Where do I buy books

My annual budget for our church library is only $500. Where can I purchase books at a low cost? I've been ordering from Christian Books Distributors but even that can eat up my budget quickly. Thanks!!

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  • Teri, it sounds as though a book fair is what you need to do.  There are articles on www.lifeway.com/churchlibrary.  In short, you go to a LifeWay store--there may be others who would also help--and choose books you would like to have in the library.  They will temporarily be charged to your church.  You can keep them a couple of weeks during which time you can set up a table, have a special event, etc. and let people purchase the books for the library.  After the two weeks are over, you can return any which have not sold and the church account would be credited.  Also, you will get a 20% discount on those sold and you can purchase additional books.  It's a great way to add books to your library and it can be done yearly or as often as you would like.

  • Check AbeBooks.com. I've used them often. They have new, and used books, and are rated accordingly . Great place to get older titles, maybe if you're missing one in a set. I've paid just pennies for the book, and maybe just $2.00 shipping.

    Also, check Books A Million. Ours has a reduced religious section, and I've gotten many newer titles for $2.98 or $3.97. You might check your area for a Book Exchange store. When I go shopping I try to take my inventory list with me. Also, advertise you take donations from your membership.

  • Teri, LifeWay Christian bookstores give a 20% discount when you purchase books for the church library.  If you don't have a store in your area, you can order from www.lifeway.com.


    Another very good source is Library and Educational Services whose web site is www.libraryanded.com.

    They sell only to schools and libraries and at great discounts.  Many of their books are library bound.  They have many sets of books and DVDs on sale.  You can get on their email list and you will be notified when new ones are available.  Even though they are not a Christian organization, they will tell you if there is any content that you may not want--such as evolution.  They carry many new Christian fiction books at half-price at different times.  I do purchase from them.


    If you do not have a selection policy, you should make one.  When someone asks us about donating books, we give them a copy of our selection policy and ask them to help select ones that fit into that group. 

    • I would second the motion on Library and Educational Resources.   Very good.

      • I signed up with LER a couple of months ago, but frankly haven't found anything on their website that my patrons would read. What I do find is more expensive than CBD, but I'll keep trying them.


        I guess my main problem is out of a congregation of over 200, I only have about 4 adults and 6 children who use the library regularly, so I have to cater more to them than anything else. I have tried EVERYTHING I can think of to get more people into the library but nothing seems to work.



        • It's really sad that people are not using the library as they used to.   We pray for the Lord to send us the people to use the library after all the Bible says pray without ceasing, and pray about everything so we do.   Recently, I was able to help a homeschooling family doing a unit study on blindness with biographies of John Bunyan's daughter, Mary (The Tinker's Daughter), and Fanny Crosby, and Louis Braille as well as Jungle Doctor (a Junior series from Tanzania)- all on eyes and eye diseases.   That was gratifying.   I'm not boasting, but it is gratifying when we can meet a need, isn't it? 

    • Could you send me a copy of your selection policy?  hancfam2@verizon.net





  • Donations from the congregation and friends are a good idea, but be careful.  I had a donation from the wife of a retired minister that belongs to our church.  She came up to me about a month later and said "why don't you have my husband's book featured in your display window".  I didn't realize that he wrote the book. So you need to be careful about receiving donations.  Also, weed and weed again the donations that you receive.  Have a selection policy in place to protect yourself and a generous cut off publication date so you don't end up with tons of old books that are outdated.  Keep things clean and updated.  If you want a copy of my selection policy, let me know your e-mail address.  The policy has saved my "neck" several times.


    $500 is a generous budget for many churches in hard economic times.  I order from Amazon and take advantage of using an Amazon credit card.  You can collect points for making purchases.  Plus the shipping is free for over $25 vs. CBD charges for shipping.  I watch the Christian Family Stores as well, as sometimes they have good sales via your e-mail.  I do support our local Christian store as well, but they stopped giving discounts unless you purchase their publications and it's only 10%. 


    Blessings to your library and thank you for your good work. 

    • Bev, I'd like to read your donation policy. My email is: teriray1998@yahoo.com

      Thanks for the good info. I have instituted a NO VHS policy and no books older than 2000.

  • www.abebooks.com; used bookstores; homeschooling sales (if you have a regional group or convention; ask for donations from your congregation which you will sort through and keep the best;  donations (people downsizing is a great source ( a notice in your library, and in the church bulletin).  Friends?  Family? 

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