Monday, March 8, 2010

Owning Books is My Addiction of Choice or How Much Do You Spend on Books?

I read over 150 books a year and I get my books from many places. I borrow books from the library. I pay full price online and at brick and mortar stores. I get some great deals at used book stores and library book sales. I received free review copies from authors, publishers and public relations people. I also enter (and occasionally even win) online giveaways.

I acquire more books a year than I could possibly read. My TBR (even though I've been weeding out the books I'll never get around to reading) is in the high 700s. For every book I read, I probably get 3 more. With that many books coming and going, it can be hard to figure out how much I actually spend on books.

Focusing only on the books I pay money for, I'd estimate I buy 250 books a year or about 21 a month. Some months, I'm good, don't buy anything and focus on my TBR. Other months, I'll by 50 or 60 books at used book sales. Some books I just can't wait to get my hands on and preorder then so I receive them the moment they come out. Other times, I get a not-to-be-denied urge to buy new books and can't help buying or ordering at least 2 or 3. It's an addiction I try to keep in check so that there is still room in the house to move and so my husband doesn't leave me. Because owning books, yeah that's like my crack.

My house doesn't look like this (yet). Mostly because I fear the children being crushed by a book avalanche.

Three quarters of the books I buy are used. While I love shiny, new books I can't afford to buy all my books new.  They'll cost me anywhere from 25 cents to 4 dollars each. So on average, I spend $375 a year on used books. I just did the math there and wow, was it higher than I expected.

Since I received my beloved Nook, three quarters of the new books I buy are in ebook form and cost from 4.99 to 9.99. On average, I spend about $350 on ebooks a year. Ok, wow, my husband can never see this.

The remaining one eighth of my purchases are full-priced new books from stores. New books are anywhere from 6.99 for a mass market paperback to 29.95 for a hardcover. That means I spend about $575 on physical copies of new books.

All told, I spend about $1300 on books a year. Perhaps I should stop complaining when my husband spends $60 on a new video game every month, since I'm spending almost double that on books.

This little exercise has certainly been eye-opening. Of course, it doesn't change anything and I'll still be buying books. Maybe now I can figure out a budget of some sort.

So I ask you, am I a crazy gluttonous book hoarder? How much do you spend on books a year? How much is too much?


  1. This post made me chuckle! I actually do pretty well as far as spending money on books. I get a lot of mine through paperbackswap, so I don't spend too much money on buying books in stores. If I were to guesstimate, I'd say I spend a few hundred dollars a year on books in stores and through FOL sales as well as postage costs for mailing books at PBS. Of course, I could be kidding myself and that number is actually double or triple! Yeah, the more I think about it, I'm sure I've grossly underestimated my book addiction.... :)

  2. I am not the reader you are, and I certainly have no right to judge you. (Nor do any of us!) Reading is your passion. I think it's awesome that you buy used and borrow a lot of books. I try to do the same (but rarely buy). I guess my question for you if you think you want to cut down on the cost, is how do you decide to buy instead of borrow? Also, what do you do with them once you read them? Do you donate, giveaway, share? I try to buy books that will be a resource for me and that I might read a second time.

    I am also trying to borrow/buy less/none until I read through my stack that is growing!

  3. Before I started blogging it was about 60 a month. Now I receive a lot of my books from the authors and pub... so now its like 20 a month

  4. I buy certain books I want to have and others I do get from pub..I think it has gone down my book buying and I do try to use my library for certain books.

  5. I am really bad. I certainly buy more books than I should. I don't even want to do the math...I am just plain scared! :S

  6. When I was making more money, I probably spent around the same amount you do on books. Now, I've cut back a bit. This year I've purchased less than 40 books so far, which for me is amazing. Never mind that I'm going to a library book sale in a few weeks. Typically the sales I go to are a dollar for a box/bag of books, so I spend 8 dollars and walk out with 200 books. I don't see purchasing that many books as a bad thing, but more as an investment. What if I don't have money to purchase books? What if the moon is knocked out of orbit? Well, I have my hordes of books for company. I know, that's so stupid but it's the best excuse I can come up with for obtaining the dragon's horde of books.

  7. I don't spend as much on books as I used to because I get four free books a month from the bookstore I work at :-) But I do have a HUGE TBR pile in my house and I want to work through those, though I'll never stop acquiring books. I can't believe you read 150 books a year! WOW :-)

  8. Well, I actually luck out because my mom and sister read the same books as me. This saves tons of money because we just take turns buying the books.

  9. I don't read as much as you, thank goodness my bank account is saying :-) I am happy to have found Book Depository, they are amazing and my Kindle has me reading out of my norm so I am sure this year I have spent more on books then ever before but not as much as you.

