Monday, May 6, 2013

Discussion: Book Buying Habits

The Daydreamer’s Ramblings is a weekly(ish) discussion post about bookish things. I love to hear your opinions on all topics, and if there any topics you think I should talk about be sure to let me know!

I’ve mentioned before that until last year, I very rarely bought books. I couldn’t afford it, so I got all my books from the library. Then last year I slowly started buying a few books here and there, and it snowballed.

Between Twitter and weekly features like Stacking the Shelves, I’ve gotten to know a few people’s book buying habits fairly well. It’s obvious there are a lot of people who have no budget when it comes to buying books, and I have to admit I kind of envy those people. Even though I buy books, I always buy bargain books. I get them from the bargain section at Chapters, or from The Book Depository, or from the bookshop at my library.

Quite a few people probably won’t know this, but books are more expensive in Canada than in the US. I’m not sure if books have both American and Canadian pricing in the States, but here books are marked with both prices, and the Canadian price is always higher. Most hardcover books are $19.99 and I just can’t afford that – I wish I could! I can buy 4 bargain books for that price lol. Finding books I really want on sale is one of my favourite things ever.


*Incidentally, I didn't pay full price for any of these; Anna and the French Kiss was about $9 on The Book Depository, the Harry Potter cookbook was a gift, Beautiful Creatures I got for $4.74 in the bargain section at Chapters, and I got a pre-order deal on The Casual Vacancy for $18, which is a lot for me but it's JK Rowling, so.....*

The only exceptions I can think of where I paid full price were for my Harry Potter books. I got the first few for free from a book club and then I bought the rest on the day they came out. Thirteen years ago when Goblet of Fire came out, I paid $35 for it. Three years later, I paid…*gulp*…$43 for Order of the Phoenix. I think of that now and it seems like absolute insanity, but I had to have them. Mind you, my 16- and 19-year-old selves had more disposable income than my 29 year-old self! And considering I got the first two or three for free, plus the fact I’ve read and reread them, I’d say I’ve got my money’s worth.

Now I want to know about your book buying habits. Do you keep track of how much money you spend on books? Do you have a book-buying budget? If so, is it weekly/monthly (or - *gasp* - maybe even daily)? Do you ever go on book buying bans? Do you buy books full price or buy bargain books? Both? Do you wait for books to come out in paperback so you can buy them cheaper? What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a book? 



  1. That sucks that books cost more in Canada. I wonder why that is!
    I don't have a set book buying budget but I tend to go on a buying binge and then have to avoid buying anything for a couple months. I definitely prefer buying books on sale; I try to buy all of my ebooks when they are on sale and I try to hit up used bookstores before buying new.

  2. Haha books cost even more in Australia!

    I just paid $27 for a hardback the other day.

    And oh my goodness, I'm a "struggling" uni student and I've spent THOUSANDS of dollars on books.

    I went through a phase last year where I was spending between $50 ~ $100 a week. I go on book buying binges on the book depository where I buy up to $100 at a time.

    Every time I visit my local bookstore I buy something. My local bookstore prices books really high - $16 ~ $23 for a paperback and in Australia, we nearly never have hardbacks. Any hardbacks are those sourced straight from the US supplier!

    I have bought ALL my books. I haven't been to a library/borrowed a novel to read from one in about 7 years.

    Bargain books wise I've bought 2 in my life - Divergent for $5 and the same for Hereafter. I'm never doing it again to be honest because the quality was horrible :(

    I'm the sort of person that has to have everything new lol. When I'm in the bookstore, I spend ages picking my books making sure the covers aren't scratched/creased and that the edges of the spines aren't peeling.

    HP came out here in hardback for around $27 because all the stores were giving discounts on the release day. I still remember because I BEGGED my mum for OoTP and by HBP she knew I just had to have the books :P (when I say I spent thousands, that's of my own money. My mum would never be able to afford the books at the rate I buy nowadays).

    I should take a leaf out of your book haha and start to save.

  3. Books are crazy expensive! I used to not care how much I spent, but I just can't keep up with reading what I buy. In the past month I've gotten really good at NOT feeling like I need to buy all the books. Maybe it was because I had to keep up with other bloggers? You know, seeing bloggers who bring in 10-20 books each week made me think I had to do the same. Well, not anymore! I'm going to give my pocketbook a break and only buy books that I desperately need (like the new Stephanie Perkins, or the new Neil Gaiman or something). There are other things my money can be spent on -- or saved for!

  4. As Jaz said books are really expensive here as well, especially for a hardback.

    I read mainly on my kindle so eBooks aren't as expensive but I've noticed new release books I have really wanted have been around the $12 mark which I won't pay (unless its something I absolutely must have - end of series book etc), in this case I'll use TBD. The libraries here don't stock a lot of YA books unfortunately.

    I don't have a set budget but I also don't buy many books each week as well. I limit what I purchase because I still have so many other books to catch up on; my main reasoning for buying now is if its something that has really captured my attention & is reasonably priced (no more than $5 for an eBook) a part of a series I love or an author I adore.

    A wonderful post Marie :-)

  5. I buy way more then I need. I'm doing "better" this year then I did last year, but I'm still constantly "behind". I've always been an impulsive shopper, my primary hobby (gaming) has mostly gone down the tubes which left me with a huge open gap in my finances, and books just sorta squeezed their way in.

