15 Frugal Ways To Stock Children’s Books For Your Home Library

15 frugal ways to stock children's books for your home library



Reading DOES matter in a child’s life and should start the minute they can look into your eyes, listen with their ears or touch with their hands.

We began reading to our son shortly after he came home from the hospital. Not only that but we began to play soft music throughout the day like my wife did when he was in her tummy. That might sound daft to some people but for a baby hearing their parents voice talking to them is soothing and what better way to begin than by reading a book.


Children’s Books can be expensive


childrens-books-pricesHave you ever seen the prices on brand new books that have never been cracked open? Some of the prices are mind-blowing especially on children’s books.

Next time you’re in a book store or if you have any children’s books at home flip them over or look in the front cover to check for prices.

Shoppers who pay full retail price for children’s books only do so because they really, really want it. Sometimes it’s hard to resist those cute books that you know your son or daughter would love.

That’s not us… unless we’re getting it free.

Any smart frugal-minded person would go to the library to borrow books to read, free. Yes, we do this BUT there are some children’s books that our son loves and wants to read over and over.

Most of our visits to the public library are for our son to participate in group activities, reading time and educational building sessions. The library is a great way to encourage our son to look through the children’s books and pick out any that he fancies reading. This creates an Independence that he will appreciate in his own space, like a big boy.

When Canada Reads, Canada Grows – www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca

Just about anyone who reads books consistently knows the importance of literacy and how it has affected their life. My mother for example would read a novel at least once a week when I was growing up. Even today she reads but since she’s retired reading a book everyday is not unheard of. She’s always motivated my siblings and I to read outside of the classroom and made sure books were always readily available for us at home. For many reading is an outlet into another world, stress relief and relaxation but most of all, education.


Welcome to the new age of books


Traditionally most of us read with a book in hand, turning the pages but today with the invention of the e-reader some readers enjoy this pleasure with a hand-held device. No matter what way you choose to read the important part is that you continue to fill your mind with information.


Give children the chance to explore, read and become engaged with literacy to help build their knowledge.

Buying children’s books the frugal way is easy and I’ll show you how. If you want or need to purchase children’s book I’ve come up with ways you can get them for discounted prices or even for free. Before you pay retail always explore your options.


Children’s Book Swap


Some parents like to swap their children’s books so that other kids have a fighting opportunity to read them. Not all kids like to read so having a variety of children’s books available may be the key to opening up the first page.

The catch is they want them back but this is a great way to own some children’s books but lend them out to your friends so you can read theirs and they can read yours. Then you get to keep it forever.


Wholesale Warehouse Events


Some of the bigger cities may host a wholesale children’s book event where discounted books are available to the public at reduced prices. The reason you may find such an event intriguing is because some of the books may be new books or recent on the shelves at your local book store.

Sometimes overstock forces book sellers to get rid of them fast or children’s books that might not have been as popular as intended. This gives those book titles a second chance or hope that parents will buy them and they become a children’s second time round best seller.

Related: Is A Costco Canada Membership Worth The Money?

Scholastic Canada books may have a warehouse book sale for kids as well Costco Canada is a warehouse that has children’s books for reduced price and is quite popular with parents who shop there.


Garage Sales


Likely the most lucrative way to buy children’s books for a deep discounted price would be at a garage sale. Kids seem to accumulate tonnes of books over the years from gifts or any of the other ways I’m going to share with you today.

Related: How to negotiate at a garage sale

Once a child passes the age range of any children’s books in the house it may be time to sell them off. You won’t become rich selling children’s books but buyers can certainly save a fortune not paying retail. The best part is that you can negotiate prices especially if you buy more than 1 or an entire box that the seller has up for offer. Don’t be shy… ask for a deal.


Book Fair


Your child’s school may hold a book fair where the library sells off books they no longer need or the school encourages children to bring books from home to sell or swap with other kids. Collecting books from various organizations also helps to boost book sales for school book fairs where the money raised is either donated or used for school activities.


