How to Make Your Book Habit Cheaper

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I want to start this by saying that I know I live in an extremely privileged area. I’m in the fourth largest city in the United States. I have tons of access to quick shipping, huge systems etc. So some of these tips may not apply to where you are, but I am really hoping that we influence change in the publishing world since we are the consumers.

How to make your book habit cheaper…

I keep a spreadsheet to track how much I spend on books. It makes me more cognizant of my spending habits AND I enter how much I save by shopping discounts, used stores and the library!

Libraries are your friend

I know everyone doesn’t have the best library access. But to those of you who do… why aren’t we using them?! I love the library and use it quite often. We have a great inter-library loan option so I online shop it and place holds at the location where I want to pick up.

Have you requested your library carry a book? A lot of libraries will stock a book if they get enough requests so make sure that you check your options.

Don’t get sucked into special editions and boxes

They are beautiful and they are fun, but do you really use all of those items? I’ll admit that I HAD to get a Kingdom of Ash Hangover Box. But out of those items I legitimately only use the booksleeve and pin. I threw out the t-shirt, the candle has glitter so I didn’t burn it, etc.

I love to collect and if that is where you want to spend your money then do it. But I also know that my $30 collectors edition Throne of Glass is currently on Book Outlet for about $10. So if I had been patient about a book I have already read… I could have gotten it cheaper.

Ask yourself if you really need the hardback

Hardbacks are almost always more expensive. I prefer them because they hold up better, but do I need every book in a hardback? Can I wait for the paperback to come out? Is an e-book an option?

As book bloggers we feel the need to get the brand new editions immediately, but here is a secret: My backlist book reviews get better views than my new releases.

So if you can’t stand e-books, wait around for the paperback. Or better yet, wait until it’s on Book Outlet.

Check out Book Outlet

I know they ship international so that is amazing! The thing about Book Outlet, is that it’s dangerous. Books are so discounted that we go a little wild. I made some rules for my Book Outlet and for purchases in general.

  1. Must be part of series I am already reading
  2. Author I know I will love, OR
  3. Book I have read through library, ARC etc and want to own

Those rules have saved me from a ton of extra shopping sprees and have kept down my spending in general.

Acknowledge that bans rarely work

We don’t have that kind of self control. I know I don’t. I use my purchasing rules and go to the library for books that i’m not sure about or wait for an amazon kindle sale. If I cut myself off completely, I will end up splurging and buying more books that I’m not sure about.

Charity Shops and Used Bookstores

I love used bookstores. The smell of older books is the best smell. Also, they will give you credits sometimes. Check in your area, because my old bookstores in New Mexico would take trade-ins for credits on books. My parents and grandma do this all the time. I don’t think my dad has paid full-price for a book in ages.

Book Swaps

So this is where I think we can really help each other out. Especially international bloggers, who primarily have to get their books online. Book Swaps people. For ARCs, there is already an amazing program in place called Flapping Pages. If you are an international blogger and want access to ARCs, check out this page and learn more about this amazing program. I know this is where all of my ARCs are going when I finish them.

I have been pondering the idea of a more regional book swap program to help with mailing costs. It drives me crazy that so many readers have to pay extreme prices just to get a book. Plus, so many books are only printed in certain languages and sold in particular places. I wonder if we could come up with a book blogger map or regional lists for book swaps. I know we have a ton of people in my state alone and can mail a book for $5 when we are done with it. We need to help each other out so please let me know if you are interested in helping out with something like this.

Do you have any advice on keeping down costs? Let me know in the comments! 


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30 thoughts on “How to Make Your Book Habit Cheaper

  1. Thank you for the great suggestions. I should probably start a spreadsheet tracking my book spending. I know ebooks and audiobooks are really easy one-click buys and then I don’t even register that I spent money on them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are such great tips!! I love fully utilizing my library, especially for digital books. I’ve actually never heard of Book Outlet until now so uh *runs to go check it out* I’ve never thought that book buying bans would really work either so it’s great to acknowledge that. And I completely agree with avoiding hard backs and special editions if you really don’t want them that much 🙂


  3. Love this post! I’ve been using my library ESPECIALLY for audiobooks. No need for Audible. Also, you get to learn and practice patience. There are loads of books out there to read so waiting isn’t too bad. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m actually #43 for Ninth House in my library. Haha. It’s fine because I’m currently reading multiple books at the same time. 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post! I would say that I keep the price down by buying used books. I don’t have many used stores by me so I use thrift books, abe books, book outlet. I also use my library a lot if it is a new author or the description is interesting, but doesn’t seem like it would be a 5 star read. I also subscribe to BOTM $15 for a new hard cover release and you can skip when you want too. A lot of new releases I am excited about are usually on there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SO glad to see libraries were your first recommendation!! As you mentioned, not everyone has great access, BUT I know here in Australia (where there is a LOT of wide open space, and some would have to travel hundreds of kilometers to get to a library), a lot of librarians have arranged mail lending programs, where they will post books out to you. There’s also a lot of libraries offering ebook and Audiobook lending systems online, even if you can’t physically get there. Highly recommend checking out any programs that your “local” library runs in that vein!

    And I’m a huge secondhand/thrift book fiend. I just try to make sure I balance the ethics of it (I still want authors and publishers to get paid for their labour!) as best I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! Libraries are my favorite. I’m lucky to have a really amazing inter-library system. It’s fantastic that they will mail you library books!

      I try to balance my thrifting books with full purchases. But that’s why I have my rules. I buy full price books that I know I love so that the investment is worth it to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a fantastic post, Jess! I have similar rules for my purchases on Book Outlet, which is why I tend to cart a bunch of books but very rarely actually check out. Which is good because saving money, but also bad because a lot of the time I buy the books I NEED TO HAVE new as they are released. For full price. I want to be better at curbing my impulse shipping… and not buying books I haven’t freaking read yet because my owned tbr is a beast.

    Thanks so much for linking to Flapping Pages, too! ILYMA for the boost and all of your support to the program!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I get so many ebooks from the library. I use the overdrive and hoopla apps to feed my habit for free! You don’t even need to be anywhere near a library, just have access to the internet long enough to download them

    Liked by 1 person

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