Languishing at No. 84 on your library’s wait list for the latest Jodi Picoult is no fun. Explore one of these other ways to save on books.

By Sara Nelson
Updated May 15, 2009
Josephine Schiele
  • Consider an electronic reader. Amazon’s Kindle 2 ($359; shown) and Sony’s Reader Digital Book PRS-505 ($300) are thinner and faster than their predecessors. It’s an investment, but a reading device will eventually pay for itself: Most new-release downloads cost $10, and thousands of books printed before 1923 are in the public domain and downloadable for free.
  • Visit swap sites. Register (usually for free) and exchange titles with other members. You pay only for shipping. Try,,, and
  • Start a book-exchange group. Get friends and neighbors together to swap beloved titles over wine and snacks. Or ask a community center or a local café to set up a “lending library” shelf where people can trade used recent releases on the honor system.