Buying Used Books Series, part 2 of 4
Thrift stores are another source for used books. Stores like Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, Savers and Salvation Army, to name a few, usually have a variety of used books for sale. Thrift store hours are similar to retail hours. Many are open six days a week, some like Goodwill are open every day.
Like library sales, thrift store's supply of books is unpredictable. Sometimes, what you find can be surprising. The web site of St. Vincent de Paul has this to say about one of their stores in Madison, Wisconsin: "The bookroom at the St. Vincent de Paul Store on Williamson Street features thousands of titles organized by subject and author. Hundreds of additions are made daily. Everything from a 15th century manuscript in Latin on the history of Rome to two copies of the Gilligan’s Island Cookbook signed by Marianne have come through this store." St. Vincent has annual events like a Collectible & Contempory Children’s Books Event. Other thrift stores may offer coupons, like Savers, which sells a calendar for $2.99 with coupons and specials for every month. Goodwill offers a rewards card that you present at each purchase, earning points that add up to a savings off a purchase or free item. Goodwill also has a online site where you can shop for books etc., www.shopgoodwill.com, this is where you will find more expensive collectible books.
Books in thrift stores are usually just organized by general category. Condition is often very good and so are the prices. My neighborhood Goodwill charges .69 - $2.99 for adult books and .39 - $1.99 for children's books. With prices like that, thrift stores can be a good place to find books for reading, gifts or collecting. Keep in mind that selection varies and you need to check back often if you want to score. Most Goodwill stores introduce more than 2,000 new items every day, Saver's claims twice more than that. So if you don’t find what you’re looking for, check back another time because it's always changing.
Like library sales, you can be supporting a good cause when you shop thrift stores. When you shop at Goodwill, you are supporting job training and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. St. Vincent de Paul helps the homeless and those in poverty. When you shop at Savers, you help support many local community programs. Last, but not least, when you're done looking at the books, you can shop for other things.
To summarize: thrift stores can be a good source for used books. Their hours are similar to retail. Some have special events, promotions and incentives for shopping there. Finds can be surprising. Prices are low. Selection varies and changes, check back often. At many thrift stores you're helping others by shopping there. In addition, it's a green activity and you're buying local. You can buy other items there besides books. Just beware of one thing - there's a reason you see screen names like thrift addict and thrift junkie.