When to Buy and When to Borrow Books

old fashioned library checkout cards in pockets

I walk into a new book store, and take a whiff. I find a seat, pull out a book, and read. Taking in the sights and smells that surround me, I revel in the smell and feel of a new book.

We are a family of readers, and most of the time we have a book in our hands. However, I rarely buy new books. One reason is of course to save money, but the other is that, quite frankly, we don’t have the space.

When to Buy and When to Borrow Books

Now, even though I rarely buy a book from a bookstore, that does not mean we don’t have book shelves overflowing with books in a home library. We just have strict rules about when to buy a book and when to borrow one!

When to Buy

Buy the book when you know that you will be checking the book out again and again. If your daughter has read that Harry Potter book 5 times, it may be a sign that the book would make a great gift for an upcoming birthday.

Buy the book when it is a family favorite and you believe younger siblings will enjoy the book someday, too. Books from favorite authors like Eric Carle, Mo Willems, and Louis Elhart are very popular with my kids. These books can be enjoyed by siblings regardless of gender and are ones everyone enjoys reading again and again.

Buy classics. Books like those included in BookShark packages are timeless and last generations.

Buy reference books for your homeschool library. Educational non-fiction like encyclopedias, histories, atlases, and dictionaries will be used day by day by all ages.

Buy when you find a great deal! We tend to pick up books at yard sales and library sales. These books are cheaper than paying late fees and can be resold if we don’t like them or find that we need the extra book shelf space.

When to Borrow

Borrow when you will only use the book once. Books for one-time projects at a science fair or co-op can be borrowed from friends or from the local library.

Borrow when you are unsure if it fits into your family values. Finding an educational book at a yard sale is great! But, if it teaches content that is against your values, you may not want it on your book shelf. Always check first to make sure it is a keeper!

Borrow when you know the love for the book is a passing phase. Books related to entertainers, popular TV shows, etc are often fluff (or twaddle) and not worth investing in.

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About the Author

Misty BaileyMisty Bailey is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 5 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.