The challenge is finding them
It's almost impossible to find a better bargain than used children's books.
I was an Economics major in college....
Here's the short answer!
I learned what a wonderful thing economic competition is.
It holds prices down. It gives consumers value for their money.
In some sectors of our economy, there's too little competition. Take the sale of new books for example.
The book publishers keep merging. As a result, there's too little competition and prices go up.
They've got the system beat
At least when it comes to new books. But where the consumer gets his or her revenge is in the used book market.
Used children's books in particular.
People tend not to throw books out. That means that most of the books ever sold are still out there!
When supply is high, prices come down
That's the magic of competition. Let's go online and determine where the competition is the highest and the prices the lowest. In other words, let's find the best children's book bargains.
Now you know about the used book marketplaces don't you?
Search for a kids' book on Amazon and in addition to new books, they'll offer you prices on a bunch of used children's books from a variety of booksellers.
Same book. Same title. But someone else read it first.
Other online stores offer the same service
I checked the online supply for one of my daughter's favorite kids' books, Fancy Nancy.
Barnes & Noble had four used copies, three of them expensive signed copies. Only one unsigned copy.
Alibris also had four used copies, three of them signed as well. Only one unsigned copy.
Amazon had 20 unsigned copies, and a good deal more "collectibles."
Let's see if the law of supply and demand works
does, Amazon, with the greatest supply and the greatest competition
among sellers, should have the lowest price. The envelope please...
Barnes & Noble: $14.50
I know, I know. I hate it too when the big guy wins. In this case, the winner gets a link:
Of course, there's a catch to all this saving of money
It's called "postage." The United States Postal Service doesn't have a lot of competition.
Not to mention that the booksellers count on making a profit on the "shipping and handling."
Check it out: for a book with a lot of supply, you'll see booksellers offering them for a penny. Seriously. Do you think maybe they're counting on making it up on the shipping and handling charge?
There's a right and wrong time for ebay.
The wrong time is when you want an individual book. The prices seem low, but from what I've seen, the postage (and insurance!) more than make up for it.
But here's the right time for eBay...
Let's say you want to start a children's book library
For home. For work. For a new parent friend or relative. You can buy a truckload of books from a single seller at a laughably low price.
That's when eBay makes sense. And here's where I tell you how to go about using ebay.
I just now played a hunch. I typed "find book sales" into a search engine. Sure enough, there's a website called Book Sale Finder - The Online Guide To Used Book Events.
It's official. There's a website for everything.
Book Sale Finder is what it says. Use it to find the where and when of used book sales near you.
Check out my discount children's books page for other ways to find used children's books and other children's book bargains.
And check out my children's bookcrossing page for a fascinating, newfangled way to
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.