Wednesday, April 3, 2019

2019 Bookending Spring Day 3: A Guide to buying optimal number of books

Welcome to day 3 of Bookending Spring!! Jayati has really great prompts, guys! In her last day as a host in the Bookending Spring event she's asking us to write about our book buying habits., and our guide to buying just the right amount of books. Remember to go check out her original post and share some love.

A Guide to buying optimal number of books

If you're anything like me, you probably have a book-shopping obsession. I have been known to buy books just for the fun of buying them in the past. Currently I'm on a really strict book buying ban, so I kind of have to stay away from playing the "let's see what's on Kindle right now" game. But when I do buy books, it's also taking into account a few things.

First, the author. Am I familiar with their work? Are they on my "love forever and ever" list? Have I previously read that particular book in ebook format and I need it in paper format? Do I still enjoy their work if they're a previously read author? These are all things I take into account, because while I have a ton of fun discovering new authors, I also have to be honest with myself when it comes to authors I've read before. For me to get to the "author shelf" stage, it takes a while, but when I do, I usually go full on and buy and read whatever they wrote past and present. There are very few authors I've stopped buying over the years, but it all comes down to me outgrowing their stories, and not finding the same enjoyment in their work as before. That doesn't mean I'll get rid of the books I already own, it just means I probably won't be reading them or anything else by that author anytime soon. So knowing all of this will make sure I don't buy books that I don't need, just because they have a pretty cover and it calls to me in that moment.

Next I take into account the story itself, for new-to-me authors. Generally, if it's a new author I've never tried before, I look at the story promised in the synopsis. Usually there are few things that make me buy the book without thinking twice: Shakespeare stories, a blend of both present and past actions that somehow relate to each other, supernatural creatures, true crime, historical mysteries and conspiracies. Anything that gets my heart beating and my imagination run wild it's going to end up in my shopping cart, be it virtual or physical cart.

The genre is also important. I'll usually gravitate towards urban fantasy, romance, paranormal, and chick lit. These are my go-to genres whenever I enter a bookshop, and those are the genres that will convince me to buy a book just based on the title. Usually there are a few standard cover themes for each of these genres, especially when they're by the same publishing house, or at least that's usually the case for Romanian publishing houses, so I don't have to pay extra attention to the books I put in my cart because just based on the cover or a small tagline on the cover I can figure out the book collection they're a part of and know if I want to try it or not.

I also look at ebook vs. paperback price. I'm not picky with the format of the book I read, but I will generally buy the ebook if it's cheaper. Unless it's a book I'm familiar with and I want it on my shelf, or the sequel or next book in a series I already own, I generally will buy the ebook.

Another thing to think about is how many unread books do you have? Because this is important. You don't want to have a ton of books you'll never read, so what I do is I reward myself for getting my physical TBR under a certain number.

The last thing I do is look at freebies and sales, and the used books shelves on my local bookshop or second-hand store. I can't even tell you how many times I've bought a book only to find out it was on sale or previously a freebie that I passed on. Now I've made it a habit to check freebies almost daily, because there's going to be at least two or three books I can find that I want to read, sometimes by my favorite authors as well. So check those freebies, don't assume they're not going to be by some of your favorite authors! As for the used books, I always will check them, because you never know what gems you may find!

The very last advice I have is this: if you know you're going to a bookshop to buy books, don't take your credit card with you. Pre-credit card me was very good at staying within budget. I would splurge every few months out of my allowance, and I knew that I had a set sum of money to buy books from. I knew where the best bookshop in town was, it always sells books cheaper, so I went there. I did mental calculations to make sure I was within budget and that was that. Let me loose now, with a credit card, and I may not have the same restraint.

I know this probably isn't the type of guide you were looking for. Honestly, I'm not the kind of person to say to someone "Hey, make sure you stay within budget this month" or "don't buy so many books". I'm more along the line of "how many more books can you buy with the same amount of money" in my thinking.

What about you? How do you make sure you stay within budget?
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