Should you Buy the Scholastic Books Even if You’re on a Tight Budget?

When your kid comes home with a pile of Scholastic book orders, you probably wonder if there's a better deal out there. I know I did!

Our oldest son devours books. We had to impose a three-book limit to his bedtime routine. Otherwise, he could listen to us read him books forever!

I love a good deal on books. The cheapest place to get books will always be the library. My favorite place to buy children’s books is also at the library — at library booksales. Paperbacks are usually $0.50 and hardcovers $1 each. Even PaperbackSwap can’t beat those prices.

So when our oldest son came home from kindergarten with four Scholastic book catalogs, boasting books from $1 up to $17, I’ll admit that I wondered if our money could be better spent elsewhere. Many books are $2 if you buy them in a package with other books, which is still less expensive than used bookstores and PaperbackSwap. Plus, some of these sets are great books and they are tailored to the grade’s reading level.

Another reason why I love library booksales is because 100% of my purchase benefits the library. Scholastic boasts that its booksales pass along a benefit to the classroom, so I also wondered to what extent our Scholastic purchase would benefit the school.

It’s not easy to figure out how much of our purchase would benefit the school. What I discovered is that Scholastic awards one Bonus Point for each dollar spent on a book order. Teachers can use Bonus Points to order books and other materials for their classroom. Based on the Bonus Point Catalogs I review, each point is worth approximately $0.025 to $0.030 in books and resources, which translates to 2.5% of each purchase. For example, if I place a $100 order, our child’s teacher will receive $2.50 worth of books and materials. Just like savvy grocery shoppers using coupons and promotions,

a savvy teacher can earn extra bonus points, use coupons and strategically order their books to make the most of their classroom’s order.

One particular way to increase your contribution to your child’s classroom with your Scholastic order is to order in September, when teachers can earn the most bonus points. This year, teachers can earn 10,000 bonus points and $30 to spend if they place a $300 order. This translates to almost $300 worth of free books and materials for your child’s classroom, and Scholastic also sends the teacher 10 free books. Even our $27 book order will earn our little guy’s teacher 200 bonus points and $10 to spend, which comes out to $15 of free books for his classroom, which means that 55% of our order benefits the classroom even if no one else places an order.

How does a Scholastic book order stack up against a library booksale?

The downsides:

  • The books are about $1-$2 more expensive
  • the proceeds to the classroom are lower than the proceeds to the library

The upsides:

  • The books are new
  • Educators curate the books in the catalog according to your child’s age and reading level

I decided to skip the library booksale this fall and opted instead for the Scholastic book order. I like to see my child get excited about reading and I know he will enjoy bringing these books home with him next month. We checked out the catalogs and he chose the books that he liked. If he wanted an expensive book, I showed him that he could get that book if he really wants to, or he could get 2 or 3 or 5 (depending on the price!) other books. He caught on pretty quickly! 😉 With the Scholastic order, he not only gets excited about his new books — he is learning how to choose and prioritize with his spending resources.

image from africa, via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  1. I can attest to the power of the bonus points for teachers! As a new (and broke) teacher, my entire classroom library was built with Scholastic bonus points. Teachers can also turn in points for more than books, including teaching supplies and gifts for students. If you can, buying books from those flyers is such a great way to not only support schools but also your child’s individual teacher. 🙂 When in doubt, choose Scholastic!

    1. Agreed! I’m new to my grade level (4th) and scholastic bonus points earned through my students’ orders has helped me SO much in building my classroom library! It’s a win-win because they now have lots of books to choose from in my class during silent reading time and I have wonderful choices to offer at their individual reading levels.

  2. I am glad I bumped into this. I didn’t know that September was the best time to buy for teachers to get a bonus. I wish I had known; my child’s class didn’t get a flyer until late September and my daughter misplaced the flyer so I wasn’t able to place an order anyways. Scholastic should do it once every quarter or twice a year.

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