Books are expensive. There is no denying that most books sold at mainstream book stores or online are astronomically expensive. People just can’t afford to spend over R300 at minimum for a single book. Yet, the importance of reading and developing a reading culture cannot be overstated. The Daily Vox team rounds up five ways to get books for less.
The Reading Educational Trust has developed a book box which was initially put in cancer centres for kids. The book boxes – which are a worldwide phenomenon – were put up in different suburbs around Johannesburg by the Trust. The first one was put in The Wilds, with others put in Parkview, Craighall Park, Brixton, Linden and Melville. The boxes are filled with books which you can borrow from and return once you are done with it. The boxes serve as a donation place as well as a place to give your old and unused books for others to benefit from.
Every Spring time in South Africa, libraries in Johannesburg begin cleaning out their shelves with old books which to be replaced with newer stock. The old books end up at the City of Johannesburg Library sales which take place at their respective libraries. In September, the Friends of the City of Johannesburg Library holds a huge book sale in Braamfontein. Most of the books are sold at R15 each, and you can find every title imaginable. The books are generally in very good condition and there are some jems to be found while trifling through the piles. While the sale might be over this year, make sure to check it out next year, and keep up to date with any sales held at your local library. Alternatively visit your local library and borrow books!
Street book sellers
We’ve all seen them – the people selling the books on street corners or pushing trolleys along through the city centres. Streets book sellers are another way to get good books for affordable prices. The vendors travel around the city buying cheap books from second hand bookstores, or from books that have been discarded. Those are resold on the side of the streets or in any open spaces. The books go from anywhere between R10 to R30. And on the plus side buying a book from the “urban book sellers” means supporting informal traders.
Because We’ve Read Book Club
The radical reading club – known as the Because We’ve Read Book club – was started by Iranian-American political fashion blogger, Hoda Katebi in response to a viral interview. With global chapters all around the world, Katebi is encouraging people to engage with political writings from Frantz Fanon to Naomi Klein and Assata Shakur. Knowing the costs though of books, Katebi posts free-to-download pdf links of all readings for the book club. She sends some copies of the books to people who can’t afford them, and even sometimes has special deals with online booksellers to get the books for free or at a discounted rate. Join your local chapter, get a political education and cheap/free books – that’s a good deal, if you ask us.
.@agirlandherboeks is an Instagram account ran by a woman in Johannesburg. She says the objective behind the book start-up is to create an accessibility of affordable books for everyone. She provides previously read books in good condition for a fraction of its store price. All of the titles she has are available on her Instagram page. Once you have decided which book you would like to order, you can email or direct message her to sort out the payment details. The books are couriered nationwide and she tries much as possible to get the books to you without an additional costs. A portion of the proceeds are donated to an education scheme. If you have piles of books at home, you can also donate it to her and share the reading love with everyone.