Where to get good stuff at good prices

The following advice on purchasing materials for libraries comes from public librarians around the country who answered a request by Chris Rippel on ARSL listserv for advice and tips. Thanks to Chris for compiling!

General advice

  • Buy top 25 NYT Bestseller list in hardback, large print, and audio.
  • When local ethnic stores sell videos in their language store owners know a lot about selecting and buying videos in their language. Talk to them.
  • When we get donations of more historic or scholarly value than is appropriate for our library or Friend’s Book Sale, we show them to a local used book store owner. In exchange for the books he selects the library gets credit for buying used books, almost exclusively series fiction, from his store. In addition, some people moving out of town donate their bookstore credit to the library.
  • I’ve worked with bookstores directly when I see several items we’re interested in on Amazon or Abebooks. We updated our states series, all 52 (including D.C. and Puerto Rico), from 1980s titles to 2004-2010 titles at a cost of $8 a book.  These were all like new library editions from one series.


  • Midwest Tape
  • Buy New York Times Bestseller list in audio
  • Baker and Taylor
  • Amazon is the cheapest. I am very happy to see Recorded Books and Brillance Audio selling consumer editions to libraries. We now purchase the majority of our titles through audioeditions.com as they arrive in library albums with covers already reproduced and inserted into the sleeves. For those donations and other purchases where we need the albums and sleeves, we purchase them from Sunrise. Extra strong albums start at $2.79 each! I started with Sunrise before they ever did a library trade show to cut costs and it’s been a great arrangement for libraries and for them.


Search engines of online book stores in many countries and eBay



  • Midwest Tape
  • Walmart
  • Amazon for television series
  • Target and Walmart when on sale.
  • Dvalibrary.com has amazing sales
  • Gohastings.com for best prices
  • DVDs are usually best of Amazon. We have started getting previously viewed ones and overstock through DVA.

Graphic novels

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