Books are good for kids. I'll spare you the part that should go here where I tell you all the reasons why. If you're reading this post it's because you want books for your kids, so I'll get right down to it!
I know that many of you utilize the library or used books stores to get reading material for your children, but we prefer new books of our very own. And since we are not paying for preschool, I have a bit of room in our budget to stock our shelves.
My target price is $5 or less for a hardback book, $3 or less for a paperback or board book. I may spend a little more than that if it's something from a series or author we love, or if I think it will be a big help for our weekly themes. After I buy new books, I keep them in a box (err....actually 3 boxes) in my closet where I can easily see and access them. Then, before each of our theme weeks or before birthdays or holidays, I just look through and pick what I need.
Here are some great ways that you can find NEW, QUALITY children's books.
Brick and Mortar Stores
Without a doubt, I find most of our books at brick-and-mortar stores. Once every month or two, I'll carve out a couple of hours and 'make the rounds' to the stores where I know I'll find good deals. I try to bring a list of our upcoming themes and upcoming birthdays so I can be on the lookout for things that would be especially appropriate. Your town obviously has different options than mine, and it may take a bit of searching, but hopefully you can find places similar to these.
- Ollie's Bargain Outlet- If you happen to live near an Ollie's then you have hit the jackpot in terms of books. Ollie's has a HUGE selection of children's books, with paperbacks priced as low as $1 and brand new hardbacks for $4. The first time I went, I almost squealed out loud when I saw their children's book department. I have to limit my visits to 2 or 3 times a year!
- T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross- Their regular books are not cheap enough for me, but their clearance section is. Try to go immediately after a holiday, when they put many of their holiday themed (and other) books on clearance.
- Kohl's- Every several months, Kohl's releases a set of hardback books to benefit their charity, Kohl's Cares for Kids. These are usually known titles by prominent authors, they're sold for $5 each, and the proceeds go to a good cause. Perfect! You can check on their website to see what is currently available. Bonus tip: When new books are released, if you can get to the store quickly they usually have the remainder of the previous stock available for half price- $2.50! In recent years, they've had the Skippyjon Jones series, Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Peanuts, and Clifford.
- Jo-Ann- The selection of children's books at Joann is small, but you can use their (and their competitor's) 50% off coupons. I've used this option before when I wanted a particular title that I knew they had that I couldn't find elsewhere.
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is a free program available in many areas that sends one book a month in the mail to your child from birth until age 5. My girls LOVE their 'Dolly books' and we've been introduced to several great series this way. Sometimes we receive duplicates of books that we already have, and when that happens we pass them along to my sister's family since they live in an area where Dolly's program is not available.
Our friends and family know that we love receiving books, so for each birthday and holiday we are able to add several to our collection. I try to have a few titles in mind so that if anyone asks for specific ideas, I'll have something to tell them.
Online Deal Sites
- Groupon often has sets of children's books at a decent price. Again, you'll find the best deals around the holidays.
- Zulilly occasionally runs sales of children's books. The prices aren't great, but if other options aren't available to you, they can be a good deal.
One way to get the most bang for your buck is to purchase collections or treasuries of stories rather than individual books. Many great children's authors have treasuries available. Your children still have access to all the great stories and characters, but you'll save a bundle by purchasing them in one collection. These are usually worth the full price, but are even better if you can find them at a steep discount and are often available at some of the brick and mortar stores discussed above. It can also be a good idea to put some treasuries on your wish list for other people to gift to your children.
Some of our favorite collections (with Amazon affiliate links for your convenience) are:
- Eloise Wilkins Stories (Little Golden Book Treasury)
- Six by Seuss: A Treasury of Dr. Seuss Classics
- Mike Mulligan and More: Four Classic Stories by Virginia Lee Burton
- Make Way for McClosky: A Robert McClosky Treasury
- Five Little Monkeys Storybook Treasury
- Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose: One Hundred Best Loved Verses
Amazon is not usually my first choice for book shopping, but you can definitely find some good deals. Many board books are available for $4, and you can find quality paperbacks for $5 or $6. During the holiday season, many books are available as part of their 'lightening deals'. Last year I found 2 new quality hardback books for $5 a piece, and the year before that I bought the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House 9 book series for around $20. The key to good bargain hunting with Amazon is to check frequently, since their prices change often. Try searching for their Bargain Books, and check out the Lightening Deals every day.
What can you add to this list? Tell me how you find great deals on children's books in the comments below!
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*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.*