Thursday, May 12, 2016
Keeping Myself in Books
You all know that I'm an avid reader. I read fast, and I read a lot. If I had to buy every book I read, I'd be broke. But I have a few good ways to keep books coming for not very much money. So here are my tips on how to do that.
1. I use the library. This is a no-brainer, people! A whole building full of books, available to you for free! And really, not just one building. A whole county's worth! And counties beyond that! Once you start using your inter-library loan system, you can read pretty much anything you like for free, if you're willing to wait a bit.
When I hear about or see a book I'd like to read, I go straight to my computer and go to the library's online catalog. My library's site shows me books all around my county as well as what's at my local branch. If it's at my branch, I can put it on hold and go down and get it. If it's not at my branch or if it's checked out, I can request it and I get an email when it comes in.
Somehow, a bunch of requested books always seem to come in at the same time. Don't ask me why, but they just do. It's like how you can go into the library on one day and find little that appeals, and then on another day everything on the shelf looks great and it's a struggle to get the "bring home" pile down to a reasonable size.
2. I use the Wishlist on Amazon.com as a way to remember books to request from the library. I suppose the Wishlist is intended as a way to tell people gifts you'd like, but that's not how I use mine. I keep it private, and for me it functions as a virtual "to be read" list. When I see a book that looks good, I put it on the wishlist. Every once in a while, when my library request/hold list isn't long, I'll open two windows on my computer: one with the Amazon wishlist up, and the other with the library's online catalog up. I'll go through and see if I can find the books on my wishlist at the library, and then request them. (Be sure to take them off the wishlist when you've requested them, to keep things current.) Then it feels like I've shopped, and have new books coming to me, without spending a penny. Shhh, don't tell Amazon!
3. I check to see which books on my Amazon Wishlist are on sale. Have you ever noticed that every once in a while, the Kindle edition of some current, full-priced book will be on sale for a day or two for $1.99? Sometimes the first book in a series will be $1.99, I suppose in the hope that it'll hook readers on the series and they'll buy at full price. Every once in a while, I'll go to the Amazon wishlist, and click on the "Filter & Sort" tab to sort by price, low to high. The books on my list will be sorted and if any have had huge price drops, they will show up at the new bargain price.
I did this just today and ended up buying 3books for $1.99 each that are current books and retail for $12.99. Bargain! I always figure if the price is what I'd pay if I found the book on a table at my library's book sale, then I'll do it on the Kindle.
You want to know what I got, don't you? You don't even have to ask.
This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison
Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart. ($2.99, which seemed reasonable using my "library book sale table rule.)
The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo.
By the way, you can sort your Wishlist items by "price drops" and that'll show you the biggest price drops first.
Oh, and one more Amazon Wishlist tip: you can create different lists for different purposes. So you can keep one list for books, a list for other Amazon stuff, a different list you keep for friends and family to show them stuff you want, etc. I keep a separate list of Kindle Unlimited books because my sister gave me a Kindle Unlimited membership for Christmas last year, and so when I stumble onto a K.U. book, I'll put it onto that list for when I'm next looking for something to read.
(I guess Kindle Unlimited is another sort of bargain way to get books. I'm iffy on it and I have to admit that I wouldn't have subscribed on my own. The K.U. books seem to be "B list" sorts of books, with a lot of self-published stuff. I won't resubscribe when my gift subscription is up.)
4. Bookbub.com. Have you heard of this? It's exclusively for ebooks. And it's totally free. You sign up to a mailing list, and are asked to identify what sorts of books you like. Based on your preferences, you'll receive a regular email identifying books in your categories that are free or under $3.00 for a limited period of time. The list often has popular books by excellent authors. It can be hit and miss, but I've found great books on there. They have kids' books and nonfiction, as well.
I hasten to add that I have two really lovely bookstores in my little town, and I try to patronize them too. I buy from them when I can. A reader can't have too many books, can she?