting (and free) reads that way this school year.

Feb 27, 2008, 5:08pm

Mar 16, 2008, 12:52pm

i spend so much money on books that i got a library card again... personally i hate the library here because they have no idea what they are doing and always end up charging me late fees for books i returned after only week but so far my luck this time hasnt been too bad. but its also saving me a A LOT of money.... my other favorite place to get books is they have a great selection of used books for really cheap. Also Amazon has a good selection and thats actually where I discovered Powells.

Mar 17, 2008, 5:55am

I once bought a 1794 edition of 'Elegant Epistles' for $17 with its original covers. It is a collection of 'example' letters from Roman times right through to letters between the contemporary British aristocracy. It isn't really worth much more than that in terms of value, but WORTH is about so much more than money!

Mar 17, 2008, 9:19am

I just went booksaling Saturday (three big library sales) and came home with over 100 books — lots of poetry, classics, and YA fiction. And I spent a grand total of $31. That's 30 cents a book! :-D

Mar 17, 2008, 9:59am

I recently bought a little book with Shakespeare's Sonnets, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and one of the other plays (I forget which) for a dollar at a book sale. It was printed in 1897!

Mar 22, 2008, 4:14pm

I got an illustrated hardcover edition of Balzac's Droll Stories from 1939 in great condition for $5.

Mar 22, 2008, 11:37pm

My grandmother just gave me a first edition of Little Lord Fauntleroy. 1886.

I know it's not exactly a "deal" I scored, but man! She just started pulling books off the shelves, all of them ancient and in great condition, and handing them to me. I'm debating whether to try to sell some of them. I'm keeping the Little Lord Fauntleroy though. Damn!

Edited: Mar 23, 2008, 1:28am

My best friend took me to a used books store today (she knows me so well!) and I picked up 6 Beatrix Potter books for about $14. When we got home I looked at the copyright info, and the latest dates in them were 1918, 1931, 1933, 1935, and 1937. The 6th one doesn't have a date, which is weird because I suspect it is much newer than the others. The cover is shiny, and there is a hand-written note on the inside cover to a boy dated 1974.

ETA: I forgot that a couple of years ago I was given a set of 10 Washington Irving books, that I'm starting to think are first editions, or at least extremely early editions. I'm trying to figure out who I could take them to who could check them out for me.

Mar 23, 2008, 2:56pm

Best deal? Natives of Hemso, Gösta Berling's Saga and Mice and Men for about 1$. One of the tabloids in Sweden have this deal were you can buy an overpriced classic each week, but when they were getting started, they basically gave them away at a book fair to get people hooked. I got those three and intend to get other of the books in better packaging and at better prices.

Mar 29, 2008, 4:09pm

Good deals are terrible - they cost me too much money and they take up too much space in my appartment! Most of the books I buy are good deals: second hand, publishers overstock, library sales... Last year I bought 40 books in a library sale for only 20 euro. Mostly damaged ex-library copies of course, but still: some paperbacks from the 40's and 50's, some expensive reference works, and lots of small fun booklets. Sold by weight...

Mar 31, 2008, 9:38am

Sold by weight?! That's amazing! I love library booksales too. I might have mentioned this above (I'm too lazy to scroll up, lol), but I once found a pristine first-edition copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell at a library sale for $2. And just last week I found a book I have been looking for for years, Marian Potter's A Chance Wild Apple. I read and reread that book so much as a child, and I couldn't find it anywhere. I think it was 50 cents at the sale.

Apr 13, 2008, 6:36pm

The Art of Haute Couture by Laura Jacobs!
This book typically goes for well over $100 on Amazon and other used book websites (although I haven't checked Abe or Alibris in a while, they may sell it for cheaper there) which is pricey even for a fashion/photography book.

I managed to score a copy for only $6, including shipping. Man, that was a good day. :) $6 isn't cheap for a book normally, I admit, but for this particular one it was such a steal!

Apr 23, 2008, 12:43pm

Once got a cookbook for free in front of a thrift store.

Then, I bought my Giorgio Armani Guggenheim exhibit book from (of all places) TJ Maxx for around $10! I got to see the actual exhibit in person and, believe me, the book cost much more than that!

Also, I have to agree that library book sales are the best! Spoils me rotten with $1 and $2 books. Seems like I can't set foot in a Borders or Barnes & Noble's anymore...

May 5, 2008, 2:29pm

Here's the greatest find I didn't get: a matched set of the first three Horatio Hornblower novels in hardcover from 1939 for $1 a piece. A friend and I went to a library book sale, and I picked the other shelf. However, he's now my fiance... so perhaps I managed to snag them after all :)

May 8, 2008, 12:56pm

Mmmm. It's library booksale season. I went to one last weekend on the "All you can carry for a dollar" day. It's pandemonian, and somebody always manages to touch my ass. But if you fill your box and look at what you get later, there are always some amazing finds. When I got home I found two uncatalogued (meaning no library stickers. Awesome!), signed editions that looked unread.

May 9, 2008, 8:08pm

I've gotten my fair share of 50 cent and dollar books and even dollar bags at library sales and half price books but the best deal ever.... I went into a nice bookstore, some new some used, found this book by an author I've read before marked down to a dollar, it looked to be in great shape. I walked up to pay for it and the guy said I could just have it! So I said thank you and backed quickly out of the store.

May 9, 2008, 8:53pm

There's a guy on my campus who hands out free copies of the Bhagavad Gita. That's a pretty good deal.

May 14, 2008, 11:57pm

A Hare Krishna monk? They're on my campus too, I have a few of their publications. Not the Bhagavad Gita though, I have a different edition of that.

Jun 21, 2008, 1:12pm

I borrowed Madness Explained by Richard Bentall a few times from my library because I couldn't afford to buy it at the time. Then I found it on the sale shelf for 50p. I was rather pleased with that find. :)

Jun 24, 2008, 6:19pm

Gotta love those library sales. I've had a few good finds for 50 cents.

My best find, though, was a first US edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for $4 from the bargain attic at a bookshop in downtown Seattle. It looked like it had been up there for quite some time, but still in pristine, never-been-read condition.

Jul 13, 2008, 10:56pm

My library has an Honor Cart where you put in 50 cents for each book you take off the cart. I've gotten many deals, but my favorite is when I find a Margaret Atwood that I haven't read.

Edited: Jul 28, 2008, 1:51pm

I, too, love the library sales, but I don't usually find anything staggering at those. I just appreciate the prices!

My most wonderful find was a 1943 edition of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. This was the first english edition, translated by Katherine Woods. It is near perfect condition and I snatched it from someone on Amazon Market for a measly $12. I couldn't believe my luck. I've found it listed as high as $1000 for mint condition.

Jul 30, 2008, 9:05am

Just last night I found a wonderful little book called Elison's Music Dictionary, published in 1905, for just $1 at a library sale! It has any music term you could imagine inside, including words in French, German, Italian, and even Latin. The small size of it and the lovely faded green cover are endearing. This is my new favorite.

Jul 30, 2008, 9:30am

Perhaps not awesome deals but I think they're good.

A while ago:

Paid $2 - List $50 E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962, used but good condition. Library sale.

In the last two weeks:

Paid $35 - List $115 The Oxford Classical Dictionary, basically new except a small tear in dust jacket. Used Bookstore.
Paid $45 - List $75 The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics, brand new. 40% off coupon at
Paid $7 - List $49 Liddel and Scotts: An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded upon the 7th ed., Used in college bookstore.

Lately I'm feeling bad about my use of coupons, particularly at Borders. I'm only contributing to Borders' bankruptcy. I want there to be bookstores in the future so I think I'm going to stop. They have lost money on me this year. I don't think I've paid list price except at my grad school's very tiny bookstore, but it's the best I've ever been in. I'll miss it terribly after next year.

Jul 30, 2008, 1:23pm

Relatives have a habit of giving me old books without realizing their worth. I somehow ended up with a signed copy of a Padraic Colum Irish folklore anthology and Byron's complete works, publication date 1856. Both spines need some repairing, but aside from that they're in surprisingly good condition.

A friend of mine lucked his way into a first edition collection of Charles Dickens' complete works. Apparently the used bookstore owner had been trying to sell them for years and was so glad to find someone willing to take them off his hands that he sold the whole set for $20.

Aug 1, 2008, 11:24am

The local charity shop had ten books for a £1 and I got some books that I have been struggling to find for years. LJ Smiths Nightworld, Secret Circle books then I got cate tiernans sweep series (all 15!) and Anne Bishop. In all I spent a fiver on books and everyone was on my wanted list! Very pleased, except charity shop has never had anything of a similar nature since. (Though picked up some bargain retro knitting needles!)