Free Children’s Books


Ah, our favourite type of children’s books are free books. We have amassed a large collection of children’s books where many of them were given to us for free. Some of the places we find free children’s books are:

  • Facebook buy and sell groups, mommy groups, free stuff groups etc.
  • Other Parents
  • On the curb after a garage sale or at a garage sale
  • Kijiji Canada or Varage Sale


Second-Hand Shops


This is probably the second-best place for us to find used and new children’s books for cheap. If you shop on 50% off days you’ll score an even better deal on children’s books. The only downfall is you get what you get for books.

There’s no book series as it’s all an organized chaos of books on masses of shelves. I don’t mind paying $1 for used children’s books that costs ten times the amount in most cases. Some of the books we find are still brand new and haven’t even been read or possibly read once or twice. The BEST! Most second-hand shops also have a promo where you buy more you save more. Don’t miss out on this great deal too.




The library in our area often has book blowout sales for dirt cheap. They may be titles that they have too many of or they are past their time. Our library in particular has a rack that is filled with children’s books as well books for teens and adults as soon as you walk in the door. Don’t miss the savings on some of your favourite books that you want to keep forever.


Book Store Half-Price Events


You can find bargain children’s books at just about any library especially at Chapters Indigo which is where we first discovered the bargain books shelf and online savings. Last weekend my wife went on a shopping trip with her mate and they ended up at Chapters.

Once inside my wife went straight to the children’s books as she is a book nerd and loves to read to our son every day. My wife ended up coming home with a book with 5 puzzles inside for our son to put together. She only noticed the discounted book rack filled with Children’s books hiding behind a display because a book caught her attention.

Our son loves monster trucks and after talking herself out of buying a bunch of new transportation related books for our son she was thrilled to see a reduced rack. Mrs. CBB told me the temptation to buy books was extremely high especially since they were new titles. She fought and won that battle with reasoning of other ways to get children’s books for less. We know better than that.


Discount or Free E-books


If your child has an e-reader or tablet you can typically score free or reduced price books online over at Amazon Canada. The great thing about having the kindle e-reader is that you keep your book stash to a minimum at home with less to tidy up.

Now that our son has a tablet we’ll be on the lookout for free e-books that we can download for him. These are great when we go on a long road trip or just for touring around the city shopping for the day. He loves reading and using educational apps to learn everything he can about his new life in this world. We will never deny him that privilege to read.


Dollar Store


I’m always in shock when I look for children’s books at the dollar store because of availability and price point. They may not be from top children’s authors but you’ll find so many educational books even financial literacy type children’s books for a buck or two.

Three of our sons favourite children’s books comes from the dollar store. The three interactive books with sliding windows are a set and teaches him numbers from 1 to 10, farm animals and colours.  You can’t go wrong at that price.


Amazon Canada/Ebay Canada


You can find all sorts of deals on children’s books at Amazon Canada or even eBay Canada where you can bid or purchase direct from sellers around the world.  (these are not affiliate links)


Children’s Books in Odd Places


Other quick options to purchase books would be at big box stores such as Walmart Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws grocery stores, Outlets in the mall and so on. The good part is if you belong to a rewards program such as the Shoppers Optimum or PC Plus Points you can save up and use your points to get free children’s books. The selection is pretty good too as I had a look earlier this week at Zehrs and Shoppers Drug Mart.

Related: PC MasterCard Elite Credit Card- Earn more PC Points and Fast!! << We have this!!


Online Discount Book Stores


There are many online discount book stores across Canada such as Book Outlet Canada based out of Thorold, Ontario who boast having “Read-iculously Low Prices”. It’s worth the time it takes to look around to find deals on children’s books online.


Small Local Toy and Books Stores


Just about every community has a local book or toy store tucked away downtown somewhere or a hidden gem somewhere in the community. Get to know your town or city, chat to the locals and go shopping for cheap children’s books.

We found our son a 50% off Melissa and Doug wood block alphabet sorter on a reduced rack at the Family and Company book store in Stratford Ontario while my wife was pregnant. The shelf was filled with reduced items including children’s books.


Flea Markets and Outlet Shopping


If you love the flea market or outlet stores don’t pass by the book section where you will find discounts on tonnes of books. Places like St. Jacobs Farmers Market in St. Jacobs Ontario offer books for sale not just food. Check out The Crossings Used Books or Text and Tales who sell quality children’s books.

