Rare books may seem outside the boundaries of most gift budgets, but a special book can be one of the most meaningful gifts you can give to friends and family. Many have priceless memories of quality time spent sharing great literature. But great gifts don’t have to be expensive with our tips on saving money buying books this holiday shopping season.
Be prepared and shop early.
In the rare and used book world, pricing is all about demand. The more time you have to search for the right present, the better deal you’ll get. Don’t worry if you think you are running out of time! There are other ways to save and pick out the perfect gifts.
Set search parameters
Spending a little time browsing all of the available options will ensure you get the perfect gift at the right price. Using our ‘Advanced Book Search’ function, you can set parameters around many options, including a minimum and maximum price.
Consider shipping time and cost
Our booksellers are worldwide – meaning there are probably some near you! Choosing a seller within your area saves time and money. Many sellers even offer discounts on shipping for multiple items in the same order, as well.
That said, as the holidays approach, the cheapest method is only sometimes best. If you cut it too close, your present won’t arrive, and you’ll spend time and money trying to replace or return it. So make sure to plan accordingly!
Buy used books to save on gifts
Although a used book does not sound like a desirable present, a sentimental vintage book does. There are many ways vintage books can be thoughtful gifts. Whether someone is already an enthusiastic collector or not, you can generally find something interesting for everyone on their list.
It is essential when shopping for used books to consider the condition. In most cases, it may be the most important aspect of the description and the item. For used books, there are various descriptions, ‘As New’ or ‘Fine’ being the best, and ‘Very Good’ also suitable for gift-giving. Conditions such as ‘Good,’ ‘Fair,’ and ‘Acceptable’ are lower grades and, in most cases, avoided as options for presents unless the item is exceedingly rare and not available in better states. The same goes for Ex-library and Reading Copies.
Buy alternative versions
If a signed first edition is outside the budget this year, try a signed later printing or a first paperback edition. If your loved one is a fan of a particular author, and their most famous work is expensive, try a signed copy of a lesser-known work as a special gift.
Know who you’re buying for and why.
The heart of gift-giving isn’t about the money at all. The love and thoughtfulness behind an intentionally chosen gift show someone you care. A gorgeous copy of a thought-provoking or sentimental title can have a lasting impact on the receiver, regardless of the price.
Amy C. Manikowski is a writer living in Asheville, NC.