Oct 13, 2008, 8:49am

I bought Prefects at the Chalet School a few years ago in a library sale for 10p and then sold it for £25 on Amazon, which was cool.

Oh, I love Cate Tiernan's books!

Oct 22, 2008, 9:30pm

I snagged a signed paperback of the White Dragon at a library sale for a quarter.

Although my favorite book buying moment came when I volunteered to help at a friend's bookstore during a local festival and was paid in books (A decent batch of Ian Fleming novels and an old James Branch Cabell hardcover I think).

Oct 28, 2008, 12:01pm

On our honeymoon in England this past August, my husband and I brought one suitcase, two book bags, and eight books. We came back... with significantly more, even considering the exchange rate - eight Osperys (a publisher of military history books) for $4 a piece (they list for $12+ usually) and three huge (but up to date) O'Reillys (tech books) for $2. The British Library also had some wonderful old maps of England for $1 each!

But the best finds were particularly unexpected: The gift shop for the Royal Naval museum in Portsmouth had a small selection of used books, so we picked up Mr. Midshipman Easy, Lord Hornblower, and Mr. Midshipman Hornblower all in hardcover for under $10 :)

Nov 20, 2008, 6:51pm

I'm in the Navy and the base I am stationed on has different schools. Whenever they change the curriculum they throw books out. They throw A LOT OF BOOKS out. Since I am in the group actually tasked with throwing away books I look through and take what I want.

I got Dante's Divine Comedy, Fahrenheit 451, John Grisham, Tim O'Brien, Frankenstein, The Great Gatsby, Gulliver's Travels, Lord Jim, Macbeth, North of the Rio Grande, Camus' The Plague, Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and The Scarlet Letter all for the price of free.

Jan 25, 2009, 4:45pm

I'm surprised no one has mentioed all the used 1 cent books on Amazon. I'm always browsing around and seeing what I can find from there.

Edited: Jan 27, 2009, 11:54pm

tag sales or garage sales or yardsales depending on where you're from...

second day (having scoped on day one) when you KNOW they don't want to take stuff back inside or haul it off... hitting the fill a bag for a Buck sales and then suggesting it to those not offering it... its a great way to bring home a treasure trove to split amongst friends...

when we've figured out which ones we want and which ones we don't we set those no pile aside... read what we want and then hit the book barn with ALL of the books (unless they are total keepers) we use the books as currency to get MORE books that would have cost us a lot more money... I've gotten hard cover, unread, John Grishams and Anne Rice and JD Robb among others for my mom and my friend scored Wicked and Son of a Witch that had been sold as a set still in plastic wrap for $5.

We have a great system LoL

BUT... I think perhaps my best best best book, has to be Lighting the Way by Al Gore's daughter... her full name escapes me. It was a present from her. My aunt and her are on a committee together and my aunt brags about me... well, Mrs. Shiffe (I believe that's her married name) showed up one day with a not only SIGNED but with a personal memo inside about me being an inspiring young lady with a bright future.

I cried.

Feb 8, 2009, 11:37pm

I found a hardcover, brand-new-looking copy of Jonathan Norell and Mr. Strange at a used book sale at my university's library for 50 cents. Yes!

Feb 12, 2009, 7:44pm

I bookmooched a 1913 edition of Edward Bellamy's 'Looking Backward'.

Mar 18, 2009, 7:35am

First Adition hard cover of Going Postal by Terry Pratchett for £1.

Mar 19, 2009, 4:07pm

I just received 40 books for free from a girl friend and the security guard at my work...she is spring cleaning and decieded to get rid of a majority of her books and my security guard only a couple years shy of retirement so he and his wife are selling/getting rid of a lot of their things before they go tour the world. I got a bunch of Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens...good stuff. :)

so in short my answer is: FREE!

May 28, 2009, 1:58pm

A 1965 copy of Dune for $1.25. Gotta love used bookstores.

Jun 1, 2009, 12:03am

One of my friends recently found a rare book with a roughly $200 asking price anywhere online for $15 buried in the basement of a bookstore in their "used" section. Words cannot describe his elation.

