Reader Question: How Do YOU Stock Up and Save on Children’s Books?

Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Children's Books

Check out this question from a reader –

In the fall, I will be starting my teaching career. I am trying to build my classroom library, but I am having trouble finding great deals. In Nashville, they have an amazing store with children’s books for less than $0.50.

Do you know of any other bookstores or websites that have these kinds of deals? If you have any other tips or ideas on how to build up my classroom library, please let me know!

Join The Discussion

Comments 142

  1. haworth1818

    I get mine from a few places:
    -half price books (especially during their sales)
    -library book sales (mine just lets you pay by the box on the last day)
    -Scholastic warehouse sales (I have never had to have any identification when I go to these despite them saying you need to be a teacher)
    -also sign up for newsletters from Scholastic – if you have a teacher account you get good deals. They have to ship to your school though. I got a bunch of books for a dollar a piece. They also have packages where you can get sets of brand new books for a good price.

  2. Rue

    I typically raid Goodwill shelves every few months. All the children’s book are always $.59.

  3. janet

    Library sales are the best! But some thrift stores sometimes have cheap books!

  4. Katie

    Facebook buy/sell groups in your area! People post used books in my local area in large lots for very cheap.

  5. Anthony

    The library surprisingly. My library has a donated book section where everything is a dollar! The books are in pristine condition! They even have a little library outside where people trade books and ask a donation of 10cents! It’s super cute

  6. Paige

    A lot of teachers use if you put an ad in for wanted children’s books, many mom’s or retired teachers will likely be happy to contribute and will leave them for porch pickups!

  7. Heather

    Most of our books are thrifted! I’ve found amazing books in excellent condition at the thrift store. I’ve had very good experiences with Better World Books and eBay too.

  8. Rae

    Thrift shops, and used book sales at the library. Typical prices range from .25 cents to .59 cents a book. We actually have too many children’s books now.

    • Shelby

      Too many books?! I didn’t know that was possible ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Ashley they have specials. I too had to do this and was lucky at a garage sale when they sold them for 10,cents!

  10. Ashley

    One idea would be to ask the librarian if they can select books that go with what you are teaching. In preschool we had themes and we could borrow 20 books for 2 weeks!

  11. Cat

    The thrift store is the best place for great deals on books! They usually have too many to get rid of so they sell them super cheap! If you are lucky enough to have a Goodwill Bookstore near you that is the best! The Goodwill runs them like a real bookstore. Nothing but books and all categorized! Love it! I stocked up one year on children’s Christmas books for our Christmas countdown. Many Goodwills also have their book stores online too so you can order them. Not sure on shipping prices though.

    Yard sales too are another good source for great deals on books. Good luck!

  12. Heather

    I find that small/independent thrift stores have the best deals (better than goodwill imo) on kids’ books. I have a local one that benefits a church that sells small kids books for .25-.50 and large ones for $1. Also the $5 books at Kohl’s are great too.

    • Esther

      Yes. Ours has book 10 for a dollar (ish). Every time, no matter how high my stack is, it costs $1.50. I always round I usually end up buying back books I already bought once or school library books they thought were easier to donate then return to the school library. I’ve even bought back some of our text books.LOL

  13. Jenny

    Here in Georgia, we have a store called 2nd and Charles. Not sure if located any where else..They have new and used books. I got my 7 yr old so many popular chapter books, each for around $1.50. It’s the used bookstore jackpot for me! Love it. My goodwill is usually picked over.

    • Esther

      Our goodwill sells on eBay as a first priority. Good books don’t even make it to the shelves ๐Ÿ™

  14. Heather

    I’ve seen people even request books on Freecycle. I donated about 30 children’s books when a teacher requested some on Freecycle.

  15. Workaholic i found college level books for so cheap my brother thought it was a joke.

  16. Amy

    My teacher uses the cleveland library for books in the class – you can take out up to 75 books at a time and renew 6 times and you can renew everything in your iPhone through their iPad app! My son has a speech delay so we read 3-4 new books a night this way. By the time you need to finally return your books you’ve had them out for months so the kids in the class are ready to move on to new books anyway!