    I'm sure that was an eye opener for sure, lol

    Does your husband think you have some kind of book budget or does he not even ask?

  10. I'd say about 1/3 of my books are brand new bought, 1/3 review copies and 1/3 used copies each year. I spend the most money 3 times a year--for christmas ($250 pre-order splurge jan to june), for my birthday ($200 pre-order splurge july to december) and at the annual Flemington Armory Book Sale (roughly $100 when the 3-day sale is over, with it being $7/grocery bag).

    I also buy books otherwise--new and used--if I have spare time and just wander around a bookstore or thrift store. On average I spend probably about $2000 a year, though if I have a good paying job that goes up drastically. Haven't worked a good paying job in over a year now, so I've cut back.

    I made a promise though, I haven't bought a book in a whole month, which is the longest I've ever gone(my previous score was one week) and won't until I clean off my shelves some more. I give up about 200 books to the library a month and another 300 to the used bookstore. I *have* had my books all fall on me once or twice and its not pleasant. I don't want my shelves to fall on me OR the piles strewn throughout my room.

  11. This actually made my stomach hurt lol. $1300...that's a pretty decent vacation for myself. I believe I'm about equal to you there so I'll use that number and think about all the things I could have if I curbed my book addiction. One could argue every book is a sort of vacation...but I really want to go to Mexico. *sigh* This is why I gave up book buying for Lent!

  12. I was going to ask if you minded if I responded by writing a post on my blog with the same subject... then I realized my husband checks my blog every once in a while and I would get into A LOT of trouble lol.

    I get a lot of my books from the library. On average I would say I buy at least 5 books a month, so 60 books a year. Let's say they cost $10 each since some are higher and a some lower. I spend $600 a year on books. That actually seems low since I spent $30 just last week...

    I've been thinking about doing a price comparison for hard copy vs eReader so I can finally make up my mind about it.

    Tara SG --

  13. I don't even want to guess how much I spend on books in a year.

    So far in March I have added 32 books to my LibraryThing account. I won 7 books and 6 were free books for my Kindle. The other 19 books I bought from Amazon at prices ranging from cover prices for paperbacks to deep discounts for hardcover books (and it is only March 8). I have close to 600 on my TBR list. Last year I read 225 books.

    March does not seem to be a particularly unusual month except for the books won. I think I have at least 6 open orders now at Amazon for books that have not yet been published.

    I do buy a number of YA books that I donate to my HS Media Center after reading and do take a tax deduction for the donation. It is not enough to make much difference on my taxes though.

    I need to account to no one but myself for my book purchases. I justify my spending by saying that I have no other expensive hobbies. I attend maybe 5-6 movies a year. I don't go on vacations. I don't do expensive sports like golf or skiing. My house and car are paid for. This is discretionary income.

    I know book buying is an addiction but I can live with it.

  14. Surprisingly, I barely buy books. I get 95% of them from the library! The only time I buy books is when:

    a) I really want to own the book
    b) I get bookstore giftcards for my Birthday or for another occasion

    Yep, the library is my friend.

    from Une Parole

  15. I don't use the library. I buy books. I also use paperback swap but I think I've only gotten 30 or so books over last year from there. I also listen to audio books...and last year I read or listened to 221 books. I don't even want to think about what I spend. I am trying to cut back though as I'd like to live within a smaller budget. I don't consider my textbooks as part of my book expenses either. But upon selling a book back to the school, I go and spend the entire amount of new fiction or other books for pleasure reading.

  16. Hi!! I don't keep up with how much I spend on books! (It'd probably scare me to death!!) I try to buy as many as I can at Wal-Mart but if I really want the book, I'll pay full price in a heartbeat!! Books are my addiction. I do get a lot of books at the usb, but I outright buy just as many or more. I also order alot of books from Bamm..

  17. i flatly refuse to try to work out how much i spend, but have decided this year not to buy anything to read that i'm not sure i really want- i'm trying to be more discerning in the efforts of not wasting time on books i don't really want to read, seems to be working for me at the moment :-)

  18. I can't even put a figure on this....I'm only just starting to get ARCs but for me it's not about getting free books - if I like the book, I'll buy a hard copy of it. I just like reviewing them early! So...I know I spend A LOT on books. I've bought two big boxes from Amazon this year alone and I've worked out that with all the new books that are coming out, I'd say maybe £70 a month? ARGH! But I wouldn't have it any other way because books are my life! They're my passion, my entertainment, my escape and my research (for when I write my own story)...besides...there's always "Bookaholics Anonymous" (yes folks, this really DOES exist!)