3 Ways to Save Money on Books for Infants

Estimated Monthly Savings: $30

One of the most joyous parts of becoming a new parent is getting to pick books for the baby, from your childhood favorites to the wonderfully illustrated classics to the new issues written by celebrities like Julianne Moore.

Experts at Parenting magazine recommend that you start reading aloud to your child at birth, for benefits ranging from bonding time to boosting brain power.

But none of this means you need to shell out top dollar for new books! Paperbacks can cost around $7 and hardbacks and board books range from $8 on up to $25. Even just buying a book a week, and it’s tempting to purchase many more, can cut into the household budget. To avoid paying a premium when your baby is still very young, follow these three tips:

1. Borrow from the library to start. Sure, you may have every ounce of your new parent energy invested in sleepless nights and rocking, but take a few minutes to renew your library card. Then you can check out board books and collections of nursery rhymes and practice reading aloud while your child is still an infant.

Your newborn doesn’t need to own the book at this point, because he’ll be relying on you to hold it and read it. Reading aloud is still important, though, since it will help your tyke acquire language skills,  according to Dominic Massaro, psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who spoke to  EdSource. “You are stretching them in vocabulary and grammar at an early age,” Massaro said. “You are preparing them to be expert language users, and indirectly you are going to facilitate their learning to read.”

There will be plenty of time to enjoy (and maybe buy) books for toddlers and older kids, like Winnie-the-Pooh, in later months.

2.  Print out free nursery rhyme posters. Sites such as PreKinders offer free printouts of lots of nursery rhymes, perfect for a low-cost nursery, kitchen bulletin board or changing table wall decoration in place of buying picture books. They’re available in color, but you can opt for the even more affordable black and white printable posters. Experts like Genius Babies note that infants can see high-contrast imagery most easily in their early months.

3. See if Imagination Library is in your area. If you live in a participating community, regardless of your income your infant can receive free books in the mail from birth to age 5 by joining Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Use your postal code on the free book giving operation’s website to see if this service is available in your area.