Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly discussion post here on Rainy Day Ramblings where I discuss a wide range of topics from books to blogging. Weigh in and join the conversation by adding your thoughts in the comments. If you want to do your own post, grab the question and answer it on your blog.
Book Budgets...are you out of control when it comes to buying books?
As I cruise around the blogosphere, I see many a blogger doing posts on balancing their book budgets. Some bloggers seem to be on top of their budgets, while others are struggling. I personally spend less than $20.00 a month on books, if that. I have learned some simple tricks for keeping your book budget in check. Here are some of my tried and true penny pinching tips.
- Before you buy, ask yourself, do I really need this book right now? Am I going to be able to read it within the next month? If the answer is no, you probably won't read it for a couple of months or more due to your busy blogging schedule, don't buy it and let it sit on your shelf or worse, let it get lost on your Kindle. I can't tell you how many books I have bought and lost in the depths of my Kindle. If you aren't going to read the book within the next few weeks, I would suggest waiting to purchase the book. You might find that when you finally get around to reading that title you had to have when it released, that you're no longer as excited to read it due to dismal reviews or it doesn't appeal to you like it once did. There are so many books that I longed for only to be disappointed after the book released to see not so glowing reviews, it severely diminished my desire to read the book. So unless you are going to read the book in a timely manner, avoid the impulse buying. Only buy the book of you are going to read it now.
- How much is the book? Will the price go down if I wait? Once again, we all get caught up in the new book release hype and many readers rush out and buy the book as soon as it releases, paying the steep hardback cover prices or high ebook prices. Again, if you aren't going to read the book right now, why pay the higher price? Lots of times, a book, especially those in a series, will go on sale when another book is due to release in the series. It always pays to snatch up those books when they are priced under $5.00. You can get a lot more bang for your buck. If you are one who likes to have a physical copy, do you need a hardback or are you willing to wait for the lower priced paperback? Don't pile up the books if you aren't going to read them.
- Have you checked the bargain book bins? Those of you who frequent book stores on a regular basis, know that there are bargain books. It always pays to check out the sale price bin as you can find some great deals. Also it never hurts to check second hand stores and used books. I recently purchased the entire Ramona Quimby Series by Beverly Cleary for my daughter at Goodwill. The books were like brand new and each one was only $1.00. Score! You can't go wrong hunting for a bargain. You can also take advantage of daily deals and other sale prices online.
- Kindle Unlimited...Have you considered subscribing to a book program such as Amazon's Kindle Unlimited? For $9.99 a month, you can read an unlimited amount of books, as long as the book is part of the program, and I am certain you won't have a hard time picking out something to read.
- Are you utilizing your library? For those of you who haven't checked out all your library has to offer these days, you are missing out. Libraries are growing and evolving with the ever changing book market, and most are now offering ebooks for checkout. I have mentioned this before, but I will repeat it for newbies, there are programs such as Overdrive and Library To Go which allow you to check out books in your area from libraries online. You can access ebooks and audiobooks without having to go to the library. How convenient is that? Not to mention, it always pays to support your local library as they are such a wonderful resource. I take my kids ever three weeks, and we come home with a book bag crammed full of books. Don't forget, the library is free. Why spend money on books when you can borrow them?
- Consider a book loaning program with friends and bloggers. If you are an established blogger, you more than likely have a stack of books from publishers and authors waiting to be read. If you aren't going to read them, pass them along to friends and family and even fellow bloggers. Why not start a book exchange program with some of your blogging buddies? If you are in the same area, you can meet in person and exchange books, or you can mail a whole box, which is about the same as buying one hardback.
- Why pay for the cow when you can get the milk for free? The library is a great resource for free books, but you can also get many books for free as a lot of authors and publishers will occasionally offer their books for free for a limited promo period, usually it is the first book in a series to snag readers. When I first got my Kindle back in 2008, I snatched up the first books in the Mercy Thompson Series and The Hollows when they were offered for a limited time for free on Amazon. I read lots of free books when I first got my Kindle and it exposed me to new genres. Keep in mind, not every free book is going to be awesome, but you can't complain too loudly when it is free, right? Just be sure to research the freebies you are grabbing before reading to help ensure a quality read.
- Avoid impulse buying. It is so easy to get caught up in the "I have to have it now because everyone else is reading it" mentality, but if you are truly trying to watch your book budget, take a step back, breath deep and ask yourself if you can afford it? Is it worth it? Should I really buy this book now? Sometimes stopping and thinking it through will save you from spending out of control.
- Time to pass them along.... if you have a huge stack of books that you have finished reading and don't intend on reading it again, consider taking your books down to a bookstore that buys used books, you won't get what you paid for it, but you will still get some cash, and it is better to pass along the books to someone else who will read them and love them while you make some cash to put toward future book purchases. You can also hunt for some bargains while you are trading in your books. You can find some terrific second hand books for dirt cheap.
It is never easy to keep your book buying in check, but if you stop and consider all the options before you make a big impulse buy, you might find it is a bit easier to keep that book buying budget in check. I can't stress enough what a terrific resource the library is, especially if you are looking to read some long running series. You can read to your heart's content and not feel guilty about spending cash on books. Not to mention, it is so important to support your library.
So what do you do to keep your book budget in check?
Next week's TMST:
How do you handle writing unflattering reviews?