We live in a tumultuous time all around, with the economy sinking and technology continuing to change habits and proclivities. It’s also an interesting time for the publishing industry, as we’re all watching to see how the economy will affect sales, and also keeping an eye on e-books and other new technological developments.
Have you noticed a change in how you buy books? Do you buy fewer? More? New/used? Do you buy them online or in bookstores?
My habits have definitely been changed in the past year. Now that I have a Kindle, I look first to see if books are available as an e-book. The ease and convenience of reading on a Kindle has been indispensable for me — I’m able to get so much more done now that I can read for work or pleasure anywhere, anytime.
What about you?
Three factors changed my book buying habits this year: a new child, moving, and learning that all these remainders I’ve been online for years don’t give a cent to the authors.
While my wife and I are trying not to buy new books for space, time, and economic reasons, I’d say we still pick up 1-2 new ones per month.
I’m buying more books this year than last, though more in Spanish than English (that’s because I live in Buenos Aires). If I had an e-reader of some type then I probably would buy more English-language books.
Deirdre Saoirse Moen says
I go through spurts of book buying. I haven’t stopped buying books, I just haven’t hit a spurt in a few months, but that’s normal for me.
I’m definitely buying fewer albums and movies, though I am buying more individual songs. So I’m definitely spending less there.
I’ve bought more books in the last year than I did the year before. If my total income has changed at all, it’s only gone down, so I’m not sure why that is. I’m just reading a lot more than I was before, and since my local library doesn’t have the budget to be open as late as the bookstore, I wind up buying a lot of books.
I find myself buying more books than ever these days. In college, I got in a funk where I didn’t read much of anything new because I was so busy (though I did reread LOTR/The Hobbit a few times).
Now that I have graduated, I have a lot more time for reading. Fortunately, my husband and I have a budget that we stick to so we always budget for “entertainment”. Usually, that money goes to buying new books!
Sometimes we buy off Amazon but only because my husband loves a lot of old English authors: Lewis, Chesterton, MacDonald, etc., and many of their books can’t be found in-store. But we LOVE going to the bookstore, buying something new, grabbing a coffee on the way out and then going home to crack open those new books!
I get excited just thinking about it. 🙂
I’ve noticed more of a change in the type of books I’ve been buying than anything else. I’ve started buying more used books, but I’ve also started buying more books in general.
I’ve also started buying a lot of literary magazines, since I’ve been trying to get published in them…
In relation to the economy, it hasn’t affected my book buying any. Then again, I’d rather live poor and surrounded by books, than have money and noyhing to read…
I’m using the library more to get audio books on CD or MP3 format. Being able to use exercise, drive, or chore time as reading time makes those tasks more enjoyable.
In the last month or two, I’ve cut back on all my discretionary spending, and yeah, I slashed the book budget. It’s okay for now–I have a huge stack of books still waiting to be read; I’ll make some inroads on that while the economy is down. And if it stays down long enough for me to get through the stack, well, hello public library.
K.C. Shaw says
I’m actually buying more books for some reason. I may have cut back on some other purchases without realizing it, though–I know I haven’t bought any DVDs in about six months.
My habits have not changed. I normally buy from Amazon . . . after browsing at Borders first. Amazon is normally cheaper, even with the Borders coupons. So far, I haven’t gone the e-reader route. I personally like the feel of a book, the pages, in my hand as I read – a security blanket, of sorts. I guess the day will come when the only option for reading a book will be with an e-reader. (sigh) That will be a sad day, at least for me.
I always buy my books from a bookstore. 99% of the time they are new. I haven’t really changed the amount of books I’m buying.
I’m less likely to buy a book I’m not sure I want, but borrow it from the library instead. I used to buy almost anything I could get my hands on, and if I didn’t like it, I’d donate it somewhere or give it to a friend. Now I’m a bit more selective about what I buy.
Furious D says
Since I’ve actually had some money this past year, I’ve bought some new books.
Though I still clean out the library’s used book sale every summer.
It's library and gifts only. I actually went to B&N today and didn't buy anything. I did buy a book last weekend, at an antique store. A sci-fi hardcover from 1954 just for amusement. But, until our budget settles in, I won't buy any new books.
Lisa Iriarte says
Since I am writing more, I am reading more, especially in the genre in which I write. Therefore, I have bought a lot more books in the last year.
Other Lisa says
Not so much. I buy non-fiction, usually in hardback, and some fiction, usually in trade paper. I used to get a lot of free novels, and with that source gone, I expect I’ll be buying more fiction and also using the library more often.
I might pop for a Kindle when the next model comes out…I think I’d like having that for fiction.
I’m buying more books, but that’s only because so many of my friends have new books out.
Getting antsy to join ’em, I am.
Good for you Margaret Yang. I totally agree with supporting your own industry. We do the same thing- support my husbands industry.
