Incorporating Literacy: Where to Find Cheap Books in San Antonio

In September, National Literacy Month, we nationally recognize the importance of literacy, from infancy through adulthood. The steps to foster in our children a love of reading, begin at home, pointing out colors and shapes in books to settling down and reading chapter books with our tweens (or as we call them, “the books without pictures”). As it becomes easier and profoundly more popular to use online search engines for a wealth of knowledge, it is even more critical to teach our children to turn to books for research, knowledge, and fun.

Sitting down with my kids on my lap, embracing the smell of a book that has been sitting on a shelf in the clearance section for an eternity, brings me back to those days with my mom. I didn’t know that I needed to know about a hundred breeds of cats, but I am sure proud that I can discuss the personality of the American Short-Hair with my daughter. It’s true: we are never too old to learn new things.

This is not to say that I don’t rely on Google for quick tidbits of information or seemingly weird questions that my kids shout from the backseat while I wait for my groceries to be delivered via Curbside. In most circumstances I am usually glad that I can find the answer to my kids’ queries along with a demonstrative image. (Heads up, though: Do NOT run a Google image search for “do snakes have butts?” My son can tell you all about that one.)

Amassing a collection of books can be expensive, but fear not; there are several local and online resources that can help you get a jump on great material for a fraction of the cost.

Garage Sales

Books take up a lot of space and are heavy to move, which leaves that people who are decluttering or moving usually sell books for cheap, especially kids’ books. Here’s to all the Marie Kondo fans who are helping us find solid reading material!

Library Book Sales

Most libraries host book sales yearly to make room for new titles. Prices generally range from $0.50 to $3 for larger books. Added bonus: Your purchase supports local libraries.

The San Antonio Public Library runs a bookstore that is open year-round. The BookCellar is located in the basement of the Central Library downtown (600 Soledad St.), and you can read more about it in Inga’s post here.

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores, such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, or local chains, usually have an interesting array of used books of all genres. You can usually find popular works from yesteryear for a fraction of the price of even used bookstores. Plus, the proceeds go to a good cause.

Major Retail Stores

As if Target needs any more reasons for us to sing its praises, they frequently include books in their Dollar Spot! TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree, and HEB are other options to consider for discounted books.


There are numerous websites that sell cheap books, even in bulk for lower prices. Amazon has a wide range of books (practically for anything you search), and most ship for free if you are a Prime member. I also enjoy buying books from

Used Book Stores

Nothing really beats strolling through a bookstore that carries old books. Places like Half Price Books also sell sets of used encyclopedias, many of which are not that outdated, for less than a few bucks a book. Keep a lookout for their yearly clearance sale at the San Antonio Event Center in October. There are five Half Price Books locations in the San Antonio area to fulfill every book lover’s dream and shelf:

  • 11654 Bandera Rd., San Antonio, TX 78250 | (210) 647-1103
  • 3207 Broadway St., San Antonio, TX 78209 | (210) 822-4597
  • 11255 Huebner Rd., San Antonio, TX 78230 | (210) 558-3247
  • 125 NW Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78216 | (210) 349-1429
  • 20821 U.S. Hwy. 281 N., San Antonio, TX 78258 | (210) 545-3846

Antique Stores

Antique malls usually have sections devoted to antique children’s books, encyclopedias, home and cooking, and historical fiction. Lucky for us lovers of American nostalgia and classic literature, antique stores are easy to find at several small towns in the area, such as Helotes, Boerne, and Castroville.  Visiting an antique store is a great way to show your kids how life was years ago, and the books are usually cheap too.

Happy reading, everyone!

Emily lives in the hill country with her husband of over a decade, two young children and an array of animals. Texas has always been home but she loves to escape it( and the heat) frequently. Road trips were the excuse to buy a minivan, even though she still cannot park it in the lines. Emily is passionate about keeping our planet clean and it’s citizens happy, and instilling these values to her children. Happiness for herself is eating good food, playing games and quiet time to read, or at least go to the bathroom alone. Favorite Restaurant: Cured at The Pearl Favorite Landmark: The Zoo Train at Brackenridge Park Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Fiesta Art Fair