How to get cheap books to build your classroom library

How to get cheap books to build your classroom library

Walking into my first classroom, I knew I was going to have to get creative. Besides the bare walls, lack of any guidance on curriculum, and about five REALLY old textbooks, I was also teaching a cross-age, self-contained special education classroom of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders. The first thing I needed to do was get started building my library, but I had no idea where I could get cheap books for the classroom.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to amass quite a collection of classroom library books over the past decade. Throughout that time, I’ve found lots of great websites that offer the cheap paperbacks for my classroom library. Today I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you.

10 Places to Find Cheap Books for the Classroom

If you’ve ever wondered where to get cheap books for your classroom, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking for inexpensive class novel study sets or just a variety of books to build your classroom library, these sites offer great deals on books your readers will love.

1. Scholastic Dollar Deals

Scholastic regularly offers $1 books through their online book clubs. They also have a teacher store that has even more titles. This makes their site a great place to stock up. In fact, right now they have over 100 books that are just $1.

Throughout the course of the year, a number of great titles typically roll through the $1 promotion. Scholastic book club $1 books are one of the cheapest ways for teachers to build a classroom library fast.

In the past, I’ve gotten class sets of Charlotte’s Web, Hatchet, and Dear Mr. Henshaw as Scholastic $1 books (to name just a few).

The dollar books through the book clubs are an especially good deal because you earn points for your purchase. These points can be used to stock up on even more books for FREE.

If you don’t already have an account through the Scholastic Book Order, sign up using this link.

When you place your first order, use the coupon code 80291 along with my last name (Davies) and my code (2575587593) to automatically earn 250 bonus points.

That’s enough to get a free book!

The great news is, Scholastic doesn’t just offer cheap books for schools! Homeschool families, you qualify, too! Here are your directions to sign-up.

2. Goodwill Books

Most people have heard of Goodwill, but did you know they run an online store, too?

Goodwill Book Store has a ton of great titles, and they are all pretty cheap. When I checked last night, there were several copies of Hatchet for under $2.

They also regularly have discount codes that show up right on the top of the checkout screen. Right now, for example, it is 25% off your order when you enter the code at checkout.

If you haven’t checked this site out, I highly recommend taking a peek and seeing if they have what you need.

3. Thiftbooks

Thriftbooks may seem a bit more expensive when you first look, but they offer a 15% discount to teachers with the coupon code APPLE when you purchase 20+ books.

4. First Book Marketplace

If you teach at a Title I school, First Book is the site for you if you are looking to get class sets of novels or need refresh your classroom library.

You can order books by the carton, and you get them for the cost of shipping and handling. Yes, seriously! The books are donated by publishers with the goal of getting more books into the hands of at-risk kiddos.

Right now, for example, the First Book Book Bank has a set of 30 Magic Tree House audiobooks for $24 and class sets of certain books from the Who was Biography Series for super cheap, too.

In addition to the books by the carton, they offer individual titles through their marketplace, as well. These books are at a pretty huge discount, and there is a great variety available – many for less than $2.

I love that the site highlights upcoming holidays or special events and provides lots of great literature options aligned to these.

Even if you aren’t a Title I teacher, you should check out the site. There are some great resources and lesson ideas available.

5. Book Outlet

A best-kept secret among librarians, Book Outlet offers a great selection of books for your classroom library at very reasonable prices.

While the prices aren’t quite as good as the Scholastic prices, Book Outlet offers discount for bigger purchases, making it a great place to stock up on class novel sets or books at a variety of different reading levels.

They also offer some great picture books, and the site is super organized and easy to use. Shipping is free with orders over $35, which is also super nice.

If you don’t have specific titles in mind, the clearance books are a great deal on this site.

6. Books4School

Books4School is another great site for inexpensive books. They offer a variety of titles, offer good customer service, and have lots of experience working with educators.

I’ve found hardcover novels for as low as $2.50 each, and there is enough variety that you can find something that will please even the pickiest reader.

One of the best things about this site is they offer bilingual readers in eight different languages, including Spanish. Finding quality literature for your bilingual students can be a challenge, and this site helps make it way easier.

7. Books-a-Million (aka BAM!)

Books-a-Million is a great site for finding books for your classroom. Their bargain book section has an amazing collection of nonfiction texts, which is one reason I really like the site.

8. Discover Books

If you haven’t visited the Discover Books website on your quest to fill your classroom library, you’re likely missing something awesome.

Discover Books aims to keep books out of the landfills by reselling, redistributing, and recycling. In fact, they’ve actually donated over 10 million books to non-profits over the years so you may want to reach out and see if your school qualifies.

9. Facebook Marketplace

You’d be surprised how many teachers use Facebook Marketplace to clear out unwanted items from their classroom. This makes it a perfect spot to start building your classroom library.

Whether it is a retiring teacher selling her classroom library or just someone who has changed grade levels, there are lots of good deals to be had.

I highly recommend checking out the marketplace at the end of the school year in your area. This will allow you to catch all the books teachers are trying to get rid of at the end of the year.

10. Books by the Foot

Books by the Foot is a little different than the other options I’ve shared for building a classroom library. At first glance, it appears this is a site for interior designers who want color-coordinated bookshelves.

If you dig a bit deeper and head to their Books by the Box section, you’ll find you can order a box of children’s books at rock bottom prices.

The positive is this is an actual box of books for like $25.

The negative is that you’ve got no choice in books. You simply select the general age you need and they send a random assortment. The age ranges include: K-2, 3-5, and young adult. They’ve also got a nonfiction box.

Need book suggestions for your classroom?

While you’re waiting for your books to arrive, you can also find some great free online e-books and stories that readers can enjoy for free on their devices.

No matter where you shop, it is always nice to have some suggestions for books your students might enjoy. If you need some suggestions, here are some good spots to start:

If you need some suggestions, here are some good spots to start: