My all-time favorite hobby is reading.
I was a sickly child. Not serious sickness - just lots of allergies and I caught everything I was exposed to. This left me indoors more than the average kid. The only way to escape outdoors without the consequence of more medicine or being miserable was through books.
Libraries have always been one of my favorite places. We've lived in several states and a few different countries...and you can bet I know where the library was. As a matter of fact, I can remember the first time I was considered old enough to walk to the library all by myself. It wasn't very close to home...but it was on a closed military base so there wasn't too much for my parents to worry about. I LOVED that library....and the freedom I had to go check out more books.
Several of the places we have lived over the years have not had good libraries. That is just such a crime! If you can't read, you aren't going to go far. Without a good library to encourage kids to dive in and read, some kids will never do it.
Our current library leaves alot to be desired. There are several branches, and I bounce around between them to try and find new stuff. I also used to use the intralibrary loan all the time. I do mean all the time since this library leaves so much to be desired. Then they started charging to loan books that way. I stopped.
Used book stores are also one of my all-time favorite places. I love the smell of books! New bookstores are cool too....but they lack the character of the resale shops. Again, here I don't have that. I did find one about a year ago but it is rather small so it has books all over the floor and everything so that you really can't even get to stuff. Better than nothing...
Since living here I have discovered many alternate ways to get books. I'm going to share those today for my friends that really love books and don't have a library to rely on.
The most obvious would be the purchase places online. I'm talking resale...not necessarily new. You have your big names like Barnes and Noble and Amazon. That's fine but you can do better than that. If you are looking in those places, check Overstocks.com first. They have alot of the same books as Amazon (and thats where some of their stock comes from) for less.
Some of the used stores include the big names such as Ebay and Half.com. I find both of these expensive once you add shipping. Now, I hate paying shipping, but if you are in a situation like I am, you just have to do it. The shipping costs me less than a trip to Austin or Dallas to Half Priced Books (which I LOVE and have for 20+ years).
I usually skip those online stores and try Abebooks or Alibris . I have found many hard to find books at both places for great prices.
Since moving here I have discovered the book trading sites. This is where I get most of my books now. The ones I use are all different. Some are trade one, request one. Some are trade two, request one. Some deal completely in points by what they say the book is worth. All leave you responsible for the shipping cost (media mail). My top 3 to date:
PaperBack Swap - this one seems the most fair to me. You give a book, you can request a book. You pay postage for the books you send out.
BookMooch - this one I use the most. It is a 2/1 ratio where they want you to have given 2 to request 1. I dont think they actually stick to it though as my ration is more even. Again, you pay the postage on the books you send out, not request.
Bookins - this was the first trading site I ever used. They are different in that each book is worth points. They also require a credit card as you print off the label from the site and mail the book and they charge you a straight fee for shipping whenever you request a book. You don't pay for the ones that are requested from you. BUT, since the postage charge is $4 something...its like paying for 2 books as media mail is about $2.38 for a regular sized book. What I love about this one is that I don't ever have to go to the post office for a request or send - you print the label and mail. So the convenience is great...but it's not the most frugal choice.
So there you are friends. If you are looking for some places to trade or purchase hard to find used books....that's what I have for you! Hope you enjoy as much as I do. (I also hope our next destination has such an awesome library system that I don't need these guys anymore!)
So now I'm going to go and grab my current book and curl up in the fat chair with the dog and read. First I'll daydream about the library I hope to have one day....