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A Charity Shop Book Haul (& Some Shopping Tips!)

charity shop book shopping tipsAffiliate links are marked with [*] and gifted items marked with [gifted].

Recently I've picked up quite a few books from charity shops giving them a new lease of life. Despite being fairly new to reading, having only really started to delve into the world of books in the summer of 2018, I've definitely been growing my book collection and buying second-hand books at charity shops has become my new go-to.

I've bought a fair amount of books from charity shops so far, some were books that I wanted to read and others were new discoveries. I usually use Goodreads to look at other people's reviews as well as overall ratings which help sway me towards buying a book or leaving it behind. Follow me on Goodreads here.

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charity shop books

I haven't spent more than £2 on a second hand book from a charity shop. I've been to quite a lot of standard charity shops in a few different areas of London (West, South West and North West London) and the pricing tends to be around this benchmark, with the majority of paperback books being priced at £2 or just below. The cheapest book I've bought so far was 99p.

Prices are usually displayed by a sticker on the front or back cover of a book and other times they're written inside on the first couple of pages so if it isn't obviously visible at first just have a flick through to find it.

Another thing to note - if you go to a charity shop that only sells books (for example Oxfam Books and Music) then expect to pay a little extra. I popped in to one over the weekend and found paperbacks were priced between £2.50 - £2.99 and hardcovers were around £4.99.

With that said, don't forget that the money you spend on buying books, or anything, from a charity shop will go to the charity. 

Where To Go

Honestly, I would suggest you just pop in whenever you see a charity shop. They won't always have a big selection of books, some charity shops don't even sell books but it gives you an idea of what to expect and you never know what you might find as naturally, no two charity shops will have the same stock.

If you want to actively search for books then try going to a location where there is more than one charity shop so you can visit them all. If you plan on visiting more than one charity shop then I would recommend giving yourself at least an hour so you can have a proper rummage through the shelves and hopefully find some great books to come home with.

What To Look For

I usually flick through the pages to check that there is no substantial damage to the book, markings or scribbles, rips etc. (I left behind a book I really wanted a few weeks ago as it was partly water damaged). Have a good look through the shelves and/or stacks of books so you can see everything available and you don't end up missing out on a hidden gem.

Be open minded. Don't expect to find a particular book because truth is, you probably won't find it on your first visit. Instead, look out for familiar covers or author names (as sometimes book covers may vary) and take your time when browsing.

Charity shops are constantly changing their stock as people make purchases and new donations are received and sorted through so I imagine you could find something new on a near daily basis. Although I would recommend going in weekly or even just fortnightly in the hope that there is new and more varied stock. Bear in mind that you could miss out on something when you don't visit though so if you are nearby and have the time, just pop in - you have nothing to lose!

Other Places To Buy Books

I still buy books online every now and again, *Amazon is usually my go-to for this. I also have a browse of the book section in Sainsbury's (most big supermarkets will have a book section) when doing the weekly shop as I find the shelves are regularly updated and the books are typically £3.99 which is a great price.

You also have the option of borrowing books from a library rather than buying new or second hand. Personally, the library isn't the best option for me. I signed up to my local library with every intention of going but I haven't stepped foot inside since getting my library card a year ago. I think this is down to the fact that it's unlikely I'll find new releases (but this is also true in charity shops to be fair) as they're often very sought after and will have long waiting lists for at least a couple of months. Also, having a time limit of how long you can have a book/read it is a little bit intimidating to me. I know you can usually extend this but still, it just feels like an added pressure to get through a book within a certain amount of time.

I'm one of those people who just loves to have a physical copy of a book, both when reading and also just to hold on to, re-read if I want to and share amongst friends.

Do you enjoy reading? If so, where do you get your books from?

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