Bargain: Your local Goodwill
Overview: Goodwill is a chain of thrift/charity stores that can be found in 17 countries across the world. People donate their used and unwanted goods and Goodwill re-sells them, using the proceeds to programs for job training and the disabled. The Book Shelf can be found in most Goodwills – a section full of used books to buy.
History: Founded in 1902 in Boston, Massachusetts, Goodwill got its start as a mission project of Morgan Methodist Church. Congregation members donated used household items and clothes to provide an opportunity for the unemployed to develop mending skills. Soon they adopted the retail business model and started spreading out across the United States. Today, Goodwill provides jobs to countless people that may not otherwise have the opportunity to work. It also makes gently used, quality goods available for reasonable prices.
- They’re everywhere! This is a store locator for the Denver area alone. I could hit up 8 different Goodwills in one day.
- It’s REALLY cheap! And pricing is standard based on type of book. There are also opportunities to receive half off discounts based on the color sticker on the book and the day.
- The selection is wide – you can find so many different types of books.
- The thrill of the hunt! You truly never know what you’re going to find.
- The money goes to a great cause.
- You have to go a physical store.
- Browsing takes time.
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll find what you want or are looking for.
- You see a lot of the NYT Bestseller and Oprah Book Club books over and over.
- As with all used books, they may not be in pristine condition.
I adore Goodwills. They’re my favorite thrift stores to find books at.
This is for two reasons – 1) I always seem to find gems at Goodwills (it’s just a weird luck thing) and 2) I always know how much I will pay when I get to the register.
They have standard pricing on books based on the type (as seen above) and half price depending on the little colored dot sticker on the spine. I walk up to the counter with my $1.07 (a full price paperback + tax) and I’m out the door in no time. A buck for a book? Yes please.
I’ve found some really great books at Goodwills. Here is the spread of YA at a local Goodwill on one day. The first picture is what I found and the second picture is what I bought (for like $12).
I love browsing the shelves and looking at all of the titles. I go in with an open mind, expecting to find nothing, and sometimes get really lucky. I’ve even gone in thinking, “I wish I could find this book,” and then find it! It’s magic.
Getting books at Goodwill certainly has its downfalls at times. I can’t even tell you the number of times that I’ve walked out of the store with nothing in hand, having found nothing that I needed or wanted. Is that wasted time? Maybe. Or I see a spine of a book I want, only to pick it up and see the pages are water damaged or stuck together with gum. Half off days (alternating Saturdays) are always REALLY busy. You never know when they’ll restock the shelves.
My current gripe is that lately, Denver Goodwill book sections have been… lackluster. They haven’t been stocked. The beautiful shelves have been replaced with little trinkets and clothes. Even worse, they’re using them to display VHS tapes. That’s right, that obsolete medium that no one uses, let alone buys! I don’t even know anyone that has a VHS player hooked up.
The shelves that actually have books on them formerly held shoes. The books just look sad, don’t they?
I heard rumors from employees at two different Goodwills saying that they no longer plan on selling books in their retail stores. I was devistated! I tweeted at Goodwill International in this ranty thread. The corporate office passed me off to Denver who assured me that they’re just redoing them and then blew me off.
Regardless of what happens, I’ll continue buying books at Goodwill until there are no longer books in Goodwills. You can’t beat the adventure and the price. And you’re supporting a good cause in the process!
So tell me, have you/would you buy a book at Goodwill?