The best deal you've ever scored on a book
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I snagged a like new copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn at a thrift store for $1
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-
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...
But there have been so many good finds in my life... hard to narrow it down to just one.
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...
Well, I'm not really keeping my fingers crossed, or I'd have them crossed the rest of my life...
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 $5.
There's a couple stores I frequent where I can pick up cheap contemporary books - last copy type stuff, or stuff that just doesn't sell as well as the publishers hoped. Usually end up finding at least one or two good deals - new hardcovers for 4 or 5$ type thing.
Yay independent bookstores!
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 :)
The inscription reads: "Scholarship price (sic) to our best French pupil in 1920 --J. Jobard"
I'm in love.
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!
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.
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!
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...
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.
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.
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 Borders.com.
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.
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.
Oh, I love Cate Tiernan's books!
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).
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 :)
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.
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.
so in short my answer is: FREE!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Also, 42 hardcover Stephen King novels for 85 bucks. (Thank you craigslist.)
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.
Oy! I say, he doesn't have any other of those lying about, does he?
Legitimately: by some miracle, a new hardcover copy of America: The Book for $4.00. At a bookstore no less.
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.
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