Okay- I’m counting the past year as the past 12 months, and not just the past 3 freaky weeks. So, no difference. Bought the 17 yr old Brisingr hot of the press. Bought plenty of books at the school book fairs last year. I’m sure I will this year. And just bought “One Thousand White Women” last weekend, on my friends suggestion,
Reading is an excellent escape for adults. And maintaining normalcy is important for my kids. I’m not ready to curtail all spending. I still believe in propping up the economy by making normal purchases. I just wouldn’t buy an overpriced piece of real estate right now.
I’ve purchased around 10 books in the past month…about half online, the other half at Borders.
That’s probably more books than I’ve bought the rest of the year.
(Other than getting the first 5 Harry Potter books at a garage sale for $25).
The economy has affected the purchase of big-ticket items in our household, but not books.
I’ve actually been buying MORE books this year. As I’ve been writing more, I’ve been reading more.
Still, I only buy a picture book after we have read it at the library. My children have to love it before I spend the money on it.
I finally got my bookshelves built which enabled me to open boxes that had not seen daylight in years. My reading habits have changed in the sense that I’m discovering old friends more than reading anything new.
It is cheaper, too.
My book consumption has gone up, but it has nothing to do with the economy. As I get more entrenched in the writing world – including reading blogs like yours – I feel like I should support authors and buy books rather than go to the library. Not that I’m dissing libraries – I grew up with them and would never have fallen in love with books without ’em.
No – only that I buy more non-fiction these days than fiction, because what publishing thinks is an absorbing, wonderful novel isn’t mine. Lots of great non-fiction out there, though.
And – I buy at the Tattered Cover in Denver almost exclusively, because in the long run, a good independent book store is in my own best interest as reader and writer. No chains, no discounts … although for a dead writer, I may buy at a used books store.
The kids and I go to the library every week, but we keep an Amazon wish list and whenever we can, we buy online. Amazon gift cards are our favorite gift to get. Although, there’s nothing as wonderful as browsing in the book store…except when you have two hyper seven year olds with you.
Well, honestly, I haven’t been able to afford to buy a book for a few years now…I mooch off of friends who feel sorry for me.
I can’t use the public library anymore, they have a hit out on me for late fines…
I find that I am buying more books online than just shopping for them. I go to the library sometimes but not as much as I used to since I just order and wait for it to come.
But if I want a book bad enough, I will buy it from the store, no big deal.
I’m not sure I can get used to Kindle. I don’t own one but I hear it is good and very portable- and that it is better than reading off of a PC. I can dig that, the only thing with me is, as a bookaholic, I like to have print books on shelves, I love cracking open a book and turning pages to read words, and sometimes the covers are really neat too.
Lol, I am just silly, pay me no mind 🙂
I bought a book on Monday and 2 cashmere sweaters 5 minutes ago. If the ship’s going down, I’m going to be well dressed and well read.
i was laid off for 4 months this summer, so my book-buying habits certainly did change. i couldn’t have been more grateful to live within walking distance of a library.
i am gainfully employed once again, but find i’m more discerning about which books i buy and which i borrow from the library. i never think of books as a wasteful purchase, but those i’m not quite “sure” about, i’ll get from the library first.
With the economy in a tailspin and my wife spending 18 weeks unemployed, we’ve rethought our spending. We used to buy a lot of used books, but now we use the library almost exclusively.
Strangely, a month after we stopped buying used books, our favorite bookstore closed. Coincidence? Probably, considering Borders opened next door to it 3 years ago and was slowly stealing all of their business.
But yeah, library for me.
Kyle Smith says
I use my local public library far more. The only books I buy anymore are ones in a series that I’m currently reading.
I would buy more, but I read 400-500 page novels in a few days, and it just gets too expensive
Leonard Klaatu says
I still buy WAY too many books. I’ve been tempted to subscribe to a summary service for the business books I buy, but so far – I’ve been unable to bring myself to do it. Sony’s ebook reader and the Kindle look interesting, but I’ve still got a love affair with ink and paper. If anything, I’m buying more books than last year. It’s an addiction I’ve had for years. I should enter rehab.
Like everyone else, my library card is getting a workout (and do you have one of the cool new kid-designed SF library cards?). I buy too, but less so — for both space and budgetary concerns.
I just got a load of books from B & N today in the mail. I buy books like wild. I don't like the library because I have a sick fetish about owning books and placing them on my bookshelves, like trophies, when I'm done reading them. I'd choose buying books over clothes and probably food if forced to decide.
I LOVE BOOKS!
Orange Slushie says
i usually buy because i like to support writers and publishers, and also to be able to lend books that i love. but this year i had a baby and the loss of income has bumped books to the ‘luxuries’ list. i’m using the library again for the first time in years! those Borders coupons have come in handy too. and when family and friends ask me what i want for my birthday…
having said all that, i think i’ve spent a considerable sum in recent months on picture books. ah, parental sacrifice
Miriam S.Forster says
No, not really. If buy book-buying habits, you mean, “your pattern of going to the library and checking out 20 books at a time, forgetting to return them and having to pay massive fines”.
