I try to avoid looking at my bank balance if I can possibly help it, but there does come a time, every so often, when I have to review my outgoings (mostly to try and piece together where it all went).
That’s usually when I see a string of familiar names popping up like bad debts on my statement: Waterstones, Foyles, Daunts…. not to mention my most favourite independents.
Unfortunately, with my addiction showing no signs of slowing down, I’ve had to come up with some crafty ways to save the pennies without missing out on any good stories. Here they are for your perusal.
1. Join Bookbub
If you haven’t come across Bookbub, it’s a website you sign up to and they send you deals on books every couple of days.
There are usually quite a few titles you won’t have heard of, which is good for trying something new, but they also pick up deals on very famous books. I downloaded ‘The Magus’ and ‘The Incendiaries’ from there for an absolute song.
2. Get thee back to the library!
Last time I was a member of a library it was to rent out university tomes. Turns out the good old public library has moved on quite a bit since then!
If you sign up with your local library not only do you get access to all the books on site, they can transfer them in from other libraries for you.
Most importantly, you can now rent e-books – game changer! – which you download to your e-reader and which automatically ‘return themselves’ at the end of the rental period.
There are also lots of audiobooks to rent, which is super helpful considering how expensive they usually are to buy. I am a proud member of my local library, which comes with a complimentary side of nostalgic nerdiness.
3. Beg, borrow, steal and swap
At my office, we have a running informal book swap and an unspoken rule that we do not throw books out without offloading them on our colleagues first.
Not only is this a great way to try out new stuff, they automatically come with a positive recommendation and increase the level of bookish chat in the office. Win, win and thrice win.
You can also make like our workplace and set up a book swap shelf, where people can deposit their volumes. The only rule is that you must leave a book to take one.
Look out also for those special little cafés with book swaps, and support them religiously.
4. Support second-hand bookshops
My local second-hand bookshop is one of my favourite place in London, and I simply cannot walk past it without buying something. They just have so much more character, don’t they?
I’m fortunate that my local curator is an eagle-eyed collector of very high-quality books – and apparently, my neighbours are quite the connoisseurs also – because the books available there are always well-known and respected.
Especially good for picking up delightful, careworn copies of classics that positively breathe out the adoration of their previous owners.
5. Use e-readers
It’s a bit of an investment at the start, but Kindle and e-reader copies of books are usually quite a bit cheaper, and some are even completely free (usually if they are older and out of copyright).
It also opens you up to a whole new world of new authors. Most books I am sent to review are provided in e-book format, as it’s obviously much cheaper for the author to produce. Digital books are a great leveller in the world of literature.
So there you have it, my top five ways to keep costs down while still enjoying as many books as I can get my weasely little hands on.
Enjoy! And comment below with more tips!