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TheStreet Open House

12 Ways to Save Money on Books

Reading books can quickly become an expensive pastime, but it doesn't have to be that way.

There are many ways that you can greatly decrease the cost of reading -- sometimes to literally nothing -- without compromising the breadth of literature available.

Here are five ways to get your fix for the written word for free:

1. Test-Read at the Library

You would never purchase a car before you took it out for a test drive. You can approach purchasing books the same way -- and save a lot of money.

If you are going to read or reference a book again and again, then it is worth purchasing and adding to your home library. But if you'll never crack it open again after the first read, it probably is not worth purchasing. The library offers you a chance to test-read books before you purchase them.

You should be able to get almost any book you want from your library. Even if your branch doesn't carry it, it can most likely be secured through the inter-library loan system, where libraries lend books to one another. This way you can see if the book is worth adding to your collection before spending money for it.

If you live near a university or college, getting a membership to the campus library can have great benefits, especially if your local library system isn't up to par. While there will likely be a yearly fee, it will give you access to more scientific and specialty literature than may be available at your local library.

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