If you know anything about me, you know that I'm practically obsessed with books. I'm obsessed with books because I'm obsessed with knowledge, and the fact of the matter is that you simply cannot commit to true education without books. From nearly the beginning of time until now, the written word has been used to convey information to the current, as well as later, generations. Even our Heavenly Father himself spoke to his people through a book. Don't you think he could have done it through a song, or even a movie if he had wanted to? Of course. But he didn't. He used simple marks on paper. There is indeed something special about the written word.
That said, I buy books for two reasons. The first is, clearly, for myself. You won't ever see me buy books on sports or snatch up the latest Harlequin romance novel. Instead, you will see me drooling over the latest paleontology publications, buying histories, and trying to track down pure editions of the great military strategy manuals. You will also see me pay attention to the books of my opponents, up to and including using their own literature; subjects ranging from false religions, to Evolution, to aliens are represented. I even once bought a cheap (used) copy of The Communist Manifesto (which then strangely disappeared, never to be seen again--weird). You won't find much fiction; I'm not into much of it, and if I'm going to buy it, it has to be good (a good start is G.A. Henty). All this reflects my desire to build an archive. Did I mention that I also have a massive magazine collection and also buy documentaries? I'm "obsessed" with learning. I told you that. This is all part of it. I won't quit.
The second reason is more properly expressed by men such as Douglas Phillips (see here). When I pass from this earth, I don't want to see my library broken up and sold. I don't want to see it disseminated and passed out to thrift shops and public libraries. I want it to go to people who care. My library is also for my children; my library is also for my sons. My archival nature will then be a great store of knowledge and learning which they will grow up with and one day inherit. I hope it will be a treasure to them. I am not in the business of collecting James Patterson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. I'm not interested in comics or manga, Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter. I may receive some flak for saying this, but I do not classify those who merely collect little stories and tales and few other sorts as true library builders. A true library is knowledge-centered; pursuing a fiction collection is fine and may be well enough for the purposes of said person, but it is not a real, multi-generational educational tool. Therefore, it is not truly a library. No doubt, some fiction is great (and some even a must), but I believe such things should be an accessory to a library, not the backbone. Analyze your books (You do have books, don't you?), and classify accordingly. Do you have mostly fake stories, or books that would bore the average pagan bum? (Because if you're boring the average pagan bum, you might be on the right track.) Analyze the reasons you buy books. Refine them if you wish, or keep them the same; that is up to you, not me.
Now let's set the philosophizing aside now and get down to business. With all my countless hobbies and interests, building my library always takes precedence. But I am certainly no Bill Gates, and clearly I am not even to be considered "wealthy." I'm not in love with my own "experience," but after doing this from my early teenage years on I have picked up a trick or two. This post is intended to help other believers, youngsters, or those possibly just learning the value of a manly library (or a feminine one, if you so choose!). This is a how-to guide on buying books on a shoestring budget. Take note, kiddies! This will be the first time I fully discuss all of my shady bibliophilic methods (ha!).
- For everyone, everywhere, Amazon.com is one of the best book retailers out there. With a vast selection, including books you can't easily find elsewhere (they are the source I rely on for paleo books), competitive prices, and easy qualifications for free shipping, Amazon is the library builder's friend. I just placed an order a few nights ago (using a free gift card I got via the Wells Fargo credit card rewards program--free books!), buying both Amazon-direct books (with free shipping) and books from some individual sellers (kind of like eBay). This can all be done in one simple transaction although shipping will be charged by the sellers (clearly). Take a browse, Amazon.com. Check for your kind of books, or, take a peek at my Amazon store and see what I offer (fellow blogger Gravelbelly's store is also worth note--but please make use of the category listing on the right-hand sidebar for both of our stores, it's easy to miss it). Either way, if you aren't already, you need to get acquainted with Amazon! (Note: Amazon is also a simple, cheap way to buy magazine subscriptions, DVDs, CDs, and even MP3 files.)
- For those who have access to urban areas, try to find stores such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. While their prices aren't normally as good as Amazon, a fair portion of my library has been built by consistently hunting their bargain racks. Often bought at closeout prices by such bookstores themselves, Barnes and Borders offer them for great deals and there isn't anything wrong with the books at all (for instance, they aren't necessarily worn, damaged, etc.). Likewise, watch their sales, and consider signing up for their discount programs and such. A consistent and relentless shopper is a good shopper. You may just find some treasures. I once found a dinosaur book I had never seen before and never seen since, nor never heard of outside of the book itself. I got it for $6 and love it to this day.
- Keep an eye out for "used" bookstores associated with public libraries. Often called "Friends of the Library" stores, they received donations from the general public and can sell them at a ridiculous bargain. Often run by volunteers only, this keeps the price down but causes customer service to drop (so don't expect too much help with finding that one book you've been wanting...). Expect old books but not too old (even an unacquainted novice will snatch that and mark it up high), expect them often in bad shape, but with prices such as $1 and even $0.50, how can you go wrong? At worst, you can one day replace the book if you find a better copy and you'll be out a buck or so. What's the big deal? This is a fantastic way to build libraries on a limited budget; countless of my own books have been purchased this way, some of them a little higher in price, some not. I have found some good treasures, and have also found countless magazines from ten to twenty-five cents. If you have access to any of these stores, use them. Shop often and shop relentlessly. Befriending the volunteers (old ladies in my experience) also has it perks, my experiences prove.
- Look up local used bookstores. I've used this method with only limited success; I don't always find what I'm looking for and am rarely willing to pay their high prices for old and worn goods, but once in a while, it's worth it to keep your eyes peeled. And if you're looking to get rid of any old books (hopefully this practice will not be too common for you?), try to find a store that will at least give you store credit for your donations. You can at least find something, I hope (if you're a library-builder, something or other should be suitable). I once obtained an old TIME magazine with a dinosaur cover in this way. Likewise, never judge a book by its cover! I once lived near an Asian strip mall and only entered what turned out to be a Japanese used book/DVD store after a recommendation from another bookseller. They paid me cash (via a little blue dish, ha) for a lot of the old books I wanted to discard; not store credit, cash! Things are not always as they seem. (But please note, if you use this method, don't browse anything you can't read. That day marked the day that I learned just exactly what was inside of many mangas. :-O)
- And finally, you must use your own judgement. Find ways to purchase the books that you want that will work for you. For example, Vision Forum often sells the kind of books that I want and will purchase. They are competitive in their pricing but not dirt cheap (the enormous Amazon might beat them a couple of dollars), but I like to buy from them to support them, and if you watch their very frequent sales, you can get some amazing deals. I've gotten away with some real steals from them. For example, while it's not books, take a look at this. Unbelievable deal? I'd say! I also like the books that Paladin Press and American Vision sell. And just a few months ago, I took advantage of economic distress and unashamedly snatched books up for pennies at a closing bookstore (I got one for thirty-three cents, literally). Don't feel bad about it! So, basically, just keep your own gig and mind, and practice accordingly. Think, watch, strategize, and act!
So, let me know. Do you have any tips of your own? Have any of mine been helpful? Make sure to tell me!
48 minutes ago