Friday, November 30, 2007

Netflix for Books? Maybe! Or Just Go to the Library

Read bestsellers for less. That's the idea behind a book rental plan that works like Netflix. It's called and the service was featured in the November issue of Real Simple magazine.

The plan works like this: Bestsellers and other titles, including classics, are available for a monthly fee. You can rent two books at a time for a monthly fee of $15. ( You can read as many titles as you want during the month, but are limited to two books at a time.) Or up to 11 books at a time for $36 a month. No shipping fees and no late fees, which can add up at the free public library if you're not organized. The library is still the cheapest option for bookworms.

But here are my other favorite sources for frugal books:

  • garage sales
  • thrift & used bookstores
  • friends & families
  • informal lending libraries in building lobbies, lounges, etc: Take a book/Leave a Book
  • remainders tables at bookstores
  • Community book fairs. I've found great bargains on the last day of street fair/book fairs. The vendors heavily markdown their merchandise
  • sidewalk sales
  • hospital, library and other non-profit book sales
  • Craig's list
  • estate sales
  • curb-side cast offs

Here is a great piece on tapping into used book stores: From Brip Blap: Saving Money on Books and here is a piece about New & Cheap Books!

And finally, here is a short list of a few of my most popular posts for the week:

10 Signs of Secret Debt: Borrowing Money, But Deny...

Medical Tourists: A Near-Fatality & A Waitress Who...

Be a Gypsy in an RV: Late Bloomers Guide to Saving...

16 Odd & Useful Storage Ideas: .

Beyond Bag Ladies: Financial Road Kill Dangers

10 Reasons Why I'll Work at Starbucks:



The Frugal Duchess Booktique
The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store

Book Shop of Fear
The Poetry & Drama Queen
Frugal Jazz & Blues
Frugal Comic Book Connection


Book Calendar said...

I found the idea of Bookswim very interesting. It is the returning part that gets me, I would send the item return receipt requested to make sure they don't just charge you for never returning it. Also what is their policy for returning damaged books. It looks a little funny to me. Most bookstores don't have this kind of service anymore for a reason. It is not particularly practical. Going to the library would be the best bet in the end. Patience pays off in dividends, put the book on hold if it is not there.

Sharon Harvey Rosenberg said...

Hi Book Calendar:

Thanks for your comment. You're right: Go to the library and wait for bestellers. Patience is the best option.
Another option: I have a friend who buys bestsellers at a discount at Costco.

About damaged books, here is the policy.

" If books are returned in a damaged condition, BookSwim has no choice but to charge the book's list price plus the cost of return shipping to your credit card.

'Fess up!! If you think you may have damaged a book, let us know through our contact form before you try to mail it back. We will reward your honesty by only charging you the book's USED* value. You won't have to incur any shipping charges and you don't need to send it back to us. We understand mistakes happen -- we promise we won't be upset!"

Brip Blap said...

Thanks for mentioning my article, Sharon! I hadn't heard of Bookswim before either, but it's an interesting idea. I have a Netflix subscription, and I think book calendar's question can be answered by my experience with Netflix. Netflix doesn't give you any grief if the disc is returned in bad condition, because they know that the cost of replacing the disc is less than the cost of losing a customer. I had two discs arrive damaged, and each time Netflix just sent out a replacement disc, no questions asked. I'm sure if I reported 15 books damaged a year, Bookswim would get suspicious, but if you have 1 or 2 with slightly torn pages or whatnot I'm sure they forgive it.

And I agree about the library, but I really despair of getting recent titles from my city's libraries. They are underfunded and don't carry - for example - any personal finance books from the last decade. So while I would love to never buy a book again, it's just not practical unless I want to restrict my reading to pre-1997 (which is unfortunate)!

Steve (brip blap)

Frugal Duchess said...

Hey Steve:

Thanks so much for your response. Your info about Netflix is helpful.

And you are so right about libraries. They have become so underfunded. One of our neighborhood libraries has a free tutoring service for students, but the program was scaled back a bit because of budget cuts.

Once again, I appreciate your comments. Great info!

Best Wishes,