    I just got three yesterday--"Sweet Surrender" by Maya Banks (saw it for 25% off at Shoppers Drugmart and was curious after the "Sweet Rebellion" thing.), and two Harlequin Kiss novels--"Her Deal With The Devil" (I'm a sucker for a great title and I love the shade of blue of the heroine's dress. Oh, and *of course* the summary looked good when I picked it up) and "Anything But Vanilla" (I had every intention of buying this one; Liz Fielding sent me her Presents novel "Flirting With Italian" last year and my grandma and I both loved it, so I feel I'm sorta paying it forward by grabbing this.)

    As for $14.50 on Amazon? I always feel I'm getting a deal because I know those titles are gonna be $20 - 23 at Chapters. I also actually *prefer* to buy the *exact* book I want at full price over buying *a* book at a discount. Why? Because I'm more likely to read the book I pay more for, because when I pay more I think more seriously about what I'm buying.

    Three things are helping curb some of my spending in 2013:

    (1) My Kindle, and my obsession with New Adult. So much of the genre is happening mainly in digital form and at low costs. I'm saving a fortune.

    (2) Planning what I want each month. By making lists through blog and goodreads research, I'm able to make sure I know what I want.

    (3) Budgeting for my author debuts. I need to buy covers, make sure these pieces get edited, get cover reveals done, get each piece formatted, and probably do a tour for Sweet Rebellion and possibly something smaller for Promise Me Forever. All of that costs money and must be saved for.

    I don't necessarily think there's "right" or "wrong" buying habits... But I do think its important to be aware of what you are like as a buyer so that you can manipulate your finances, rather then letting marketing and advertising take you for a ride.

    Happy shopping. :)

  6. I've never paid much attention to how much I pay for books. I think the most expensive book I've bought was The Host by S. Meyer. I still haven't read it. When in a book store, browsing, I forget to look at prices.

  7. I used to be a new books only kind of buyer, but now I much prefer well-read (a.k.a. used). It is very seldom that I walk into a book store and do not buy a book. I have to avoid book stores when I don't have the money to spend, because I know I will buy another book to add to my TBR pile regardless of whether or not I can actually afford it. I could spend days in books stores, preferably used book stores, but really any book store in general. The most I have ever spent on a book? I really know, maybe $50 if you don't count textbooks! You should check out Better World Books online; I love them for used books!

    B from

  8. My buying habits vary month to month. I pretty much have a good idea of how much money I would be able to spend every month, so I stay within that range. If I see a good deal, I'll weigh the pros and cons. "Have I really been wanting this book? Is the sale price really a good deal? Do I really need this one now or can it wait, even if I have to pay a couple dollars more later?"

    I've kinda gotten to the point as well where I can easily get to my library and borrow certain books instead of buying them. Now that I live closer, lol. :P

    BUT! I usually go for the deals. It's very VERY rare that I pay full price. I'm more likely to get it online for maybe $5 cheaper than in stores. It depends on my patience... and if I'm wanting more than one book. Lol. ;)

  9. I used to buy more hardcovers - like EVERY time a new Jodi Picoult book came out, or other favorite authors. Then more and more authors I loved starting doing hardcover release, and I suddenly had these evil adult things called bills *hiss*. So I had to start budgeting myself. I think the best thing I ever did was get my Nook, because I've found a LOT of books I've wanted to try either for free, or under $3. So I DO allow myself to splurge more there. I think I've only paid full price for two e-books since I got my Nook!

    Physical book wise, I am to thankful to blogging. One reason why I like reading ARCs is because I'm still somewhat impulsive, and when I first started blogging and I COULD buy more books, I bought a lot I ended up donating/etc because I never read them, or started them and hated them. So now I use ARCs and other bloggers to vet my books first. Though obviously a sequel to a book I LOVED is gonna be one I buy (like Thornhill, Siege and Storm/etc.)

    Great topic!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  10. YES, Marie we have identical buying habits, LOL. Bargain, bargain, bargain! I love browsing bookstores, but I hardly buy books there unless they are on sale because I can't fathom paying more than $15 for a book. I have bought more books since I began blogging, but I still only have 1 bookcase (well, and a smaller one but that's filled with Buffy books & DVDs). I'm pretty good with purging books and donating or selling them. Sometimes I feel like I'm not a good book blogger or reader because I don't have 3 book cases but 1) I can't afford it (the bookcases or all the books) and 2) I don't have the space since I still live at home.

    I too, however, did not bat an eye at paying $30+ dollars on a Harry Potter book when they came out. I think you are right -- we were younger, had more disposable income, and also it was 1 series and they came out every few years. It wasn't like I was spending that every month, or even 1x/year.

  11. I am so cheap when it comes to buying books now. I used to buy all the time when I had disposable income (pre-kid), but now I rarely buy. Especially since I have a ton of review books, both physical and ebook. Why should I spend money when I have a huge selection already waiting to be read?

    Any time I do buy, it's always a bargain. Usually a community book sale, or garage sale, or bargain bin. I just can't bring myself to buy expensive books anymore.

  12. I've noticed that books are WAY more expensive in Canada than they are in the US. And then I cringe when I see the price that Canada has set.

    As for the book budget,I set one for the first time last month. I can buy as many books as I want during any given month but the total must not exceed my pre-determined budget for the month. Thankfully I only buy free books for my Kindle so I don't have to include those in the budget.


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