Monday, February 22, 2010

Frugility with Books

I'm cheap. I really am. I will not deny it. But trying to spend less doesn't always go hand in hand with one's love of reading. I use to spend hundreds of dollars on books but I've stopped. Here's my process.
1) I browse the online bookstores such as Amazon or get book tips from friends. The great thing about Amazon is that you can read the first few pages of some books.
2) I see what format the book is advalible in. If I buy new I usually shoot for the mass market paperbacks because they're cheaper. Rarely do I buy the trade paperbacks because they cost as least twice as much.
3) If the book is a new release I'll wait for it to come out in paperback but if I'm desperate I'll check it out at the library or, if I really think I should, I get it in hardback.
4) If I come across books that I want to buy I search EVERYWHERE for the cheapest copy. In most cases this means a used book.
The last book that I bought in hardcover was the Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and I could kick myself for not waiting to buy it in paperback. I believe it cost somewhere around $20. The newest series that I'm reading I scored the first three books on all from the same seller. All three, including shipping, cost me $11 which was still a steal considering that they retail for $8 a pop, I saved at least $14. The trouble now is tracking down the fourth book for a reasonable price.
The best place to get books in the library, hands down. If you think you're not going to like a book go to the library and get it out. Most libraries are apart of a network of libraries and are able to hold a book from another library for you and you can pick it up at your "home" library. There's also a great thing called inter library loans which allows you to check out a book from anywhere in the state. For example, I've been wanting to read Joel Salatin's Everything I Want to do is Illegal so I made a request at my library. It'll take a few weeks but I'll most likely get it.
Here are my favorite places to get reasonably priced books:
Amazon - they have a buy 3 get the 4th free promotion for some of their books and you can preview most books
Barnes and Nobles - You'll need to go through Deal Tracker for this one. Click on the coupon that will get you 6% off and free shipping for your entire order regardless of how much you spend. - I've found a lot of good deals on books from here and who can beat their $3 flat rate shipping? - A Mecca of used books but watch the shipping prices and buy more than one book from a seller or the shipping charges will kill you.
So, what do you do?

Edit: For those of you interested in knowing why books are so expensive has a pretty good artical explaining why.


Anonymous said...

Best place to buy books is better world books. free shipping, cheap prices, and the money goes to great causes--literacy funding, reducing landfill waste.

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