plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

August 20, 2007

eight ideas for saving money on books

Filed under: frugal — plonkee @ 12:00 pm

My name is plonkee and I am a bibliophile.

I currently own quite a few books, including a large collection of children’s books (yes I am child-free). I am an absolute sucker for blurbs on the back of books, especially novels – to me many books sound a lot better than they actually are. If I could, I would have an entire room dedicated as my library (with one of those little ladders on wheels), I’m lucky to be a quick reader and so I could take full advantage of this.

Here are eight strategies that I use to save money on books and the order in which I use them:

Not Buying Books

1. Reading before I buy – whilst browsing in a bookshop, I pick up many books whose blurbs take my fancy and read the opening, the ending (assuming its not some kind of whodunnit) and a bit in the middle. This allows me to decide whether I’m really going to like the style of the book in question and stops me acquiring books that are rubbish. It also has the side-effect of generating for me a list of books that I do want to read.

2. Using the library – if I just want something to read, and I don’t fancy any of the books in front of me, I just go to the library and pick up a few there. This has the advantage of being pretty much free (as long as you return them on time), however there isn’t a great selection of non-fiction (my preferred random reading style) that can be taken out.

3. Acquiring other people’s books – people are often willing to lend me books. Some of my friends who read books more slowly lend me books to read so that I can see if they are worth bothering with. As I am known as an avid reader, people often offer me their unwanted books as well as lending me books that I have stated an interest in. I have also been known to win books in competitions.

4. Asking for books as gifts – I’m lucky enough that I get gifts for my birthday and for Christmas. I often use this to channel people into buying me books that I have had my eye on for a while.

Buying Books

5. Second hand books – if you like books apart from the most recent of best sellers, they can often be found cheaply second hand. Car boot sales and jumble sales are an excellent location for genre fiction, like sci-fi, crime or romance novels. Second-hand bookshops are great places to pick classic novels and quirky retro pieces (such as domestic science from the 1950s).

6. Discount bookshops – in my town there is an excellent discount bookshop that has a particularly large selection of science fiction, I can satisfy my craving at a third off regular book prices. These may not be the best books in the world, so I combine this tactic with no.1 above to make sure I’m taking home a book I will read. Discount bookshops are also a good choice for books as gifts, the ones near me have excellent selections of coffee table and recipe books for example.

7. Special offers – Waterstones, Borders and WH Smith quite often have special offers on books, like two for �10 or three for two. This works out in my favour if two or three of the books that I’m interested in are in the special offer, or there are books in the special offer that would make good gifts for someone else.

8. Comparison shopping – I use the internet and the high street to comparison shop books that I am interested in. I did this for the latest Harry Potter, which I wound up ordering from Amazon. In this particular case, I wanted to get it on the day of publishing and I didn’t want to have to buy something else to get it cheaper e.g. in some shops you could get it for �1-�2 less than I paid, but you had to spend �10-�15 on something else.

What else could I be doing to reduce the cost of my books?

Similar Posts:

If you like what you're reading, why not leave a comment below, subscribe to my feed, or check out some of my best posts.

Powered by WordPress