It seems like there’s an unending stream of shelf worthy reads coming out everyday and yet my paycheck isn’t getting any bigger. In fact, the older I get, the more bills and surprise expenses crop up. Unless you are independently wealthy or own a bookstore (lucky you. Let’s be friends. 👻) then you’re probably familiar with hardcover versus softcover versus groceries dilemma. So today I’m going to share my own bookish money habits.
1. Read before you buy.
It’s not exactly rocket science but you probably won’t love every book that crosses your TBR pile. But shelling out the dough for something that you don’t love, or worse, detest, can feel like being thrown off the astronomy tower by a greasy git.
When available check books out of your local library, borrow from friends or use a subscription service to read for the whole month. I personally recommend Oyster which is Netflix for books. Unlimited books for 10$ a month and an ever expanding collection to chose from.
If you read something that you absolutely love and plan to reread for years to come then it’s much less painful to purchase that hardcover with the gold edging and fabric bookmark.
2. Less than perfect copies or the glories of scratch/dent.
If you aren’t about perfection or prefer a more lived in feel to your books than you can usually save 50% or more by purchasing from the scratch/dent section at your local shop or, if you shop online, Book Outlet.
The selection comes and goes with Book Outlet but when you luck out the savings are normally huge. I tend to shop only the s/d books and I’ve yet to receive a book that made me cringe. Some of them I haven’t even been able to find what’s “wrong” with my copy. On my most recent order I saved 38$ on 4 books and paid 12.80$ not bad right?
Another option is to check independent sellers on Amazon. I’ve bought several less than perfect art books this way and while a few didn’t come with dust jackets, or had dirty/dinged up covers, I saves 15-20$ per book.
3. Sales/gift cards/bribery.
Another excellent resource are holiday sales. Black Friday, Xmas, and more can save on shipping or a percentage of your order. While it’s not a solution for every day shopping or when you’ve got an urge for a particular volume, stocking up when things are cheapest assures that your TBR is sufficiently padded for the months when your wallet is empty.
I myself make it a point to ask everyone who intends to purchase me gifts for whatever reason to either do gift cards or buy off a conveniently printed book list. Similarly when people ask for a trade of things or services, such as repainting the barn or editing someone’s college papers, I point to my next must read.
4. Preorder gods!
If the latest book in a series is about to drop, or your favorite auto-buy author has something new in the works purchasing early can cut costs (especially on hardcovers). While I do preorder occasionally, I will say that this option can bite you in the ass since you aren’t charged for books until they are released and if you’re not careful, you can empty your account if you didn’t set the money aside. It is like Christmas though to come home to books you forgot you ordered in your mailbox.
5. Desperation. Or full price buys.
Sometimes it’s unavoidable that you’ll have to pay full price for something. But at least you can take comfort in the fact that your buying something awesome that will still have value to your heart and mind in the years to come. Also at full price your probably feeding a starving author somewhere.
If you have to buy full price then you should try and support local or independent bookstores. My personal favorite is reseller and discount store to begin with so I score a lot of deals whenever I stop in.
Book Outlet (Cheap books with fast shipping to suit your bookish needs.)
Oyster (Book subscription service giving you all the books you can read every month for 10$.)
Bullmoose (Shoutout to my localish book/music/movie/game store. Found in several locations in Maine.)
So those are my money saving bookish recommendations, let me know how you save money and support your book addiction below and I’ll see you next time.