Since the demise of Borders, and the strong Aussie dollar, there’s been a big spotlight on how much we pay for books. While we should in fact support our local, it is difficult to justify paying double the price in some cases.
Discounted Books at Physical Stores
These stores are typically the ‘clearance store’ for books, where your most likely to find random books at heavily discounted prices. It also seems to be the ultimate destination for celebrity ‘authors.’ They also sell the latest releases, but usually with a minimal or non-existent discount.
But of course with many discounted books, you may be tempted to buy more ‘just because it’s cheap’ which kind of negates the effort of saving – so be careful!
Obviously, most people seem to be buying their books online from overseas retailers. If you don’t mind waiting a few weeks, with the amazing Aussie dollar and offers of free/cheap shipping – it’s hard to compete locally.
A few months ago I bought ‘Style’ by Lauren Conrad (from The Hills… don’t judge me!) from Amazon UK on sale at £5.99 (AUD $9.45) vs $29.95 locally!
1 GBP = 1.53 AUD
Here's a comparison:
|Book||Borders AUS||Amazon UK ||Book Depository US|
Style – Lauren Conrad
|Free||Free when spending over £25||Free shipping|
It’s now come to the point where Amazon are selling more eBooks than physical books! While I’m sure it was inevitable, I think everyone was surprised at how quickly this happened.
A general rule of thumb is that the digital edition will cost less than the physical version due to minimal distribution costs and self service. However, this is NOT always the case.
The benefit of eBooks you can carry hundreds of books on the go, by reading it on an eBook reader (Kindle, Kobo, Nook…), smartphones (iPhone, Android), or iPad.
There will always be those bookworm purists who want the physical copy, but for those who don’t care, go for the price!
Second Hand Books
Second hand generally means cheaper.
If your looking for something specific that’s not a classic, it could be difficult to source, but it’s a great way to discover books that you’ve never heard of.
Growing up I absolutely loved going to second hand bookstores, I used to stock up Sweet Valley High, they were only 20c each back in the day!
Borrowing From A Friend
‘Sharing is caring’
The key benefit is that it’s free. But of course this arrangement only works out if you have friends who are willing to share, and you have similar taste in books. However, there is always the risk that you could damage the book (yes, I'm guilty).
The library is my personal favourite, the collection will always be greater than what you have at home and best of all it’s free!
You might be surprised in what your local library has to offer, it’s not just old books that smell funny. My local has kept up with the times by having some personal favourites like Sex, Drug and Cocoa Puffs (Chuck Klosterman) and Freakonomics (Steven D. Levitt). And of course the ‘popular’ books, Twilight anyone?
The downside is that popular books may be difficult to borrow and could have lengthy waiting lists, and they also may not have the book you want.
The library is a great way to try to read books you wouldn’t typically read as there is no financial investment. And since there’s no investment, there is no guilt trip to finish reading the book if you don’t enjoy it.
I do realise this is not an option for everyone. But that being said I know a lot of people where this isn’t an issue but don’t take advantage of it.
To Sum Up
It definitely does pay to shop around when it comes to books. Simple as that.
My number one choice has always been the library, I absolutely love random finds! Also taking chances on books that are outside what you would typically read.
Even though this post is based on common knowledge, I'm sure a lot of people have spent money on books they'll never read (but make excellent dust collectors!).