  17. Lauren

    I don’t know if this is still going on, but 5 years ago when I lived in Dallas, Half Price Books had a “store” where they put all of the books that didn’t sell off clearance. On Saturday mornings, teachers could go in and pick up to enough books to fill two boxes for free. Sometimes we’d spend hours digging through the books. If this happens in other locations, it’d be great for any teacher!

  18. Kelbob31

    Tj maxx clearance is where I stock up. And goodwill

  19. Miranda

    If you have a “Once Upon a Child” in your area they offer very cheap books. Mine also has an ongoing sale if you purchase at least 10 books, all are 50% off.

  20. Angela V.

    If you’re on Facebook, post a request for books. A friend of mine did that last fall (she’s a kindergarten teacher), and received many books! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Christy

    I am a teacher with over 15 years experience. One word of advice… Be careful of getting books that are about school. It is very hard to get books that actually show students enjoying school. I have taught K-5 and was so worried about not having any books that I just took anything I could get. Shame on me because so many books teach kids to hate school, hate their teachers and parents, be rude to the teachers, make fun of other kids, waste food in the lunchroom, etc. I wish I had taken my time to get the classics and not all the books that cast school and family life in such a negative light. Also, borrow from your school library if you can!

  22. Lora

    Another site I like is it used to be free, now there is a small membership fee but you can put on your wish list up to 500 books. You send out a book which will give you credit for a book you want. I always look there first

  23. Amy

    Thrift stores! They often go on sale 4 for $1 and the thrift stores we frequent have huge selections!

  24. Jessica

    Sign up for a scholastic book club account. When students buy books you will earn free books. Especially as a free teacher. Wait until you find out what grade you are teaching. And there will probably be other teachers willing to donate old books from their libraries to you:

  25. Sara

    Thrift stores are the greatest, I got my niece tons of books there that were still in really good condition, looked new. Half price books I thought was a little pricey on used books and not a great selection. Library sales are the best, but they only happen a few times a year. I’m currently pregnant and trying to find board books for infants, those things are expensive. I found that TJ Maxx had them pretty reasonable for brand new board books.

  26. kaylan

    I am not sure if this was mentioned yet. We get free books monthly delivered to our door with imagination library. It is a free program that dolly Parton runs. Each of my kids 5 and under receive a book each month. Google it and check it out!

  27. Emily

    Our library has books 5/$1 and church rummage sales always have the best offerings. I got a giant box for $20 in the fall.

  28. Katie

    When I started teaching, garage sales were a big help to me. I taught at a very small school that did not have a library so I created a small one for my classroom. Many retired teachers have garage sales to move their teaching supplies, and through this I was able to add many books for my classroom. Other sources: your local library to check out and for library sales, the college you graduate from may allow you to check out books, lesson plans, and other teaching materials for your class for free, Scholastic Book Fairs, Thrift stores, Good Will, Dollar Tree, local churches sometimes have book sales with books donated from their congregation, eBay, and just by word of mouth. Let your friends and family know you are looking for books for your classroom, and they may have some fot you to pick and choose. Best of luck to you.

  29. Shelly

    By hosting an Usborne book party

  30. LaQuinta

    Library Book sales always have great deals!

  31. Candice

    Too bad you are so far away, but the Library of Congress does a surplus books program for non profit. You could go through you house representative or senator to get books sent to the school.

    Website information.

    I work there and all the books are free, children’s books are the big item we give away.

    • LindaK

      This is useful info. Thanks!

  32. Marni Friedman

    This won’t apply to many people, but some county Jewish Community Centers will sign kids up for FREE mailings of (Jewish themed) books. My daughter loves them and her non-Jewish classmates enjoy them at her show-and-tell days during Jewish holidays.

  33. Diane

    You mentioned a great bookstore in Nashville. Is it McKay’s? If so McKay’s are also in Chattanooga (where they started) and Knoxville.

    • Sara

      It is! I didn’t realize there was more than one! I absolutely love that place! I got about 100 books for less than $30!