I’m more careful about the fines these days, but I never have less then 10 books checked out at any one time. I can’t afford to buy as many books as I read.
Heck, right now I can’t afford to buy gas!
amazon.ca makes it waaay too easy for me; just click and buy. costco, too, and chapters for glossy expensive books. in a nutshell – way more books. it’s lovely.
When the Australian dollar went, this last couple of weeks, from being worth over 80c US to tottering around 65c US, that had an impact on my bookbuying habits from Amazon.com. I’m more likely to look at bookdepository.co.uk now – still a big range, they don’t charge any postage/shipping and the exchange rate wasn’t as badly affected between Oz and UK currencies.
Kindle? Ah well, if there was an ebook reader available in Australia that didn’t cost all four limbs of at least two grandparents…oh, and the stock to support it…oh, and the stock of books at prices that are vaguely reasonable….
N W Wemmick says
I used to work for a book store and that kept me well stocked on my business books but realized that I had only been in the country for 3 months and was growing a new collection quick with not a lot of money for food.
Then I downloaded stanza on my I touch and now I download classics and contemporary lit for free and it is convenient.
I no longer need a 12 step program and can afford to eat now.
I used to buy new all the time, at bookstores. I had a lot more auto-buy authors and I never blinked at buying their hardcovers. I never had a library card.
Now, I get almost everything from my local library and anything I absolutely can’t live without I buy used for a cent on amazon.
I buy all my books from Amazon, but have for a couple of years now. I think books will be my last vice to give up in times of economic budget woes.
I must admit I’m buying fewer books. The library isn’t too far and if they have a book I want I get it. Of course the exception is my favorite authors. That list of favorites is now about 8 and growing. I also find that there are any number of books that I need for research. Those I keep close to me all of the time. You never know when you’ll need to know how a certain poison will react, or what time of day a transit of the moon might be benificial to a plot. So, I am buying less, but still buying at least ten a month.
A friend recently introduced me to audio books. They give me the opportunity to ‘read’ while I’m driving or doing housework. I think they will be on my list now as well.
I buy a lot of books for my work (art history); they are extremely expensive and often hard to get. I rarely just pick up a work-related book in a store; for new books I go through Amazon and for foreign/out of print books I do Bookfinder. My expenditure doesn’t change but I buy fewer books because the ones I’m getting are more expensive.
For fiction, we continue to seek out used bookstores. I will buy anything for my kids if they promise to read it! For myself, I buy anything that I think I might read. I probably buy two or three new books a month, mostly YA. I try to get them at an independent bookstore but must confess that we do like Borders…
I meant that I buy two or three non-used books. I buy a lot more than that at used bookstores, or on Amazon or e-bay as used books. I probably give 75% of those books away after I read them–donations to the book fair at the kids’s school. But in general I like to own the books I read–a bad habit from my childhood.
I envy you, Mr. I-Have-A-Kindle. Then again, I can see how it’s necessary for your occupation.
College students buy tons of books (especially if double-majoring in unrelated fields of study, like me). So, yes, after years of accumulating books and lugging around heavy boxes at the risk of injury, I have recently turned to e-books (more for reading for pleasure than for school though). I carry my laptop with me everywhere so it’s convenient.
b luis grey says
interesting device. i’m still hooked on ipod touch and my coffee thermos.
I buy the same amount. BUT I am a lot more discerning about what I buy. I use amazon.com to read reviews and find good books through bloggers who post about what they are reading…..Love your blog BTW…
Becky Mushko says
I’m buying more books, but I often buy second hand. (My county doesn’t have a bookstore, but our county library’s Friends of the Library have great books sales.) I also buy at author readings (often sponsored by the library) and online.
When I attend writers’ conferences, I often buy books by the presenters.
I’ve cut back on a few things, but not books I really want.
I think I’m buying about the same, maybe slightly less. But now that I’m self-employed, a though flits through my mind each time I buy a book, and sometimes affects my decision: “Can I write it off?”
On the other hand, because I’m a tough boss for myself, I work a lot and am tired by the time I wrap things up, so my reading has dropped off dramatically this year.
gabriel tren says
I´m reading more books than ever, my free time increase the book hunger, but i stop buying, I´m reading a lot from the excellent public libraries of Barcelona. I´m reading now more teology and religion – and science – looking after some kind of answers. But definitely : I´m reading much more than before in my life.
I spend way too much time at the library. Books for me and for the kiddo. But I still love to buy fresh children’s books, though I try to stick to paperback. Being frugal for me has less to do with the economy right now and more to do with jaw dropping student loans. Now if only I could give up the lattes.
My folks are crazy about buying new hardcover books, so I borrow a lot from them, as well. Shout out to my mother’s book club and all the incredible books they pick (and I later borrow).
Finally, if I have to have it NOW (it is August 2008 and the last installment of the Twilight series has hit shelves) I order from Amazon. Damn you Mrs. Meyer!