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Places to Find Cheap or Free Books

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As Jerry Frentress and I were recording the BIZ. Tools Podcast this week, (The Book Club Episode) I wondered if it was fair to recommend books, even challenge our listeners to read more books. After all, some of the books I have purchased in the past cost in the neighborhood of $40 or more. For a young EntreLeader, that can get expensive.

Surely there were better options than simply running to the book store (or Amazon) and paying the full retail price. I was correct. Here are three low/no-cost options to make the business book budget go further.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble

DavemugBut wait Dave, didn’t you say Amazon was expensive? I said buying books at “full retail” could be expensive. Amazon has many economical options for books. For instance, did you know that many popular books are offered for the Kindle at a discounted rate from time to time? The same goes for the Barnes & Noble Nook. In fact I was able to purchase Platform by Michael Hyatt for just $5.00 for the Nook.

No Kindle or Nook? No worries, you can use your iPad and download the Apps for free.

If “real” books are your choice, however, these guys can help you out as well. There are used options via 3rd party sellers that might fit the bill. Be aware of shipping charges, though. You might spend more for delivery than the book.

Used Book Stores

In my city, there are a few used books stores. I have found a ton of value in them. Some offer only a 50 percent discount on the face value. If you are buying a $50 book, it’s still $25. However, there is one book store that sells all hardbacks for $4.99, and softcovers for $3.99. I actually bought copies of “Who Moved My Cheese,” a book I recommended on the podcast, for less than $20 total. I gave a copy to each member of my leadership team.

The nice part about used book stores, is they are still somewhat organized. Their books are grouped largely by subject, making finding that elusive business/leadership book easier.

If you are willing to dig a little, thrift stores like Goodwill are are great value. In our area, most books are 99 cents to $1.99. The downside comes when you find no treasure during the hunt.

The Local Library

This oft-forgotten resource is truly a diamond in the rough. Organized by the Dewey Decimal System, the local library can guide you right to the section you need. Technologically savvy EntreLeaders can even search many libraries online before venturing to their local branch.

Many libraries contain the newest bestsellers, along with some of the “classics.” The first time I read Good to Great was a copy from the Library. (I have since bought many copies.)

While the check out time may force you to read quicker than you like, it also affords you the ability to try several books without investing your hard earned dollars.

There are many free e-books out there, and many of them are good. However, remember that you “get what you pay for.” Some e-books are tools to help build the credibility of bloggers, speakers, etc. and they contain a wealth of great information. In fact, I will have a free e-book of my own coming out soon. But others are simply works that didn’t cut the muster to become published. It is truly a “buyer beware” scenario. Use good judgment, and you may find a diamond or two.

In retrospect, there is really no excuse not to read. It is one of the best (and most affordable) investments someone can make in themselves and their business. It is truly as simple as making it a priority.

David A. Specht is President of Specht Newspapers, Inc. and Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. See more at www.davidaspecht.com

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