If you’re like me, you want your kids using books from a young age (books are so healthy for a child’s development, and fostering a love of reading is a great gift you can give to your kids). Reading to your kids is a GREAT way to help them learn and foster a life long love of learning! But books can get really expensive, and so I’ve found a few ways to get cheap preschool books – so you can leave extra money in the budget and STILL have a never ending supply of new stories to entertain your little book lovers!
I have a list of ways to get used books super cheap AND a list of the best places to buy cheap preschool books brand new! (Saving money on kids books is almost as easy as saving money on kid’s clothes!)
5 top ways to get cheap preschool books (outside of the store)
Books are one of those things that I LOVE not having to buy new – saving trees, saving money, love it all! Most of these ideas
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Ask for books instead of cards as baby gifts
This is such a fun idea – and, if you’re like me – you’d way rather see money spent on a BOOK than a CARD (the book will get used for years, the card will sit in a box or get thrown out). If you’re looking for ways to get cheap preschool books, you’re PROBABLY past the whole baby shower season of life, but keep this idea in mind and if you plan a shower for a friend – or better yet – plan for a second baby – you can make good use of it!
Just have whoever sends the invites to your shower out make a little note that says you’d appreciate preschool books instead of cards. If you have a hard time with the wording of these things, here’s some cute “bring a book instead of a card” poems for baby shower invites.
Yard sales are GOLD MINES for cheap preschool books.
People use these books for up to 5 years and then they’re done with them. You can score board books or picture books for as little as 10 cents at a yard sale! (Or sometimes I even see them in a box marked “free books” LOL!)
The only draw back here of course is that there is less selection in one place, so you might have to spend a whole weekend garage sale hopping on a daily basis to find books your kids are into.
Thrift stores/ children’s consignment stores
Like garage sales, but a little better – thrift stores and consignment stores have plenty of books! They also have slightly more expensive books (than garage sales) but generally also far more selection. You can get books for kids of all ages at a thrift store! Sometimes you can even find new or nearly new books.
You can often find a variety of books for a low price, and sometimes you can even find new or nearly new items.
If there is a children’s consignment store near you, take the books your family doesn’t love there. You can get a few bucks for them – and invest this money back into new books!
Swap with friends
If you have friends with kids who are a similar age, ask them if they would like to swap any NON-favorite books! Inevitably, all families end up with books that a child doesn’t LOVE, and these books hang around the house in almost new condition until you either have a garage sale or donate to them a thrift store (LOL).
If you collect 4-5 of these and ask a friend to do the same, you can swap straight across and maybe find a new favorite for free!
Utilize the library
The library is a wildly underused great resource! Most libraries have a children’s section, and you can read the books right there. (If you find a FAVORITE, you can always put that one on your child’s Christmas list or save it as a birthday idea too. I love being able to “test drive” a book before I buy it!
Also, ask at your local library if they have yearly library book sales – many libraries do! They go through their books and select a large number of them to sell and replace. I have picked up soooo many cheap kids books at the library sales.
7 best places to buy cheap preschool books new
To be totally honest, when my kids were especially little, I didn’t LOVE buying second hand board books etc. I am by NO means opposed to second hand things – but you can really easily clean toys and clothes in a way that you just can’t clean books!
And we all know what happens with board books – babies suck on them hahaha. So I did actually buy some books for my kids brand new when they were tiny.
I once got a set of 5 Dr. Seuss books at Costco for less than 3 bucks per book!
They also regularly have activity books and popular best sellers at much cheaper prices than a regular book store.
They don’t have a huge selection, but that’s ok – just make a mental note to check at Costco next time you’re there – if books are something you buy at Christmas, watch all year and store the great deals you find away until it’s time to gift them.
(I also got lots of Usborne board books at Costco when my kids were little. Those are just some of the very best books for preschoolers if you ask me!)
Dollar Tree/ Dollar Stores
You have to be careful because sometimes the books from the dollar store are just TERRIBLE quality, but other times I find really great cheap kids’ books there.
The Dollar Tree is the best best for good quality books in my area (although the quality diminishes as you get into paperback books for older kids – and you’re probably not going to find any Roald Dahl or Eric Carle etc – but when it comes to preschool books you can get away with less well known authors or popular books! Remember, preschoolers don’t know about my little pony or peppa pig, so not having “brand name” books won’t bother them.)
Bookoutlet.com is a great place to find cheap preschool books!
A friend of mine told me about this online store when I started thinking about homeschooling. She gets all her homeschool books here for crazy low prices.
As of writing this, they have over 5,500 great books listed for the age range of 3-5 (and another 800+ listed for ages 0-2). That’s a lot more than traditional book stores can carry!
Because they have SO MANY BOOKS, it can be overwhelming trying to sort through their massive store, but if you have an idea of what you’re looking for you can sort by book type (“format”) – you can select board book, hardcover, picture book, paper back, boxed set, chapter books etc.
(You can even select “pop-up books”, which was really helpful for me when I was specifically looking specifically for more books like Dear Zoo haha.)
This website also has fun games for kids in the 3-5 age range and other activities!
After you make your first order with them you can get a referral link that you can share with friends, and when THEY order you can collect rewards to apply to your next order – which really helps to get more cheap preschool books!
Similar to book outlet, kids books has a HUGE selection of classic children’s books and educational books etc. You can sort by age groups here also, and find loads of half price books and all kinds of good deals on preschool books! You’ll still be buying books here when your kids are in middle school!
Of course, Amazon is a great place to find cheap books for toddlers and preschoolers. You can often find inexpensive books for as low as $3-$5, and sometimes even less. Plus, if you have Amazon Prime, you can get free shipping on your purchase.
The often have free digital books on their kindle app, but I personally want my kids to be able to hold a physical book. (Keep this in mind though, as a better option to putting a show on you-tube on when you’re in a pinch and need some screen time to save you.)
This is such a FANTASTIC resource – if you’re in a location where they have a chapter. (There has to be an active program in your Zip code – which unfortunately for us, there isn’t where we are.)
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a free book gifting program devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere. Each month, enrolled children receive a high quality, age appropriate book in the mail, free of charge. Children receive books from birth to age five, so basically, it’s free preschool books!
Literati book club
Literati is a monthly book subscription for kids – it costs a little under ten bucks a month, and my kids get so excited at having their very own package show up to their door.
Literati sends five age appropriate books based on the month’s theme (think things like kindness, bravery etc) and your child’s age/ grade level, and they’ll give you a full week to TRY THEM OUT and decide whether or not to keep them. It’s like the library, but a better way in the pandemic age. (Ugh.)
If you keep the books, you pay amazon-like prices, so it’s not always THE cheapest place to find preschool books, BUT I do love that you get to “test drive” them and return them if you’re not going to keep them.
Where have you found cheap books for preschoolers?
Let me know if you come across any other great resources for finding little kid’s books at reasonable prices!