Jun 10, 2009, 7:37am

Outside the USF library, sometimes they'd have huge ex-library and used book sales. You bought a brown paper grocery bag for $4 and filled it up as much as you could. Awesome! And then you make your burly friend Roman carry them for you to your dorm.

Though, it turns out that I never really read any of the books I bought from those sales. It was more.. I couldn't NOT buy them, you know?

So, I guess the best deal I've gotten on a book was when I got 2 mass markets for free from Borders. Employee discount, coupons, and store credit. Kaching!

Edited: Jun 10, 2009, 8:52am

I found a translation of the Annals of Fulda at a used bookstore (might have been The Strand in NYC, I love it there so much) for about $5. That book can go for as much a.... OMG. It is on abebooks now for a whopping $850. Unbelievable. I didn't even know that when I found it, I'm just interested in medieval history and love monastery annals... So, when talking about getting an expensive book cheap, that's the one. Other than that I have gotten books very cheaply at ramsj sales (here in the Netherlands ramsj is like overstock from publishers).

Edit: I forgot my main source for good deals, the "White bookcase" at work (I work at a library). Any colleague can put a book in the case for any other colleague to take. Most of it is not my taste, but I have gotten some good ones from there before, like J-Pod.

Jul 29, 2009, 12:52am

I found a first edition with dustwrapper of The Chalet School in the Oberland a few years ago - bought it for 10p, and it's worth about £50. :)

Edited: Jan 9, 2010, 1:53am

I get used books for $1 often enough, but the best deal was $2.99 for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft from Barnes N Noble. Ordered it through the store, and even the lady at the counter was surprised at such a deal. :)

Feb 14, 2010, 12:40am

My story is similar to asukamaxwell's story. I picked up a copy of Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" for only $3 from a street vendor. I was shocked and beyond happy!

I've been looking for a copy of "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman" for a while now. I guess I should check out B and N!

Mar 6, 2010, 11:08pm

I'm not sure how much of a deal it was in terms of price vs value, but I paid 1.99 for a paperback Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone once.

Apart from that, there's a decent second hand shop in my home town that doesn't seem to know what its got. I've bought heaps of first editions and nineteeth/early twentieth century volumes for under five bucks.

Mar 6, 2010, 11:08pm

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Mar 6, 2010, 11:08pm

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Mar 9, 2010, 11:50am

I picked up a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Vol 2 at my church's thrift store sometime last year. I pretty much forgot all about it until I was planning to have a friend come over, and volunteered to cook something out of it (which, by the way, is a bit nuts to do on the fly). So I thumbed through and thought "Hmm! That's interesting, no edition notice..." so I very carefully took it out of my messy kitchen, and put it high up on a bookshelf, because, yes, it was a first. I eventually sold it on Ebay (around Christmas time) for $212.12 (don't ask me about the twelve cents, I don't know why). I did list that it had a handwritten price in it - which was what I paid for it: $1.

Mar 9, 2010, 11:54am

Nice, parelle!!

Mar 9, 2010, 12:38pm

Hmm, have to do some US dollar/South African rand exchange rate calculations here so this makes a bit more sense for everyone...

I used to work at a bookstore that was pricey but had awesome deals at sales - 50% to 75% off. And the staff discount of 30% still applied to those discounted books. But that's not the best part - towards the end of the sale whatever was left would be discounted by a further 50% and the staff discount STILL applied. So I'd get a huge pile of brand new books for under R200, which is about $26. One of the best buys was a boxed set of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books. It was priced at 35 pounds, (multiply that by at least 15 to get the cost in my currency), and I got it for a tenth of the price - about $5.

I recently went to a library sale and got a copy of The Vulture by GillScott-Heron for $0.13 The Solitaire Mystery by Jostein Gaarder for $0.40.

Edited: Mar 31, 2010, 8:35pm

While tutoring a student in his high school library in the mountains of NC, I walked past the discard pile and saw something called The White Boy Shuffle. I picked it up purely because of the title--the cover was plain black and I didn't bother looking inside. I got around to reading it one day, and it's been one of my favorite books ever since..the setting was in the same neighborhood in L.A. that I grew up in, and I could relate very well to the main character. Best find ever!

May 12, 2010, 11:40pm

Navakov's ADA- hardcover for 3 bucks.

Also, 42 hardcover Stephen King novels for 85 bucks. (Thank you craigslist.)

