Saving Money: On Books - Bookcloseouts

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by Robin

Soon you will be able to learn about our whole "Book Buying Strategy", for today we are featuring one key element.  For years I have been telling friends, family and colleagues about this fabulous site for books: Bookcloseouts.com.  They carry a wide selection of books that were sent to them by the publishers to clear out.  They may have small scratches or dents.  In our experience the flaws are quite minor. Mostly the books are overstock from bookstores.  We like them because their prices are low and their customer service is really good.  Delivery is usually within a couple of days, which is just as good as the bigger online bookstores.

Here's some ways we have used Bookcloseouts:

  1. Kids books.  Toddlers cannot be trusted with books (among many, many other items - toilet paper comes to mind).  With toddlers, books get torn, sucked on, dropped, drowned, drawn in, left behind, hidden and loved to pieces.  I was always too afraid to trust library books to our toddlers.  But we value reading too much to deny them books.  This was when we discovered Bookcloseouts.  Our house was strewn with books for the kids to enjoy and we didn't need to stress about them.  You can search their site by age group and format (e.g. "board books") to find the right books for your family's ages and stages.
  2. Birthday Treat Bags.  My daughter was an origami nut about the time of her last birthday.  For her party we gave each child a "Page-a-day" Origami Calendar.  Each page was a different origami paper with instructions.  I got each set for $0.99.  I think the kids liked them a lot (not sure how the parents felt about 365 new pieces of "art" in their homes though).  
  3. Kids Activities.  Each summer I go to this site to collect books and activities for down time, rainy days and car trips.  We are fans of MadLibs for car trips.  There a lots of craft books, too.
  4. Ideas and Instructions for projects.  They have a vast selection of DIY books.  Many can be borrowed from the library, but some are nice to own.  You can search by publisher, for example Taunton Press, our absolute favourite for reno and design projects.
  5. Gifts.  You can search the site and find "Books with Toys", both plush and "other".  I've found beautiful bedtime books with a stuffed toy included.  I also found books that are kits for making things, like paper airplanes and jewelry.
  6. Travel Guides.  For our last trip we found a couple of tourist guides here, one with a pull out map that we carried around with us.  The total cost of all the books was less than we would have paid for the map alone.
  7. Cookbooks.  At the time of writing this there is a 25% off sale on Cooking, Food & Wine books. There is a themed sale on most of the time.  Right now there's also free shipping with a purchase over $35 to North America.
My only significant criticism of the site is the search engine.  They have improved it quite a bit since I first found the site, but it is not as user-friendly as you would find from Amazon or another mainstream online bookseller.  It takes a bit longer to find what you're after, but there are significant savings once you get there.

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