The Perk of Buying Books at the Airport No One Knows About

Want to pick up that new bestseller for your flight, but don't want to spend the money? This will change your mind.

If you’ve done a lot of traveling, you’ve probably noticed that the bookstores at airports all look pretty similar. They’ve all got familiar logos, walls of inviting plane snacks, and, of course, towers of new hardcover books. Chances are you’ve wanted to grab one of those books for the plane ride and, if you’ve got a long flight, read it cover to cover. However, those hardcovers are a little pricey. Is it worth it to splurge, for the sake of relieving midair boredom?

Yes. Yes it is—because of a cool program that these bookstores have in place. Also, check out the secret perk of buying electronics at the airport no one knows about.

These similar airport stores are all owned by the company Paradies Lagardère, and all of those stores take part in what’s called the “Read and Return program.” It’s exactly what it sounds like. Whenever you buy one of those books, you’ve got six months to finish it and bring it back to a Paradies Lagardère location. When you do, you get half your money for the original purchase back. Awesome, right?

So, if you’re going on a trip, buy that book you’ve been dying to read, and read it on the plane (or over the course of the trip). When you go to the airport for the return trip, bring the book back with you and get half the money back. While you’re still in the bookstore, go ahead and get that other book you’ve been dying to read. Or the sequel to the book you read on the way there. Either way, your boredom on the flight back is cured, too. If you’ve got your reading plan down, make sure you know the things you shouldn’t wear on an airplane.

And it gets better: The book you gave back will be re-sold for half price! If the book is not in great shape, Paradies Lagardère won’t re-sell it, but they will donate it to a library, according to a company spokesperson.

Two important caveats: You have to bring your original receipt to get your money back (PureWow recommends just using it as a bookmark). Also, the book needs to be in decent condition. (But if it’s not, they’ll still take the book back, and donate it.) But other than that, this program couldn’t be easier. In a way, it’s like a buy-one-get-one-half-off deal for books. Or…get two books for the price of one-and-a-half. Either way, count us in.

Next, find out the things you won’t see in airports anymore.

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Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine.