There I said it, so there. My mom – a smarty with too much time on her hands as a stay-at-home mom – had me reading at an early, early age and it’s been love ever since. I’ve devoured books my whole life, reading by my night lights when I was supposed to be asleep or under the covers with a flashlight.
Even now, if I’m in the last 100 pages of a good read, I’ll stay up all night to finish, dragging myself to work with only a few hours of sleep.
While not as expensive as the designer handbag habits some people I know have, plowing through a book or 2 or 3 a week adds up – something that’s easy to miss when you’re buying a book here and a book there. Thanks to American Express year-end summaries and my tendency to charge everything (cash burns a hole in my wallet), I found this fact out pretty early when I realized one year that my Barnes & Noble habit equalled 8 months of car payments. Add in Amazon and the rest and I’m pretty sure I spent more on books that year than I spent on groceries.
So, I got myself a library card and haven’t looked back. Over the years I’ve also found some other low-cost ways to indulge my reading habits. Here are my favs:
- The Library: You just can’t go wrong with free. Most library systems have their offerings online so if your closest branch is small, like mine, you can search for what you want, put it on hold and have it delivered to the branch near you. I make almost weekly appearances at my local branch almost always to pick up holds. Besides the cost savings, the freeness of the library has greatly expanded my reading. If I read about a book in the Seattle Times or Heifer’s World Ark magazine or online, and it peaks my interest, I’ll check it out even if it’s by an author I’ve never read, on a subject that generally is not something I gravitate toward, or in a genre I don’t usually like. I’m not likely to do this if it means forking over $10-30 for something I may not like. I’ve found great authors this way and read an amazing amount of nonfiction as a result. Plus, in addition to the traditional book selection, the library also offers DVDs and my second love, audio books – great for that commute to work or while making dinner at home.
- Bookins.com: Bookins is an online trading source for books and DVDs. You list the books and DVDs you are willing to part with and when someone picks one of your offerings you ship it at no cost to you (you print out a prepaid mail slip). In exchange you get points which you can use to choose a book or movie someone else has listed. In addition to your points you pay $4.49 for shipping. There are over 50,000 readers on Bookins so the selection is pretty large.
- Half.com: Half.com, a division of eBay offers books and other items at ridiculously low prices plus shipping. I’ve bought brand new hardback best sellers for 10% of the price and found out-of-print finds as well. I always check half.com first before paying retail for a new book from a beloved author.
- Retail Bargains: Other places to find book bargains include Costco (New York Times Best Sellers at a discount) and the “Bargain” section and tables of Barnes & Noble and Chapters (in Canada). I’ve picked up some fun books for under $5 dollars or 50% off and found beautiful coffee table style books as well.
- Friends: Several friends and I have fallen into the habit of swapping books. It’s a great way to try new authors and you have someone to discuss the book with – bonus!
So what do I do with all these books? Books I’ll read again get added to my numerous bookcases at home. The rest go on half.com, Bookins or get donated to the local library to be sold to raise money for the library to buy more books for me to read.
Do you have a guilty book habit? What’s your favorite way to indulge? What’s your secret way to save on books?
Filed under: Books |