By now I think we all know I like to get the most bang for my buck, especially when it comes to books. I’m a serial library loaner for crying out loud, I like to read without spending money that I need to use in order to eat. It’s a win win situation, but sometimes I want to read a book so much I decide to own it. Here’s a list of my top five favourite cheap classics publishers.
This list was ridiculously difficult for me to compile, because there are so many incredible publishers of cheap classics out there. Choosing five was like picking my five favourite Potions Candle Co. scents (please don’t ask me to do that). This list is coming to you in no particular order with a huge amount of notable mentions at the bottom (because you can never have too many cheap classics publishers, right?) Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission (with no extra cost to you because I am all about saving money) if you use the link to make a purchase.
Also! All prices quoted are in AUD (Australian dollars) unless otherwise stated.
(eBooks only) – All titles are FREE
I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled onto gutenberg.org but I’m ever so thankful that I did. Filled with over 56,000 FREE eBooks, including most (if not all) of your favourite classics with expired copyright (really old books), you’ll be sure to find something on this gem of a site. I scour it frequently, and there’s not a day that goes by in which I am not thankful for Project Gutenberg. You can download the eBooks in a variety of formats (including Kindle), and there are new ones added all the time. Once you finish reading this post you should head on over and bask in free eBook heaven. You’re welcome.
(Paperback & Hardback) Variety of prices from super cheap $2 to super not-cheap $45
This one you’ve probably heard of all over the place. You’ve probably seen it too. There are the orange Popular Penguins, the Little Black Classics, the pale blue Penguin Moderns, the Red Pocket Classics, Vintage Classics, pretty Penguin English Library and your plain old Penguin Classics. You can have a Penguin classic for all occasions. They range in price too, from the £1 Penguin Moderns (that’s about AU$2 at this current point in time) all the way up to the Clothbound Classics that retail around $45 (but are often on special for between $20-$30), you can get a Penguin Classic for any budget.
(Paperback) Prices around $12.99
Based in Melbourne, Australia, I first came across this publishing company when I was browsing Dymocks in Brisbane CBD. I picked up a copy of Orwell’s 1984, and spent quite some time running my hands over the pages, thinking about how a copy this beautiful book would cost me a helluva lot, and then I flipped it over to find it retailed at $12.99! I love the covers of the Text Publishing classics – so many classics are plain and black with a weird picture, but not Text Publishing! They’re bright and fun, and I love them! (Did I already say that? I guess that just means I really love them! Okay, okay, I’ll stop).
(Clothbound) Between $16.99 – $19.99
This UK publisher has one of the coolest names out there. I love the word Knickerbocker, despite it referring to super ugly trousers from way back when. Knickerbocker classics are relatively cheap clothbound books which retail from around $16.95 to $19.99 in most bookstores. They also come with the smoothest, silkiest pages I have ever felt in my life and it is 100% Not Weird that I could sit there and stroke the paper all day long. Not Weird, but Highly Creepy. You’ll understand when you buy one, these things are beautiful.
I went into my local Collins Bookseller a few months ago and headed straight to the back where a large sign reading CLASSICS was. I picked up one of these inconspicuously covered novels thinking it was going to be another one of those cheap newspaper-like classics that you just bought because, well I don’t know why but we all do these things sometimes, and then I opened it and it wasn’t newspaper-like! I nearly did a jig, and then I stopped myself thinking it was going to be one of those $20 classics. Turned it over and nope! It was $7. So, I spent the rest of my time in that bookstore wondering how many books was too many to cart on my 6km walk back home. (Never too many is the correct answer. How do bookworms get toned biceps? Book lugging, that’s how. Not that I have toned biceps…)
Now, because I simply cannot choose five, here are five more! Big round of applause for our Notable Mentions:
A non-definitive and hardly comprehensive list of other awesome cheap classics publishers (in no meaningful order)
- Wordsworth Classics (Paperback) $6 – $9
- Puffin Classics (Paperback) $9 – $12
- Alma Classics (Paperback) $10 – $16
- Trans Atlantic Classics (Paperback) $5 – $20
- Barnes and Nobel Classics (Paperback) $9 – $20
Do you have any favourite cheap classic publishers? Let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe via the sidebar if you wan’t awesome email updates from theriversidelibrary.com 👈 that’s me, by the way.