So book blogger or not I’m sure everyone can appreciate that reading can easily become an expensive hobby. I’ve already got a list of over 40 books due for release this year that I want to buy, not including books already out there that I’ve not purchased yet and that’s easily several hundred pounds. This is before I even add in the fact I’m a sucker for a beautiful book, or a special edition. For starters I’m going to need the new Slytherin hardback of Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone if not all of them, and the local Waterstones have a ‘Beautiful Books‘ section that I had to drag myself away from last month, I could easily spend thousands every year on new books. Of course I’d then need to find more money for the shelves to house them all. Maybe one day I’ll win the lottery and money won’t be an issue until then I’ll have to ration myself!
Books these days are available in so many different formats and from so many different places; from tiny independent bookshops, to the big chains such as Waterstones; general supermarkets and of course online with places like Amazon and The Book People. I try to support shops that specialise in books where I can, though I don’t visit as many independent bookshops as I should. I love the fact that the people you find in Waterstones genuinely love books, the little handwritten recommendations you find on the shelves and their willingness to help you find something if they don’t have it in stock. They’re not always cheaper than supermarkets or online, but I’ve found they often have something a little bit special so it doesn’t always bother me. Last week I bought Sirens from Waterstones, I’d seen it in Tesco for a little bit less, but the pages in the Waterstones version had red edges, and there was an exclusive short story as well. That said I’m not against picking up a bargain from somewhere else, supermarkets might not have the wide range of a bookshop but two paperbacks for £7 can make it hard to resist picking those couple of books you meant to get months ago. I pick up a few books through Amazon, which is handy for the times I can’t be bothered to make the trip into town, and I really love The Book People for bargains, it’s not somewhere I often go with an exact purchase in mind but you can sometimes find some great collections and other bargains. I picked up a complete set of Thomas the Tank Engine books as a Christmas present for £20, and a set of 10 Rebus books for less than £10.
I won’t deny eBooks are great for bargains, and fantastic for being able to carry a huge number of books on a trip away without taking up space and all important baggage allowance and I do have the kindle app on my iPad. There are some publishers that focus on eBooks these days and will only print on demand. I do like the way the has given more authors access to the market, and I have read some fantastic novels that are primarily only available in this format but for me eBooks won’t replace an actual book, if I’ve read an eBook and enjoyed it at some point it will end up in my physical collection. I also go through phases of listening to audio-books, they’re great for when I’m doing something where my hands aren’t free, like when I’m doing the washing up, or attempting to do something crafty, and my subscription with Audible makes them much more affordable than they otherwise would be. I find they can sometimes be a bit hit or miss though, the narrator can either make or break the whole book for me, I’ve really enjoyed the Temperance Brennan books by Kathy Reichs, I used an Audible credit on one and I barely made it through the first few chapters because the narrator’s voice just grated on me, on the other hand the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch is amazingly well read and I can’t really imagine going back to just reading the book rather than listening now.
Of course there are a number of other ways to get your hands on books. The most obvious way would be to join your local library. It seems a really simple idea but until someone mentioned it to me last week I had forgotten I hadn’t joined the local library since I moved back to Scotland a little over a year ago. I’m now proudly a member of Edinburgh libraries,
and last month went and picked up some books. Now you might have to wait a bit for them to have the newest releases ordered in but libraries are a fabulous resource, many libraries have inter-library loan arrangements, for example if the Edinburgh Central Library doesn’t have a copy of a book that I want but another library in Edinburgh does I can put in a request and it will be delivered ready for me to pick up. It’s also the perfect way to read something a little different, pick up that first book in a series you’re unsure about without the fear you’re wasting your hard-earned cash! These days I think libraries are often overlooked, I was guilty of it myself, but I would strongly encourage anyone who isn’t a member of their local library to go and join. With the current pressure on local council budgets many are seeing them are an easy option for saving money, Fife council are in the process of either completely closing libraries or changing the way people access books in 16 communities. Even if you are unable to visit one regularly many libraries now offer their members access to eBooks that can be downloaded from wherever you are, libraries are also great for community events, Edinburgh libraries hold regular book club meetings, and they run weekly groups for children of different ages and a monthly group for those with dyslexia. So please join and show your local council there is still a demand for libraries in your local community!
Giveaways are another way to get your hands on books. Many publishing houses and booksellers will run competitions directly through their own websites and social media.
Despite having been a member of Goodreads for years I only discovered their giveaways section last month. There is some restrictions on the areas the giveaways are open to, but there seems to be a wide range of books available. Then of course you have the wonderful book blogging community who also run giveaways. I recently won Me and Mister P in a giveaway run by Chelle at Tales of Yesterday.
Finally having decided to blog about books at the beginning of the year I discovered and signed up to NetGalley and especially considering how new I am to this I’ve been very lucky with how generous publishers have been in allowing me access to some fabulous ARCs. I’ve requested, and received some things outside my usual reading comfort zone, and found some I’ll definitely be adding to my physical collection when they’re released.
How do you get hold of your books? Do you stick to your local independent bookshop? Can you always be found in your nearest Waterstones or Barnes & Noble? Do you like to pick up a book with your weekly shop? Are you currently running a giveaway on your blog? Let me know in the comments!