Bookhaul Slider - Under the Midnight Sky Book BlogBook buying can become a serious problem if you’re a bibliophile like myself who cannot resist buying more books whenever I am in a bookstore. In fact, I don’t even have to be in a physical bookstore to spend all my money on books. Thanks to the 21st century I can order books from my goddamn bed if I wanted to, and trust me I have on numerous occasions. This habit, while thoroughly satisfying can become extremely expensive and we wouldn’t want you to starve to death before you get to read all those wonderful books.

I really love books and I buy a shit load of new books every month but I am a student and while I use to earn a small salary while interning, it really wasn’t much at all especially considering how much books I actually buy a month. Now I know some of you are probably thinking that the simple solution would be to buy less books. You’re right, but that is not the only solution. Being restricted to a small budget over a long period of time you tend to pick up tricks and tips to get the most out of that budget without compromising quality. Today I will be sharing a couple of tips as well as the stores that I buy most of my books from.

Online stores:

If you’re the type who likes to physical browse through the shelves until you find a novel you like and then buy it then perhaps you can ignore this tip. However if you’re like me and you tend to know what you want before hand then I suggest you do some research before you commit to buying anything. Compare the prices on different online stores and check the prices when you’re at a physical bookstore. Make sure that you are getting best price in order to optimise your budget.

Reader's Warehouse Badge - Under The Midnight Sky Book BlogThe Reader’s Warehouse online store is one of my favourite place to buy. Their service is good and they are super helpful. The prices are competitive and they have a wide variety of books and will even order a book from the international supplier. Although, if you are looking for a book that needs to be shipped in I would suggest that you double check the prices on other online stores as prices as well as the wait can become a bit much when they have to source it from an international supplier.

As much as I love Reader’s Warehouse, when it come to books that have to be ordered from an international supplier seems to have better prices. Sometimes the price difference is minor, while other times they have huge discounts. I also find that their delivery time on orders that have to be sourced from international suppliers is relatively fast. Maybe it is the “Estimated Shipping Date” calendar feature, and the fact that the books always arrive before the estimated date. They also seem to be the first place to have the latest releases, at least when it comes to Young Adult and New Adult titles. is perfect for classics, text books and titles you won’t find anywhere else. I buy most of prescribed  books for campus from Loot.

If you’re the type who likes to browse physical shelves:

One of my favourite book stores in Cape Town is Reader’s Warehouse. The branch in Tokai is the closest bookstore to my home. When it comes to big chain stores they tend to have the better prices compared to their competition. This is definitely one of my favourite physical stores to browse. They stock your general bestsellers and the most popular novels of each genre.

Staircase in bookstoreAt the beginning of this year I found The Book People, a small book warehouse in Diep River, filled with discounted books. They stock a range of educational books, children’s books, recipe books and novels, particularly Young Adult novels. These novels go for a set price of R50 each but you really have to go through all the shelves, top to bottom to find the books you want. All of the books are in good shape with minor damage, like a small dog ear here or there. About twice a year they have a damaged book sale. Normally this means the cover is bend or something, but it is never too damaged. I’ve found some really popular titles and even some that I had planned on ordering online from an international supplier like Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes and Kinslayer by Jay Kristoff.

And then just around the corner is the Bargain Books Factory/Warehouse. This place is like heaven. They have a wide selection of novels for everyone and I have spent hours making my way through this warehouse. So I will warn you, if you plan on checking out the Bargain Books Factory make sure you have a couple of hours. They stock literal everything, general fiction, genre fiction, young adult fiction, childrens literature, educational books, classics and more at dicounted prices. However, you’re going to have to spend some time physically going through the books. I have gone to the factory with a budget of say R300 and have come out with 10 or more really good books, many of them books I would have bought at their full price of R185 had I not found at the warehouse. And the books are in perfect condition!

Second-hand bookstores:

There are quite a lot of second-hand bookstores in the Southern Suburbs, especially between my trek from home to campus. Second-hand bookstores are like orphanages for books and how can you possibly resist giving some more books a forever home? The prices a good, most of the profits go to charities and you never know what you might find. Some of my favourite second-hand bookstores are Help a Rural Child in Tokai and Mowbray, Books for All in Plumstead and The Book Shoppe in Tokai.

I hope these tips were useful! Happy book shopping!

A guide to buying books on a budget
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7 thoughts on “A guide to buying books on a budget

  • July 14, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    This is great! I really struggled to fund my reading habit when I was still a student, although I must say the Cape Town libraries are well-stocked! I’ve been to the RW in Kloof Street and I’m a fan of their website too, and Loot; but I’ve never been to the Bargain Books warehouse and I’ve never heard of Raru. I’m going to have a holiday in Cape Town soon, and then I’m definitely checking out the warehouse!
    P.S: what’s your experience with The Book Depository? I love them but I find that I get taxed quite heavily at the post office!

    • July 28, 2016 at 6:59 pm

      I’m glad you find these tips useful. You definitely have to visit the Bargain Books Warehouse when you’re in Cape Town. It is completely worth it! I haven’t tried The Book Depository yet, although I have noticed that their prices are quite competitive. I find that I am able to source all the books I want from and Reader’s Warehouse for a reasonable price and no hassle what so ever from the post office.

  • July 18, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for the tips. I just read this to my daughter – who spends all her money on books. Now, she really wants to go to the Bargain Books Factory/Warehouse – which is a bit of a problem as we live in Joburg 🙂

    • July 28, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      It is a pleasure. If you ever decide to visit Cape Town you’ve got to take your daughter to the Bargain Books Warehouse/Factory. It’ll be so worth it. I get lost in that place for hours when I go.

  • November 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    The post is a fundamental fact of evolution. Most of those locales are familiar but the warehouse, is it really a WAREHOUSE full of BOOKS?

    • November 6, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Yes! I swear it is and it is AMAZING! You really should visit it. 🙂

  • November 30, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    I love going to bookstores, especially used bookstores. The deals on the books are great and there are so many awesome books out there that are no longer in print. Where else are you going to find them if not in a second-hand bookstore.


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