Buy or Borrow?

7 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion Day

One of the issues we, as book enthusiasts, run across is how to feed our addiction. Let’s face it – books are expensive! While the expense is hard on any budget, it’s especially hard on those of us who have little or no income (talk about poor college student, here!) There’s obviously solutions out there – I went to my local library 3 days in a row this past week, and that’s fairly normal. But not everybody has as good a library system as I do, and frankly there’s nothing like actually owning the books you love. So what do you do, when you’re feeling a little tight in the wallet? Do you have any tricks or tips to share?

I actually went shopping this week and found 3 different books to buy. That’s a nearly record amount for me – I generally buy my books one at a time and only if I feel like I need a treat. It got me thinking about the whole book buying issue. So, my tricks for buying the books you want without breaking the bank:

1) Always shop around. I love Amazon, especially because they’ll give me free shipping for being a student, but even with the free shipping, they don’t always have the cheapest price. Sometimes The Book Depository beats them, or if it’s something I’m willing to get a used copy for it’s cheaper to buy that and pay the shipping, than to not pay shipping and buy a new copy.

2) Get in on book swaps! I personally use but I’m sure all of them work well. You can’t be guaranteed to find the newest releases, but often if you’re looking for something released a few years ago you can find 6 or 8 copies waiting to be swapped. Plus, it’s a great place to get rid of books that you’re willing to part with and make room for all those new lovelies you’ll be swapping in.

3) Look at your local grocery store. We don’t have any bookstores in town, so I’ll look every time I go to see if they’ve changed stock. They usually only have the bestsellers, but often you can find better deals there than at an actual bookstore. As an extension, check your nearest co-op or bulk store. We have a Sam’s Club about half and hour away that my mom’s a member of. While she only goes once every couple of months, I always beg her to take me along – their book selection is iffy, but you can often find the biggest hits at the absolute lowest price you will find anywhere! I bought The Iron King the other day there for $4 (!) less than the lowest price I’d found online.

4) I rarely, if ever, buy hardbacks. If I know I want to read a hardback, generally I’ll get on the list for it at the library before it even comes out, then if I loved it as much as I thought I would, I’ll preorder the paperback version. This may be difficult, especially when something you love is coming out, but trust me, you’ll save hundreds every year if you can manage it!

What do you do to save money on your book addiction?

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7 Responses to “Buy or Borrow?”

  1. Sally says:

    I try and get most of my books from the library, but it's hard when the next book in the series comes out that you desperately want to read and you know there'll probably be a six week waiting list for it. If I really have to buy it I'll try and go for the paperback edition, and I always shop around to see where I can get it the cheapest. Sucks to be poor!

  2. Megan @ Reading for Refuge says:

    I usually get it from the libary first unless it's a sequel to something I own or if it's been highly recommended to me from a trusted source. :) I love ordering them from Amazon too– I'm a mom, so I signed up on Amazon Mom and now I get no tax and free shipping on everything I order. I love it!

  3. Bethany says:

    Until recently, I went to Borders when I had a coupon. Then I found this bargin outlit that has current YA books for 3.99(paperbacks)-4.99(hardbacks). The first time I went there, I got three hardback copies for 12$. I almost died of happiness…

  4. Kate says:

    I don't use library's for various reasons I won't go into, but I do shop around. A good comparison site is BooksPrice but it doesn't have every book on there (most, but not all). Still, its useful.

    I never used to buy hardbacks unless they were part of a series and I wanted to find out what happens ASAP. Since I stumbled across the book blogging world, that has changed. I've been hearing about books before they're published and can't resist buying them as soon as I can.

    Book buying is definitely an addiction.

  5. bookaddict102 says:

    I really don't like to swap my books. I did with my friends and they always came back damaged. I usually shop at McKay's where you can trade in books for cash or just get store credit to buy more books. It feeds my addiction! Plus, they have cheap prices for new books! I found a hardback for $2 and it was brand new! Score! :)
    Thanks for the advice!

  6. Alexia561 says:

    I've really had to cut back on buying books, as I'm running out of room! Have been using the library more and more, but need to look into the book swap sites. Heard that Barnes & Noble is going to start letting regular customers sell their books online, so maybe selling some of my stock will help pay for my book addiction!

  7. Anne says:

    It's so interesting to hear that most of you primarily go to libraries as well! I thought I was the only one who got everything from the library, so many people talk about books they've bought around the blogosphere. Glad to know I'm not alone!

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