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Where to Buy Books in Bulk

I recently developed a need for buying children’s books in bulk. I found a couple sources, one great and the other not so great, and I want to share them with you.

I don’t know if I have mentioned it here, but some time back (I think it was pre-pandemic, but honestly who knows at this point) I started taking care of the two Little Free Libraries in my area. I would keep them organized, remove any damaged or age-inappropriate books (both were located next to elementary schools), and leave bookmarks.

I started doing this because I had noticed that no one else seemed to be doing the job, but I stopped last fall when the school district started holding in-person classes again. I honestly thought that someone one at the schools would step up, but when I checked in on the LFLs a week ago I found that both were sorely depleted, and that no one had bothered to even straighten the books.

I was happy to start taking care of the LFLs again, but it also meant that I had a sudden and exceptional need for kids books. I asked for help on Twitter, and got a variety of useful suggestions ranging from thrift shops, the free section of Craigslist, garage sales, flea markets, and so on.

The idea I settled on was to google for online booksellers who would ship me a box of books, cheap. I found two that I wanted to try (the next time I need books, I might try others).

One was The Book Bundler, and the other was Books by the Foot. Of the two, I really have to say that BbtF was the much better deal. Not only were the books half as expensive, but my order arrived on the Tuesday after I placed an order Friday night. (It probably helped that the order shipped from Maryland.)

The order from The Book Bundler, on the other hand, arrived on Friday. That was still pretty fast, but I never did get an order confirmation email from TBB (a huge strike against them, IMO – I need that email for my records).

The Book Bundler sent me 10 bundles of ten hardback children’s books in two boxes each somewhat larger than a box of copier paper.

Books by the Foot sent me one box of books that size (12” by 12” by 18”, to be exact). I opted for the non-age-specific box, so I got everything from books for 5th graders to board books. The books were all in good shape, but the box almost didn’t survive the trip. (Fedex had to add several extra loops of tape to keep the box from disintegrating, and it still split a seam.)

I still think BbtF was the better value; that box set me back $45, while TBB charged me $155.

My mother (a former teacher) thought that the selection in the BbtF box was so great that she wanted me to have a box shipped to my nephew. I would have done so, except BbtF would not ship to Pennsylvania (no clue why).

If you need to buy kids books in bulk, I heartily recommend Books by the Foot. Their website is not as well organized as it could be, but if you scroll down to the bottom of their “view all products” page you will see they have a couple dozen different options for grab-bag boxes of books ranging from genre paperback to various age-specific kids books.

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