Monday, February 27, 2012

Actually having books to read: Tips on filling your book shelves on the cheap (with books you are actually likely to like)

Wow! That was a long title.

I know a lot of people who like to read. Some of them love to read, but most of them just like it. The reason a lot of these people don't read more is because they either have a life or they don't like paying $20 dollars for a book in case they don't like it. I decided to write this post to help these people find cheaper books in the future. I'm also going to include a few tips at the bottom about discovering authors and books that these people are most likely going to enjoy.

Firstly, I would like to let you know that I rarely spend $20 dollars on a book. I like to splurge on books, but by splurging on books I mean spending large amounts of money on lots of books. I make sure that I'm paying the lowest price I can for a novel and if that price is too high, then I might just have to wait. 

There are ways to get your fiction fix for free. The range of free novels available won't always be the most varied or the best quality, but it sure is free.

Most towns should have one of these. They lend you books for free as long as you return them by a certain date. Personally I prefer to buy my own books, but if I'm a little unsure about a novel I will probably borrow it from the library. The only problems the library are:

-If you want a specific book -depending on how popular it is- you may have to wait for it to become available. Some books can be heavily reserved and are almost impossible to get a hold of.

-Depending on the number or size of the books you may not be able to finish them in time. This can be easily fixed by asking for an extension, however some librarians can get a little cranky about it and I especially don't like to get extensions because I get a little embarrassed about not finishing the book by a certain time.

-Many people dislike libraries because of the hygiene factor. I've heard that there are people who worry about others not having washed hands before touching books at the library. I think this is a silly reason not to get books from the library, because people touch books at bookstores before other people buy them.

The increase in intelligent technology over the past ten years has made a lot of entertainment available (both illegally and legally) on the net for free. Many applications allow readers to download free classics and sites like allow readers to download original and copied works. The cons are:

-If you don't like reading from a bright screen or aren't a very technological person, you might not like this way of reading books.

-There isn't normally a large range for free. Classics are normally free, but most other books will cost money to download.

-Depending on how legitimate the App/Site is some of the books may not be punctuated/spelled correctly.

You can find these in Magazines, on publisher websites, on Goodreads, on author websites, on blogs and in online book store sites. It's surprising  how few people enter some of these competitions or giveaways sometimes.

If you have that little bit of extra spare time on your hands and don't mind writing a review after finishing a novel book blogging might be for you. Click HERE for more information. The range of books can also be limited as review books tend to only be new release novels. The range of books you have access to will also depend on which publishers you are affiliated with.

Again with the hygiene thing... If you aren't pedantic about how neat or clean your novels are you can buy second hand for cheaper than what it costs to buy new. Sometimes you can pick up an out-of-print book or edition of a book 2nd hand. You can buy books at most charity shops and garage sales. If you are lucky your town might actually have a 2nd hand book store. You can also buy used books online on stores like amazon. My town has an ex-library book sale every once and a while for people who don't mind reading books with stickers on them.

I buy most of my books this way. I wouldn't say that I buy very often though, because of the review books. Where I live (in Australia) I have two sites that I choose from. Normally Amazon is cheaper price wise, but much dearer freight wise. Lately has actually been cheaper. The price depends on the edition, size, format and popularity of the novel. Normally I find that most small paperback copies are under $10 dollars.

I find that specialty book shops are quite expensive. They are beautiful to look at, but the only thing that will get me to buy something from a book shop is a "reduced" sticker. Book store books are sometimes even cheaper than the books on fishpond.

This means shops like: Target, Big W and Kmart. If you want a new release book these stores are normally the cheapest. They also often have deals on books in a series. For example "Buy 2 books in the Vampire Academy series and get a third half price". Some of these stores sell their books at 20% lower than the RRP normally.

The good ole $2 shop, definitely not great for variety and filled with more sex orientated historical fiction than you can poke a stick at, but it may surprise you. I've found a few lesser-known books by some of the authors I'm interested in at my local store and a few books from my Shelfari TBR pile in a smaller size with a different cover. The books at discount stores where I live normally don't go over $5 (Unless they are bestsellers, which are more like $7 - $16).

-Wait for books to reduce in price, sometimes it doesn't take very long at all.
-Buy in bulk. Books that come in boxed sets or bind ups can be cheaper than buying books individually.
-Get into the classics. Classic books are easy to come by. They can be downloaded for free or purchased for a cheaper price than ordinary books. The price will depend on the edition though. Plainer classics are the cheaper ones.
-Purchase smaller, paperback editions where possible.
-Trade in old books for unread ones by selling them on fishpond (sellers receive a credit on their account to spend online for the amount they sold the book for) or taking them into a book depository.

Not only can it be difficult to buy books at a reasonable price, but it can be difficult to know what to buy. Finding new authors and series to follow can be tricky business for people who don't use the internet to research books much. If you don't like using the internet to discover new reads, the only way to really know which novels to read is to go by genre. Sites that help for those who want to use them:

-These often have a "People who bought this also bought" type of recomendation system.
-Reviews from people who have bought and read the novel
-A preview of the first 1 or 2 chapters

I don't really know what else I would call them. Sites like Shelfari, Goodreads and LibraryThing. These sites include helpful things like:

-Book Reccomendation Systems. Good reads reccomends based on what you've read. Shelfari can reccomend books by authors you've read, next books in the series and books your contacts are readingl
-A "books in common" feature, so you can see which contactshave similar tastes to you and know whether or not to trust their reviews or ratings.
-List "similar books", "Inspired by" and "Other people also like"
-Chapter preview
-On Goodreads you can follow an author's reviews/ratings.

-Reviews and Book Hauls

I hope that this information was helpful to anyone out there who is struggling to find books that interest them and/or that are at a reasonable price.

Your Favourite Blogger,


Melanie said...

I love using the recommendations sites give based on other things people who've bought the same thing as I've bought. They can be fairly accurate!

Stopping by through Saturday Situation. Happy weekend!

-Melanie from Melanie's Musings

Anonymous said...

Great post with some fsb tips. We did something similar last year called Frugal Fiction.
I'm visiting via Candace's book Blog.