Buying Books on a Budget

Our savings guide to help you buy books on a budget, from paperback discounts to affordable ebooks.

Woman choosing a book
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When buying books on a budget, it can be difficult to know how to save money. With costs of living increasing, we’re all looking to save but you can still leave room in your budget for reading. 

If you’re writing out your next monthly budget, it’s a good idea to include your discretionary spending in this. For some people, this can be gym memberships and for others, it might be reading. It can feel difficult to include in budgeting when the cost of living has increased energy bills, rent, and even transportation costs. However, if you are a book lover then you can still fund your reading habits without it costing the Earth. 

Like us, you might find yourself stopping by bookshops often and looking wistfully at the new paperbacks. We’ve created this savings guide to help you buy the books you love for a fraction of the price. 

Used Books & Charity Shops

Did you know that the average cost of a paperback book in the UK is set to be £12 by 2024? With this increase in price, it’s no wonder social media such as #booktok has been promoting used books and charity shop buys. You can even find paperbacks for as little as 99p in some charity shops.

If you’re looking for used books online, then there are plenty of shops you can go to. Amazon has its own ‘used’ option below most books listed, and you can even use one of our Amazon discount codes too. Other retailers include eBay, World of Books, and Abe Books. 

Whilst your book won’t be brand new, you can usually find ‘like new’ options. If you care about how the cover looks, this might not be for you. However, if you’re simply after a good narrative then used books can be a real money-saver. 

Choose an Ebook

Are you an ebook reader? Recently, ebook sales have dropped to 72 million in 2022. Yet, they are a fantastic way to get the same book usually at a much better price. If you already have an ebook reader you forget to use, why not dust it off and find your favorite authors for less? 

The average price of Amazon’s 100 bestselling ebooks did increase in 2020 to £3.06 (GoodReader.com). However, that’s still cheaper than a paperback. If you’re okay with reading from a screen, then they might be a good choice. It’s worth noting that even if you don’t have an ebook reader, you can download ebook apps such as Kindle to your phone.

For even better savings, be sure to check out discounted favorites or 99p deals on Kindle. You might even find a lesser-known title that you really love. 

Sign up for the Library

Libraries are the first port of call when reading on a budget. It’s completely free to sign up for your local library, and you’ll often be able to take out as many as 8 books at a time. Most libraries will even let you apply online now. As well as books, you can download free ebooks or audiobooks online too. 

You might need to bring specific documents with you or upload them online, such as a driving license. To find your local library, simply enter your postcode at Gov.UK.

Community Bookcases

Do you like walking around your local neighborhood? It might be a good idea to check for any community bookcases or converted phone boxes - these can be real hidden gems to a book lover! 

It usually works on the simple concept: you pick a book from the community bookcase and donate one you’ve finished reading. This way anybody can afford it, and you might get a stronger sense of community too. If you don’t have one, why not set one up in your office or local coffee shop? 

Supermarket Book Deals

Maybe you can afford to spend a little more on books but not too much. Supermarkets are one of the best places to shop for a good book deal. Most supermarkets now include a book section, with the latest bestselling books in fiction. 

ASDA regularly offers a 2 for £8 paperback promotion. Tesco similarly has a 2 for £9 deal, if you have a ClubCard. Aside from promotions, books at supermarkets are often discounted anyway. These mass market publishing deals with supermarkets mean you’ll find paperback reduced from £8.99 to £4.99 in some cases.

Budget Book Brands

There are plenty of wholesale book brand available for book lovers looking to save money. Brands such as The Works and The Book People are great retailers for heavily discounted books. 

So, how can these brands sell their books so cheap? They usually buy clearance stock from the publishers and sell it to you at a lower RRP than usual. These books are still the same high quality, there have simply been too many made. 

If you do purchase a book at The Works online, then use one of our The Works discount codes to save more.

Join a Book Subscription

If - like many of us - you tend to buy the latest books instead of ones you’ll actually read, then consider a book subscription. Some people do find buying books almost as addictive as reading, which is when a book subscription might help. Book of the Month is a subscription that will let you choose one book each month to be delivered to your door. They will send you a list each month of a few carefully curated books, including new authors, to choose from. One of the best aspects is you can skip at any time or choose a book previously added to their database.  

Ask a Friend

You might find your friends have books you haven’t read yet or would like to read. Whilst you might first think of Amazon, why not ask your friends instead? They might have the exact book you’re looking for or even a good recommendation. You can always return their kindness by giving them one of your books to borrow. 

Saving on Books

With the increase in paperback prices, it can be difficult to save when you love reading. However, these savings ideas are sure to help. You can always pick up one of our promo codes to save on your next read too. 

Becky Spicer
Health & Beauty Editor

I’ve been the Health and Beauty Editor here at MyVoucherCodes since March 2022. I love writing, and I’ve been doing it since my second year of university back in 2019, and what I love to write about most is beauty, skincare, health, protein, and wellness. On top of my work for MyVoucherCodes, I have a lifestyle blog on social media.

In my spare time, I enjoy heading to the gym, watching Love Island, and spending some time with a good book. I also have a degree BA degree in Creative Writing and English Literature from Bath Spa University.