Where can parents go to find free or cheap books?

Children need books. Lots of them. But children’s books can be expensive and, as I learned a while back, finding free or cheap books can be a struggle.

A few summers ago, I was the assistant on our public library’s “book mobile” (think library on a bus! *Magic*). We cruised to neighborhoods in our community  and provided books to those who had no way of getting to a library.

What I learned during that time was that even within small communities, there are children who have absolutely no books in their home. None. And not even library cards to check out books from our book mobile. These kids loved to visit the book mobile, but would leave empty handed.

As a reading teacher, I knew that these kids needed books – but they had no way of getting them.

We started to keep a stash of free books on the book mobile that we were able to give away to kids who didn’t have a card, but really wanted a book. Usually the books were older books and could no longer circulate, but it didn’t matter much to the kids who got them. To them, the book was a treasure.

Knowing that many parents want to provide their children with books, but want free and cheap ways to do so, I started looking around and I found a few great ways that parents almost anywhere can find books for their kids.

Five Places To Find Free or Cheap Books

Books in the Mail

Erica at What We Do All Day has several suggestions, including Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library where children can sign up to receive free books in the mail.

Free Books Online

Unite for Literacy (uniteforliteracy.com) has a large collection of totally free, easy to access e-books that can be read from any computer.

Each week The Storybook Factory publishes a new read aloud of a popular story book with sound effects, music and fun narration totally free of charge.

Cheap Book Shops Online

Parents can buy high-quality used books for a fraction of the cost of new books at the online store Thrift Books. And shipping on orders over $10 is free.

Good Will Books has a large collection of heavily discounted children’s books available through their online store.

Books in the Neighborhood

Little Free Libraries are popping up everywhere and are allow parents and kids to take and give books. Check out their worldwide map to see where a Little Free Library is near you.

Learn More About Early Shirts

My summer on the book mobile formed the foundation for Early Shirts, a company dedicated to making sure that all children have access to books. Browse our site to learn more about us and our work.  While you’re there, support our cause by buying an Early Shirt or two, so that more kids have access to books.

Early Shirts and You

At Early Shirts, we believe books are powerful, especially in the hands of children. But far too many children don’t have access to books and that’s a problem. That’s why we’re busy making sure all children have books to call their own at an early age. You can help! Shop Early Shirts today and help kids get books. One Shirt = One Book. It’s simple, magical math.