The next three blog posts I want to devote to talking about things relating to book buying. We, as readers, all have different spending habits when it comes to what we buy and how much we spend on books. Some might use the library as their main source of books thus spending way less than those who like buying very special editions. Today’s post I’ll talk about my own experience with book buying, on Friday I’ll provide a list of where to buy books as an international reader—I’m Europe based but I’ll try to point out whether they’re available worldwide—that aren’t ridiculously pricey, and next Tuesday I’ll give you some resources to read for free.
I’m not someone who will buy stuff in the spur of the moment. Sure, that might happen from time to time, but usually I tend to analyse and compare prices and try to find the best quality for the best price. To me, that’s part of the fun of it, and I can ensure that I really want what I’m buying—be it an item of clothing, a book, or whatever. So, me saying I want to buy a specific book might mean I end up waiting months to buy it, unless I plan on reading it immediately. I also very rarely buy books in store, because the stories I’m interested in rarely make it to my local bookshops and if they do they’re translated from English—which I don’t like, because I want to read in the original language as much as possible—or they’re very expensive.
Over the years, the way I buy books has totally shifted. When I first got into reading, I used to buy many books at a time, which led to having an intense physical TBR. That was most definitely very influenced by the content I was watching on YouTube which consisted of many book hauls and everyone constantly recommending really interesting books. However, nowadays I try to only buy books when I know that I’ll start reading them immediately. I obviously fail at this sometimes—The Poppy War has been on my shelves for a year now and I still haven’t touched it—but it’s an improvement from how I used to function.
Additionally, I can’t ignore the fact that since starting this blog I’ve been receiving ARCs and ALC, something that simply wasn’t part of my reading experience before. That has definitely had a noticeable impact on the number of books I buy. And not only that, but I’ve increased the number of classics I read, which are copyright-free and thus downloadable from quite a few sites.
Moreover, I really like thrifting clothes, and that has transferred over to my book buying habits. I admit I was a bit hesitant to buy books second-hand as I always saw them really battered and yellowed, and I can’t hide the fact that I like my books in good condition. Nevertheless, I dipped my toes into the second-hand book world out of sheer necessity. I got most of my university books I couldn’t borrow from friends second-hand but where my love for buying them second-hand was born when I was looking for some specific Pre-Raphaelite books. Coffee table books tend to be really expensive, and these specific Pre-Raphalite ones I wanted weren’t an exception. Buying them new was way too out of my budget and in some instances simply impossible because they were out of print, so I turned to the second-hand market and found them in great quality for less than half their original price. Because of that experience, I now try to first look for the books I want second-hand.
Finally, a change that I’ve been trying to incorporate is buying as little as possible from Amazon, which I know this is a privileged position to be in because depending on where you live it’s simply impossible to buy books anywhere else. Personally, whereas before I tended to use Amazon and Book Depository, I try to avoid them now. Specifically Book Depository was a fantastic site for many years, but learning that they were bought by Amazon forced me to try to stop using them.
For all of these reason, I’ve been finding and trying more and more sites to buy books online where I won’t be paying more for shipping than the actual book. If you want to find more about these webs, you can find a complete list HERE (it will be linked on Friday).
How would you describe your book buying habits? Have they changed over the years?