Recycled Reads

With yesterday being National Book Lovers’ Day it only makes sense that the Thrifty Snicker made time for Recycled Reads, the totally readerlicious used book store benefiting the Austin Public Library as well as central Texas bibliophiles. 

Newbies are in for a surprise.  This is no dusty fire-trap of a store with towering stacks of moldering economics texts from before you were born.  Unsurprisingly it looks like a sunny, friendly library with each wall painted a different dramatic color (Her Thriftiness is partial to the Tiffany turquoise wall) featuring standard library shelving, a charming children’s area and a comfy work/reading area in the center. 

It’s been a while since the Diva of Discount has seen a copy of Embraced by the Light or a Jane Fonda exercise video but don’t let these retro groaners give you the wrong idea.  You’re not going to leave empty-handed with shelf after shelf of interesting books as well as CDs, LPs, and audio-books.  Recycled Reads is set up like a library with areas devoted to specific topics like religion, self-help, crafts and history.  Fiction is in alpha order by author making it easy to find things on your to-read list.  Her Thriftiness was delighted to find Saturday, by Ian McEwan, and Self-Storage by Gayle Brandeis, both of which were on her library list. 

The set pricing will have you filling your book bag in no time!  Paperbacks are $1, hardbacks are $2 and a sweet selection of vintage and collectible treasures are $5 and up.  A first edition H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man just went for $500!   Children’s books are fifty cents as are featured paperbacks on the two rolling book carts.  The bucks you spend on books go right back to the Austin Public Library for more books and material and wonderful library programming.   Your Champion of Cheap wishes she had time to wax eloquent on the indie flick screening “Wonder Women! The Untold Story of Superheroines” she attended earlier this year at the Windsor Park Branch.  Awesome!

Recycled Reads has two goals: Keep Austin Reading AND Keep Austin Green!  Ever determined to keep donated digests out of those nasty landfills, Recycled Reads dedicates itself to recycling, upcycling and repurposing those books at the end of their reading lives.  Shoppers will see crafty examples of book repurposing around the store and can join in the fun on First Thursday craft nights.  On her last visit the Snicker watched the cashier punching shapes out of old maps to make 3-D flowers.  And if you think we’re talking a few random hardbacks here you’re need to pull your nose out of that book!   Staff and volunteers estimate that the store keeps 12 tons of books out of the landfill each MONTH but a new pallet jack with a scale will let them see exactly what’s coming and going.  Standby for an update.

Visit their website at  for a calendar of upcoming special events and activities, but you can’t go wrong on designated Thursdays and Sundays when volunteers with the Austin Dog Alliance come in with their registered therapy dogs.  Kiddos (and adults) can read to the dogs and The Thriftstress has it on good authority that at least one of the pups is partial to the Harry Potter series.  Headline news is the store’s Back to School sale with database demos (think homework) and live music NEXT weekend, August 17 and 18. 

Recycled Reads’ own Super Women – Mindy, Ruth and Betsy – can’t run this show without help.  Your books, CDs, VHS tapes and old e-readers can be donated anytime the store is open, Thursday from noon to 8 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 6, 5335 North Burnett.  If you want to drop off a box another time, just call and schedule an appointment.  Volunteers are always needed so give them a call to give a few hours – 512.323.5123.  Tell ‘em the Thrifty Snicker sent ‘ya!

As much as it pains the Discount Diva to admit it, she doesn’t know everything thrift.  What are your favorite places and best bargains?  

Until the next find! 

The Thrifty Snicker


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