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Booked on a Budget

If you are anything like me, you probably love to read, and if not, well you’re just weird. Reading is one of the best ways to bring comfort and joy into even the most stressful of times. Whether you like to indulge in self help books, horror, or even some spicy romance, the sad truth is that we all know reading can be very, very unsustainable. The great thing though is there are so many alternatives to buying standard paper books and insteading enacting more eco-friendly mannerisms in the field of literature. This post goes out to all of my book nerds who love to read, but haven’t found a way to make it sustainable yet. 

Buy second hand books.

This one may seem pretty obvious, but I think a lot of us forget the simple task of buying previously used and owned books. While it may be satisfying to hold a clean and crisp new book in your hands, I can promise you it is not worth the waste it is creating. Buying second hand books is not only sustainable but inevitably much cheaper. In light of this, here is a guide to some of the best stores that sell second hand books all across the country. 

Half Price Books 

Half Price Books is a great place to look for secondhand books. The company can be found in 128 locations in 19 states throughout the nation. The in-store hours are 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The store sells both new and used books depending on what section you are in and they have an online website accessible at all times. To purchase used books on the website, click on the book and then there will be an option to purchase it either new or secondhand. Additionally, not only can you purchase from Half Price Books but you can also sell to them. Selling your books is a bit of a process but if you are interested, make sure to check out their website for more information. 

World of Books 

World of Books is another great option for second hand books. The store is predominantly online but this makes shopping convenient to conduct at any time. The store ONLY sells reused books which means that all books are a safe and sustainable option to purchase. World of Books is willing to purchase books, CDs, and more from you through a separate website called Ziffit. To find out more information about this process, check out their official website. 

Thrift Books 

Last but not least we have Thrift Books, the largest online seller of used books. This is a strictly online website where you can both sell and buy books at a reduced rate. There are a large variety of books that the store will buy back and to find more information about this, go to their official website, hover your cursor over books, and see what books they will accept. Thrift Books is a great place to look for second hand books and should definitely be on your radar. 

Get an e-reader.

Getting an e-reader is one of the most sustainable ways to read in the 21st century. It is also a way for those who have the need to physically feel the book in their hands to still have that feeling without wasting paper. With this said, here are the best e-readers out there for you to choose from. 


First starting off with the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle starts at $99 on Amazon and from there increases depending on the size and function of the given device. The Kindle has VERY high ratings that claim one of the best features about the device is its compact size. This allows the Kindle to be easily transportable whether it be taken in a purse or a backpack. Additionally the device's durability is second to none. It can have little exposure to water but is very scratch resistant and has a long lasting battery that can remain for up to a week. With this being said, to be able to access unlimited books, you will have to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. This purchase can be made through Amazon and is $11.99 monthly. 

Amazon Fire

Next up is the Amazon Fire. This purchase also begins at $99 with the price increasing depending on the amount of storage capacity and size of the device. It comes in a variety of colors including black, pink, and denim. Additionally, this device not only provides access to books but also the ability to house different household apps such as Netflix and Instagram. It can be charged in 3-5 hours and the battery can last for up to 13 hours total. This product is also offered in a children’s version with a durable screen in order to withstand force for a rowdy child. Last but not least it is important to note that to have access to unlimited books, you must be an Amazon Prime member. 


Now we have the Rakuten Kobo. This device comes in a large variety of different products and the prices can range anywhere from $110 to $400. The best Kobo is the Libra Colour which costs $220. This version can have a library of up to 24,000 books or 150 audiobooks and can even last multiple weeks off of one charge. The device comes with numerous setting options including options about colors, font size, and font style. To purchase a book off of the Kobo, you must go to their website where you can make up a cart where you can purchase it and sync it to your device through the bluetooth feature. The device is very compact and waterproof. To make the selection process easier, there is a section on their website dedicated to helping each customer find their perfect model. 

Samsung Galaxy Tablet

Last is the Samsung Galaxy Tablet which comes in up to six different model options. The prices are a bit higher for this brand ranging from $220 to $1,200. There are many different colors that the device comes in including beige, graphite, gray, silver, navy, mint, and lavender. The cheapest model by Samsung is the Galaxy Tab 9+ which weighs about 1.1 pounds. This tablet allows for data purchases and connections to wifi and also offers Samsung Care+ which covers an unlimited amount of device repairs and all other benefits for only $8/month. The e-reader has a long lasting battery life and all books can be purchased online and downloaded to the device for reading. 

Listen to audiobooks

Listening to audiobooks is another great way to make your reading sustainable. It is also super convenient and as easy as listening to music. You have the opportunity to read while cleaning your room, doing work, or even riding in a car. Here are four great apps to download to help you in your audiobook endeavors. 


Audible is one of the most used apps for audiobooks all across the world. For this app, a subscription is necessary but thankfully, you have two options to choose from. The first option is AudiblePlus which has a free trial for up to 30 days and then requires a monthly payment of $7.95. This subscription allows readers to listen to all kinds of books from a selection of originals, podcasts, audiobooks, meditation programs, and even sleep tracks. The other subscription is Audible Premium + which also has a 30 day trial period but then requires a monthly payment of $14.95. This lets readers enjoy all the benefits from the original subscription in addition to a plus 1 title per month from a selection of best sellers for you to keep.


Next up is Libby. This is an app that values saving money by giving users cheap options to listen to audiobooks. The only thing needed to get access to the audiobooks is a valid library card from your local library. The app allows for downloads in order for future online access and can also send books to a kindle of your choice. You will be allowed 6 free items a month with each checkout coming in at about $3 each time. 


Chirp is yet another great app to use to listen to some amazing audiobooks for less than $5 each. This app requires no subscriptions or fees and the only requirement is for you to create an account on the app and individually purchase each audiobook that you are interested in listening to.


Last but not least is Hoopla. Hoopla is a completely free app and super easy for users to navigate. The only requirements for this app is a valid library card and email address. Inserting these things into your app account will unlock an unlimited amount of audiobooks, comics, and more for you to read and listen to. 

Borrow books (from library or friend).

Borrowing books may seem a little less satisfying, but if you are helping to protect the Earth, it will just have to do. Whether you are borrowing your books from a library or even a friend, it is both a cheaper and more sustainable option. There are local libraries all across the nation. These small town and local libraries need your help to thrive and stay in business, so don’t look at this as a bad or second option. Additionally, if you have a friend that shares your passion for reading, make the effort to trade books with them instead of going out and buying a new one. Sometimes they may not like a series and they will let you have it or even just let you borrow it to read, either way, you are preventing another book from going to waste and aimlessly sitting on your shelf. Try to make an active effort not to let books go to waste by borrowing them from a library or friend. 

Repurpose your books.

There are numerous different ways to recycle your books that most people either forget or don’t even know about. Here are numerous different ways to make sure that your books don’t end up in a landfill. 

Sell them. 

This seems like an easy option that is commonly either forgotten or strongly disagreed with. While we all love to stare at the beautiful book shelves on our walls, once the books are read, they kind of become useless. Selling them is an easy way to make sure they do not become waste and also getting you some cash to spend at your local library or to purchase second hand books. 

Literally recycle your books. 

Giving your books a second life is a great way to ensure they still find use. It is definitely worth your time to look into local recycling programs in your area and take your books to their facilities. This can work for all books but is especially good when attempting to get rid of paperback books!

Use it as decoration.

If you are a bit on the crafty side, using your old books as new decorations is a great way to give them a new life. They can be set on a shelf, folded to present a name, or even utilizing the papers in a project to add a bit of flare. Whatever you decide to do, using books as decoration is always a good idea. 


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