You can also visit outlet malls such as the Toronto Premium Outlet Mall that has all sorts of shops with big names and lots of discounts. There are outlet malls all over Canada many of which have shops that sell books and other items for discounted prices.


The Canadian Children’s Book Center


Another great resource for children’s books is The Canadian Children’s Book Centre where you can find lots of resources to help guide you on your quest to motivating your child to read books.

The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is a national, not-for-profit organization founded in 1976. We are dedicated to encouraging, promoting and supporting the reading, writing, illustrating and publishing of Canadian books for young readers. Our programs, publications, and resources help teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents select the very best for young readers.

At the heart of our work at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre is our love for the books that get published in Canada each year, and our commitment to raising awareness of the quality and variety of Canadian books for young readers.

Any of the shops below will run specials or offer discount days and this is the time you want to jump on purchasing children’s books that are on your child’s wish list or gift list.

I’m sure there are many more bargain outlets for finding children’s books around Canada and if I’ve missed some big name shops let me know in the comment section below. If you have any other suggestions for parents to find cheap or free children’s books we want to hear your tips! Please leave a comment.

Literacy is for everyone.


Please Note: If you have a question you’d like me to read and answer please email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.ca or use my contact form on the blog. Send me as much detail as you can about your situation preferably as above so I can properly respond. I will contact you if I’d like to hear more about your story.

Are You New To Canadian Budget Binder?

Related articles








Mr. CBB who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, moved to Canada where he is now a permanent resident. He is also a father to a very active 3 year old boy which keeps him young at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 in the UK after graduating University and his second at age 24. Mrs. CBB bought her first house at the age of 30. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are 40-ish year-old finance lovers who accomplished debt freedom before the age of 40. Canadian Budget Binder is a fun, family-friendly place where he shares their financial journey with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. No silver-spoon just hard work and perseverance. Welcome to Canadian Budget Binder! You've got this!


  1. I agree that libraries are fantastic, but I definitely love owning a good book that I will read again and again throughout my life! For a while, my local public library had a “free book” table, from which you could take what you like–absolutely free of charge! What a fantastic deal!

    Thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army are also good places to find good books for a pittance–a great suggestion that you made above.

    Keep pumping out that great content! 🙂

  2. US readers might also check out one of the few Half Price Book outlets in the US. It’s a mix of a thrift shop and a wholesale sale. Most books are .50-$3

  3. Christine Weadick says:

    I’ve done a number of these things to get books for the kids when they were young and now for the grandson. I helped in the school library for a number of years and got hold of the teachers editions from Scholastic Books and got a few sweet deals there. Our local library has a spring and a fall book sale and we look forward to that here. The fall sale is coming up Oct 19-22 if you are interested. They have had deals where you buy a bag with the library logo on it and you can stuff the bag with as much as you can get in there! I have staggered out after that deal a few times!! I look over the kids stuff for the grandson as well as for the rest of us. The money goes to buy more books for them so I figure it’s win-win all the way. Some books are discards and some are donations.
    When you were in Stratford did you go into Fundimental’s store?? They are awesome too!!
    Another source for books would be places that market to the home based education people. I bought a few things to supplement my kids stuff for school. The place I shopped at was online, search for The Learning House. They have some very interesting things in the catalogue!! Oh….and Chapters has quite a selection of books on clearance online, more than I’ve seen sometimes in store!!

    • I like the stuff the bag idea. I find lots of thrift stores have this sort of sale and the people love it. I don’t recall if we went to that shop. What is it about? I never thought to look online Chapters too for clearance. Smart idea!!! How far are you from Stratford?

      • Christine Weadick says:

        Fundimentals is on the same block as Family and Co. but the other end by the lights. It’s another book and toy store for kids. Hubby used to go nuts looking at the clearance on the Chapters site…. I can make Stratford from here in about 15-20 minutes depending on road conditions, maybe 20km. I usually take the back way in through Sebringville, it brings me in the west end of Huron st., if I stay on Huron I get to the corner where Family and Co is. Best part of that way in is I miss the construction on the 7&8 highway between Stratford and the London turn off. They are putting in a third roundabout at the Klomp’s Garden Center corner.

Add Your Comment


%d bloggers like this: