Musings From A Bookmammal


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Musing Monday–Used Or New?

Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my musing for this week–

TBR bookcaseThis is my TBR bookcase. I bought it about a month ago when my piles of unread, purchased books became hazardous stacks in a corner of my bedroom. There are 61 books here—6 of them were bought new, and 55 of them were bought used.

Most of my book purchases used to be new books. This was mainly because I worked in a big-box book store for seven years and enjoyed a very generous employee discount. But when I left that job ten years ago I quickly realized that I just couldn’t keep up the pace of my book buying habit if I was paying new book, non-employee-discount prices—so I started investigating ways to buy more used books.

I’ve always been a fan of used book sales—my local library has a huge one every June and I always pay the “First Look” fee to get in there on the very first evening of the sale. I also love going to actual used book stores, although there are very few in my area. These places are great for browsing and for finding unexpected treasures—but not so successful if you’re looking for a specific title. And now that I’ve been book blogging  for a little over a year, I find that my wish list of titles has exploded because my blogging buddies keep telling me about so many books that I just HAVE TO READ!

For the past ten years or so I’ve bought most of my used books online from independent used bookstores. I use Abebooks for this—it’s a sort of clearinghouse for used books where you can search thousands of used bookstores all across the US and even in Europe for a particular title. (Side note—I have absolutely no affiliation with Abebooks, but I’m a loyal customer and have bought hundreds of books through this site over the years.) I’ve found that I can often find a hardcover in great condition for much less than the price of a paperback—I usually pay less than $5 per book. Plus, you can link to Abebooks (and many other bookbuying sites) directly from Goodreads–very convenient, but very dangerous!

I do still buy some new books. There have been days when I’ve left work on my lunch hour to go to the bookstore to pick up a book on it’s release day because I JUST CAN’T WAIT! And I do still go to the  bookstore to just wander around and buy something that I’ve never heard of but that catches my eye. But used books have definitely become my preferred way to buy books. Unless I suddenly win the lottery, I don’t see this changing anytime soon!

How about you? Do you purchase most of your books new or used? Please share!


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U is for USED BOOKS–The April A-Z Challenge/Day 21

UWelcome to Day #21 of the April A to Z Challenge, where participants are challenged to create a post every day (except Sundays) corresponding to the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If you’d like to learn more, hit the badge on my sidebar.

I’ll be posting about bookish topics each day of the challenge. Here’s today’s post about used books:

stack of booksI buy A LOT of books—mostly physical books rather than eBook versions. My budget doesn’t allow me to purchase new hardcovers too often—I usually only do so if there’s a new book out by one of my very favorite authors, or if I JUST CAN’T WAIT and want to treat myself to a newly released title.

Most of the time I buy used books so I can stretch my book budget as far as possible. I’m picky about the condition—I don’t want books have dirty covers or torn dustjackets, ripped pages, or a lot of highlighting or writing inside.  I’ve found that if you’re willing to do some hunting, you can save a lot of money by purchasing used books that often are in nearly new condition.

I’m a huge fan of the online site abebooks,  which is a sort of online clearinghouse for thousands of used bookstores all over the US and Europe. Abebooks makes it incredibly easy to compare the prices and conditions of just about any title you can think of—even out of print books. Lots of the stores even offer free shipping. I’ll often wait until a book I want to own comes out in paperback—then I’ll go online and can usually find a nice used hardcover copy for much less than the price of a new paperback. You can also link directly to abebooks from your Goodreads account and hunt for books from your virtual bookshelves. (Beware—this is dangerous!) Granted, you take a risk when you buy used books online, but I’ve only been disappointed a couple of times over the ten years or so that I’ve been an abebooks customer.

There are also a couple of brick-and-mortar used books stores in my area that I visit every now and then—it’s fun to browse through the shelves because you never know what you’ll find! I usually take a bag of books that I’ve weeded from my bookcases to sell, but I almost always end up using whatever money I get to purchase a few “new” used titles.

How about you? If you buy physical books, do you ever purchase used copies, or do you prefer new editions? Please share!


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E is for EBOOKS–The April A to Z Challenge/Day 5

EWelcome to Day #5 of the April A to Z Challenge, where participants are challenged to create a post every day (except Sundays) corresponding to the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If you’d like to learn more, hit the badge on my sidebar.

I’ll be posting about bookish topics each day of the challenge. Here’s today’s post:

 

 

kindle with booksI came really late to the eBook party. I resisted buying a kindle because I’ve always loved the sight of the books on my many bookshelves and the feel of a book in my hands. The sight of my books is comforting to me, and they truly help to make my house my home.

I finally bought a kindle because I liked the idea of being able to borrow library books (and, more importantly, return them on time!) without leaving the house, and I thought it might be handy to be able to buy a book immediately if I ever just had to start reading something RIGHT NOW.

So I’m now a kindle person, and I do read via my kindle pretty regularly–and I don’t hate it. I love being able to have many reading choices at my fingertips when I’m away from home. I borrow quite a few eBooks from the library, but I’ve bought a few every year, too.

But here’s the thing–if I purchase an eBook for my kindle and really enjoy it, I don’t even think twice about it–I buy that same book “for real.” It doesn’t even feel like it’s a choice–if I made a connection with the book, I don’t really feel as though I OWN it until the physical book is sitting on one of my bookshelves.

What about you–do you feel the need to possess the physical version of a book you enjoyed digitally? Or is the eBook version sufficient for you? Please share!


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Musing Mondays–This Is How My Book Buying Habit Began . . .

Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or, you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s my Musing Monday ramble for the week: 

vintage book club

Does this bring back any memories?

When I was in elementary school, I always loved the days when my teachers would pass out the little book club newsletters every month or so. I’d sit there with my friends and we’d excitedly go through the books offered that month and we’d circle the ones we wanted. I remember that there were other things offered as well, such as posters and stickers, but I always went straight for the books.

At home I’d show my mom what I’d selected, and we’d narrow it down to just a few. Sometimes I’d have to use my own money, sometimes my parents would treat me. I can remember carefully filling out the little order form, clipping it out, and putting it into an envelope along with the exact change to pay for my order.

When the books arrived a few weeks later, it was torture to see the box sitting on the teacher’s desk and know that I had to wait for the end of the day–or, even worse, the NEXT DAY!– when she would pass out our books!

When I became a teacher, one of the first things I did was find out how I could get my class signed up to receive the monthly book club newsletters. Only a few of my kids would ever place orders—most of them didn’t come from homes where there was a lot of extra money–but I always placed a big order myself every month to add more books to our classroom library.

When the books would arrive, the custodian would bring the box to my classroom. If it was at all possible, I would stop whatever was going on in class, make a big production of opening the box, and would immediately start showing the kids each new book that would now be added to our class library. At the end of the day, there would be a crowd of kids by the shelves, each one trying to be the first to check out one of the new books.

I was over at my parents’ house about a month ago going through some boxes, and I actually found some of those bookclub books from my childhood—they’re several decades old by now, but I can still remember the thrill of bringing those books home from school knowing that they wouldn’t have to be returned to the library—they were mine to keep. And I’m pretty sure that this was the very beginning of my book buying habit that continues to this day!

How about you? Did you have the chance to make book club purchases when you were in school? Do you remember any of the books you bought? Do your kids bring home book club newsletters? Please share!


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Book Buying Trends–Where Do YOU Fit in?

random house infographic biggerI ran across this infographic the other day–it shows the results of a market research report from June, 2013–and I was curious to see how my book buying patterns stack up. 

Here’s how I compare:

1. What types of books are purchased? I’m in the majority on this one–most of my books are paperbacks. In second place is hardcovers–I’ll buy a hardback if it’s by an author  I adore, or if it’s a book with gorgeous photos or illustrations–or if I just simply can’t wait for my name to get to the top of the library wait list. Bringing up the rear for me is ebooks–I buy MAYBE 5-6 in a year, and usually only if they’re on special. I listen to audiobooks from the library very rarely–it’s probably been a couple of years since I listened to a book–and I’ve never purchased one. (What on earth do you think the “other” category is?)

2. Where are books bought? Once again, I’m with the majority here–probably 75% of the books I buy (new and used)  are purchased online, and the remaining 25% are bought from brick and mortar stores. I belonged to Book of the Month Club and Literay Guild for years, but I let my memberships lapse long ago.

3. What are Americans reading? Here’s where I start to diverge a bit. I read MUCH more nonfiction than fiction, and I purchase more nonfiction, too.

4. Who is purchasing books? Female here–in the majority again.

5. EBook consumers are younger, more affluent, and more educated. I’m a little all over the board on this one. I definitely don’t consider myself an EBook consumer–I simply don’t buy enough of them. I’m over the average age of both print and eBook buyers according to this study. I don’t know if I’d call myself affluent, but I’m certainly earning enough to pay my bills and support my book buying habits. I have a Masters degree.

6. How do consumers learn about books? I’m a little off from the results on this last question. These days I usually hear about books I want to read from online sources –whether it’s online newsletters, blogs, or bookstore websites. Next would come suggestions from friends and family, then TV and/or radio interviews  (not mentioned on this infographic), and then  would come reading about new titles in actual print magazines or journals (again, not mentioned). Last would come in-store displays–which isn’t surprising since I’m not in actual bookstores that often. I rarely look at bestseller lists.

You can click on the graphic to read a brief written summary of the results on the Random House site.

What about you? Where do you fit in? Does anything about this infographic surprise you? Please share!


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Musing Mondays–When the eBook version just isn’t enough . . .

Click here to play along!

Click here to play along!

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to muse about one of several “bookish” questions… or, you can just ramble on about anything you like that pertains to books! You can join in by clicking the graphic above. Go ahead–it’s fun!

Here’s this week’s Musing Mondays ramble–

68f2183555b7854bfc3f6c31492992cf

I came really late to the eBook party. I resisted buying a kindle because I’ve always loved the sight of the books on my many bookshelves and the feel of a book in my hands. The sight of my books is comforting to me, and they truly help to make my house my home.

I finally bought a kindle because I liked the idea of being able to borrow library books (and, more importantly, return them on time!) without leaving the house, and I thought it might be handy to be able to buy a book immediately if I ever just had to start reading something RIGHT NOW.

So I’m now a kindle person, and I do read via my kindle pretty regularly–and I don’t hate it. I love being able to have many reading choices at my fingertips when I’m away from home. I borrow quite a few eBooks from the library, but I’ve bought a lot, too.

But here’s the thing–if I purchase an eBook for  my kindle and really enjoy it, I don’t even think twice about it–I buy that same book “for real.” It doesn’t even feel like it’s a choice–if I made a connection with the book, I don’t really feel as though I OWN it until the physical book is sitting on one of my bookshelves.

What about you–do you feel the need to possess the physical version of a book you enjoyed digitally? Or is the eBook version sufficient for you? I’d love to hear your take on this one!