Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Affordable Books - A Thing Of The Past?

I just got a notice that the piped-in gas into my apartment will cost 77% more, with immediate effect. Meanwhile, my weekly grocery bill has increased by about 20%, not to mention the small increases here and there, too many and too disconcerting to compute.

So I got to thinking … will there come a time when a new book is beyond my means? This is a very real possibility. I am fortunate in that I can still afford new paperbacks that typically cost about four lunches each. That’s now. And even now, where I live, new books are a luxury to many people.

I buy (new) 7 out of every 10 books that I read. This is not by preference. This is unfortunately the only way I get to read the books that I want.

Public libraries? They are about 10 years out of date. Used-book-stores? Their stock is either old or obscure, or the books are in questionable condition.

So you see, reading is a costly pursuit in this part of the world for an avid reader.

Then I read this article at Dear Author, about publishers experimenting with "no return policy" for unsold books. Posters claimed that currently, unsold books are destroyed and dumped. I can’t help but feel sad and appalled. In this time of soaring cost of living, and “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” is more than just a catch phrase, this blatant wastefulness is indeed a sacrilege! Surely something good can be done with those new, unsold books?!

So back to my question – affordable books, will they be out of our reach one day soon? Are you already cutting back on buying books? Or are you stockpiling while the going’s still good?


Katie(babs) said...

As the price continues to grow for books, I will cut back. Either I will pick them up on the discount shelf, buy used or to the library.

Bianca said...

Right now I get 60% of my books from Bookmooch (which for me, living in the US and with the trade off of points to mailing out they end up being about $2.15 USD and that's about a 1/4 of what a new book costs), 30% from the library and only about 10% do I buy new.

I would love to be able to run out and buy a book as soon as it comes out, but even a few books add up quickly and I'd be broke before I knew it!

Jace said...

Katie, I'd LOVE to be able to borrow fairly new paperbacks from the library. But the truth of the matter is, libraries here are truly archaic. I haven't been to a public library in over 10 years! I truly envy those of you who have access to well-stocked and up-to-date libraries.

Jace said...

Bianca, isn't BookMooch a great idea? :) If it weren't for BookMooch, I wouldn't have known you! *grin*

Living in the US, you also have other book-trading options such as PBS? I've heard that it's got a huge database, especially of romance novels. Have you ever tried it?

Do you know that when I mail out a book to a BookMooch member who lives in the US, the postage is about 50% of the cost of a new paperback? Shocking, isn't it? I don't know how long I can keep doing this. I'd love to send books to people who want them, no matter where they are, but it's really getting to be far too expensive. I'll have to either set some limits or withdraw from BookMooch.

Brie said...

I used to have a favorite used book store that I went to for books, but when I moved to Hawaii I was unable to find one with the wide selection that the other one offered. That led me to large bookstores. Prior to moving out here I only went to BNB occasionally for a book that I couldn't find at the used book store. Now, I have to go to Borders all the time for books. Luckily, I can take them back if I don't like them, that way I don't fee like I wasted my money. Jace, I know you don't have that luxury at your borders which I find appalling.

Hopefully before books become too much for me to afford I will be living in a state/city where there are used bookstores, and up to date library's. Otherwise my book buying will probably be cut in half, if not more.

Jace said...

Brie, yes, none of the bookstores here will accept returned books on the basis that the reader doesn't like the book. You're such a lucky girl with your Borders offering this service.

Have you tried trading books online? PBS, BookMooch or Title Trading? (There are more, I'm sure.) As you're living in the US, you should be able to access US-only sites, such as PBS.

Bianca said...

You know, I signed up for PBS but never used it. Once I started using Bookmooch I just stuck with that.

Has anyone used or looked into that new e-book reader from Amazon? I don't really know what it's all about, but it might be worth looking into in the future.

Jace said...

Bianca, the ebook reader from Amazon - Kindle. It's rather expensive to begin with (about USD 400?) and you have to buy the ebooks from Amazon. If I spent that kind of money on an ebook reader, I don't want to be limited to only one ebook merchant.

My reading buddy, Mel, bought this ebook reader. She's happy with it, especially because she can buy ebooks from many sources.

Currently, I haven't found any ebook reader being sold here. I think it's not going to be cheap either (when it finally gets here). I'd love to have the one that Mel is having. :)

Brie said...

Jace, I haven't tried trading book online, but I should probably look into it.