  34. Amber

    If You are signing up for scholastic then you should use a referral code from another teacher it will give them points and you on your first order. I use to buy sets of their $1 books to beef up my choices for guided reading groups.

    I live near Raleigh and there is a warehouse that is open once a month to the public called the Dollar Book Exchange. You get to fill a bag of children’s books for a dollar. Also all the other books in the warehouse are only a dollar. Very time consuming digging through the bin but I love the price. The dollar books are sorted and on shelves which make it just like a book store at the fraction of the cost.

    A little advice to anyone getting used books always preview pages for writing, tears, etc. I wasted some money on books that were unreadable because of coloring in them.

  35. Wendy

    I used to work at a toy store in college and retailers might get Advanced Readers Copies (not for sale). I collected a whole bunch that I put in my classroom library. I also got books at the Scholastic Warehouse sale (use your tax exempt card). And our PTAs always had Book Fairs and we got free books from that too.

  36. Racquel

    I am a PTA President and we simply send out a flier asking for donations from parents. We get a ton of books every year.

  37. Pam

    The library here always has books for 25cents or under 1$ try that

  38. Piper

    Those of you in California’s Bay Area should check out the Book Nook at Hazel’s in Hollister. Great kids books are only 25c each!

  39. susan

    The last hour of rummage sales. Everything you don’t buy they have to pack up, so there is often a huge incentive to just give you the books. At one near us, you buy a shopping bag for $1 and get to have anything you can stuff into it. Also, a lot of schools have programs where teachers can create a wish list via scholastic or whoever they use to sell books and the parents will buy them for the class.

  40. visitor3

    Know your thrift stores. Prices vary, from 3 for a dollar, even 5 for a dollar. Garage sales on rainy days are cheap, as is late in the sale. Kids are very hard on books, so new is a waste in my book (pun intended ).

  41. Nika

  42. visitor3

    Dolly Parton gives free books. See hip2save posts.

  43. Tami

    Local consignment shops. I picked up a few like new books for $1 each.

  44. Sarah

    Library book store/sales!!!

  45. Kelly

    Oh goodness. I was in the same boat, starting my teaching career…I ended up with 1,700+ kids books, even had an app that kept track of each one so I could see if I already had it while at the store ๐Ÿ˜ณ it became addicting because I wanted every book in a series or every book written by an author, or books for topics, etc. I moved from NY to SC and brought every single one with me!

  46. Julia

    Next year when you are teaching, to celebrate birthdays instead of having children bring in treats have them bring in a birthday book for the classroom. Celebrate their birthday by reading the book and then the book becomes part of your classrooms library.

  47. JD

    1) Scholastic Book Fair, their big sales are great for stocking up on new books
    2) Better World Books, great used books (all the ones I’ve gotten have been , often have sales on their bargain books, 50% off of 5 bargain books

    BEST ADVICE: go to garage sales, the more books the better, (especially towards the end at closing time), tell them you are a first year teacher and you are trying to build your library, negotiate a price for all the books or an entire box or bin, you will get a better per book price, and the books you don’t want for reading can be used for crafting!

  48. em

    We have enormous piles of used (but like new) books. All of the kidlets are heavy readers. We never pay more than 25 cents, all from thrift stores, garage sales, etc. We buy hundreds in the summer and then donate them all to the school (what we don’t keep anyway). The teachers pick out what they want and then we pick up the leftovers (usually 100 or so) and dump at the public library for them to sell. Works out really great! We don’t do teacher appreciation gifts for every little thing (a giftcard at the beginning of the year and in January- prepaid Visa for supplies they need, in theory) so this is our way of giving back.

  49. victoria

    Our local libraries usually have days where they sell grocery bags full for a dollar..I live in southern maryland.

  50. Melissa

    Summer is coming and so is Garage Sale season. We have hundreds of books in my kids home library that mostly came from garage sales. Most people price them for between .25 and .50. Can’t beat that. I can not pass up .25 kids books. I have found many complete flash card sets too. And 95% of the time they are in great condition. Good luck and hope you find amazing deals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?