I think it's pretty funny that I thought of this topic because, really, I am terrible at book budgeting or any kind of budgeting. Like most avid readers, I have a pretty bad book buying habit. It's really hard to resist a pretty new book when I see it in the store or on a blog. I have to say that after I started blogging, my buying increased dramatically. Before I began blogging I would still have impulsive book buys but it wasn't nearly as often. Seeing what other are reading and knowing what publishers have coming down the line gets me really excited about books and it's hard not to run out and buy everything I see. The invention of the e-book has also helped me stock my virtual bookshelves. I often justify to myself that I can buy an e-book because it doesn't take up any physical space. There are also some amazing sales on e-books pretty often. When I see a book I've been wanting to read or thinking about reading go on sale for $0.99 or $1.99, it's a no brainer for me to buy it.
Obviously though, I am not made of money (sadly or I'd share it with you all) and do need to watch how much I spend. I also have stacks and stacks of books at home that I need to read so I really can't be buying every pretty book that catches my eye. These days I try to only buy books by authors that I already know I love or books that I've already read and liked. If I go to a signing, I give myself permission to buy books from the authors there. Though I still need to be careful about this because I'll often get carried away at signings and will buy copies of books that I already have in e-book.
I buy from the local B&N when I can or when I have a coupon. I do like to save money though so I try to alternate in-store buys with online buys. If I go to an independent bookstore, I will purchase something there to support them. I also go to used bookstores to find gently loved books. There are a couple of good ones in my area and I like to go there when I have a free afternoon to browse. I've also found that thrift stores can be a great place to buy books. It can be hit or miss sometimes but it's always an adventure.
I also go to my local library once every week or two. I am lucky to have some great library systems near me and I take advantage of them. There are also a lot of great e-media libraries these days and I will borrow books in e-media form before I decide to purchase. Borrowing books from friends is also a great way to save money. If you hang out with a bunch of book bloggers, educators and librarians like I do, it's not too hard to find someone to lend me a particular book. If you're not lucky enough to hang out with such an awesome group I would definitely recommend the local library. Most of them will allow you to reserve books from other branches and pick them up at the location of your choice.
recent library haul
Those are some of my tricks for saving money and I hope it offered you a little insight on how I buy books. I'm interested in hearing what your book buying habits are. Do you have a set dollar amount for the month or do you only buy online? Do you blow caution to the wind like I do? I'd love to know.
Don't forget to check out what The Reader's Antidote, Books Unbound and The Windy Pages have to say about this topic as well. If you have a topic you'd like us to cover, just leave it in the comments below.