May 14, 2010, 12:32am

My best deal was on some manga I found at Hastings. Three volumes of Sailor Moon for about $4 each, which usually go for upwards of $60 if they're in pretty okay shape. The Hastings here kinda tends to do that, I see really rare manga in there all the time going for very little, but I'm not gonna tell them that.

But that was just money-wise. The other best deal I got was when I graduated from high school, the librarians there gave me the library's old copies of A Clockwork Orange and The War of the Worlds, both of which had been there forever, were kind of in tatters, and had been checked out only by me at least once a semester. They've got a pretty special place on my shelves now.

May 14, 2010, 12:58am

Got five like new Library of America books for $2 each at my college library's book sale earlier this year. One of them was even slipcased.

Jun 19, 2010, 7:11am

Shakespeare Complete Works, mid 1800s. Complete with copy of Will and Testament in back with ephemera dating to the mid to late 1800s.


Jun 19, 2010, 8:21am

Works of Ovid, 3 volumes bound into one (vellum binding) printed in 1662. Got it from ebay for US$90 from a guy advertising it as "old book with latin short stories"

Jun 19, 2010, 8:26am

79: That story is priceless.

Jun 19, 2010, 11:46am

79>>> That is amazing! Wish I could have found my Ovid collections like that! Some people just have no idea what they're giving away.

Jun 22, 2010, 11:25am

>79 J_ipsen:

Oy! I say, he doesn't have any other of those lying about, does he?

Jun 22, 2010, 11:33am

A folio society set, Empires of the Ancient Near East and one of their single books Birth of the Middle Ages for a total of ten dollars from a library book sale.

Aug 21, 2010, 1:30pm

Like-new copies of Abarat and Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War for $1.50 each at a thrift store!

Aug 21, 2010, 6:54pm

Illegitimately: the cashier not putting in the cents when he rang up my 1st year chemistry textbook. I got my $142 book for $1.42.

Legitimately: by some miracle, a new hardcover copy of America: The Book for $4.00. At a bookstore no less.

Mar 29, 2012, 2:48am

My local library is bursting at the seams. They were just awarded several million dollars to build an addition that will increase their book-carrying capacity 5-fold... but it'll be years before the thing is finished being built. They're under pressure to keep up with what's current in the literary world, so they buy a staggering amount of new books each month, but they don't have any extra space whatsoever. So what do they do? They somehow choose books that are least valuable to the library (i.e. hasn't been checked out a single time in over a decade, etc.) and pack them into enough crates to literally fill a good-sized conference room. Then they acquire a bunch of old plastic shopping bags, probably the librarians just save up all the ones they accumulate from personal shopping, and they place the bags in a container in the room. The books are then sold for $1 per bag. I've been able to fit 9 good-sized hardcovers into one of those plastic bags without it breaking or overflowing. And the thing is, a lot of the books they're selling aren't ancient books no one cares about. There's great demand for best-sellers right when they come out, and so the library always buys multiple copies of the most popular books each month. After a few months go buy and they aren't in constant demand, they keep 1 copy and sell off all the others. I check this room out often. Over the years I've gotten books like "Freakonomics" "The Assault on Reason" by Al Gore, and "Outliers" only a few months after they first came out, while they were still hot, and all in superb condition (because they had only suffered through a few months of lending, rather than years and years). I've also gotten some amazing books on art theory that I guess no one else in town had any interest in reading (who would ever want to read an art book that had no pictures?), but which were very interesting to ME. So... bestselling hardcovers for barely more than 10 cents. I'd call that a deal.

Mar 30, 2012, 9:03pm

Definitely when Border's closed. Every week for two months the discounts got better and better, and the last two days at my local store they were offering "20 books for $20." I made 4 trips buying about 5 books each time starting with 60% off and ending with 90% off. On the last day I bought 20. I ended up purchasing somewhere around 45 books total over two months, and I think I spent a total something like $100 on about $500 dollars worth of merchandise.

Some other more common advantages come with working for b&n and the occasional extra discounts we get for employee appreciation periods, and of course the monthly sales at my local library. Target and Walmart usually have good prices on paperbacks, but the selection is limited.

Aug 22, 2012, 11:51am

Once, I found a book of essays edited by Toni Morrison called Burn this Book... It contains the words of Pamuk and Pinter and Prose and Updike and Gordimer.... for only ONE DOLLAR!

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