As parents, we all want to instil a love of reading in our children. Reading not only opens up a world of fun and imagination, but also one of curiosity and learning. For some, this desire to pass down a love for the written word can be impeded by a lack of financial means; fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get cheap (or even free!) children’s books.
Swap ‘Em Out
Whether you’re looking for something new to teach your child, or you’re simply tired of reading the same old books over and over again, consider swapping out some of the tired titles with family, friends or neighbours. There might even be someone in your “Mommy (or daddy) and Me” group that might also be looking for someone to swap books with. If there aren’t (or you’ve already exhausted that supply), there are online book swapping sites like BookMooch, PaperBackSwap, and bookswap.ca that you can take advantage of.
The Library – Yep, They’re Still Around
Perhaps the most obvious entry on this list is the local public library. Generally speaking, library cards are free, requiring little more than proof of address; though some libraries may charge a small initial fee for the card. Having said that, this fee is negligible given the row after row of children’s books available at your disposal. The library can also serve as a low-cost family outing; many have games and puzzles for in-library use, and have scheduled storytimes.
Book Outlet — Selling Books at Up To 90% Off the Sticker Price
Established in 1990, online bookstore, BookOutlet offers a large selection of greatly discounted children’s books in Canada. They also have the largest selection of Canadian children’s book authors, including Robert Munsch and Margaret Atwood. Best of all, you can shop from the comfort of your home.
The Little Free Library
If you haven’t noticed them in your neighbourhood already, you might soon. Founded in 2010, The Little Free Library is a non-profit organization that promotes a love of reading and helps bring communities together. The Little Free Library is a small, colourful box that sits on a person’s lawn and contains a handful of books that anyone can borrow free of charge. There are currently over 75,000 Little Free Libraries the world over, and more are popping up all the time.
Craigslist and Kijiji
These online classified services can be a treasure trove of children’s books. On Craigslist and Kijiji, you can find people that are looking for a good home for all of their gently used children’s books. These types of services provide a marketplace for apartment dwellers or people not otherwise able to host a garage sale or transport their items to the local second-hand store.
The Local Flea Market
You never know what you might find at the flea market. Though the stock may vary from one week to the next, if you’re the type of person that likes hunting for a bargain, the flea market is a good alternative to purchasing books from a retail store.
A Few More Options
If the previous entries on the list didn’t inspire you, here are more to consider.
- Second-hand stores
- Ebay (and other online marketplaces)
- Free Kindle downloads
- Book clubs
Children’s books can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Taking advantage of the strategies listed above can help you and your child explore many different worlds and adventures at little to no cost to you. The question is, what are you waiting for?