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I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

Does the price of a book affect your decision about buying it? Do you wait for cheaper editions of books you want?

I have to stay on budget for the huge number of books I buy. So quick answer is yes. I don’t buy hardbacks unless it’s a book that I desperately want to read hot off the press. Trade paperback is my preferred edition, which is usually not available until at least 9 months after the hardback release. Publishers usually cut the price of remaining hardback stock when trade paperback is released. That’s a good time to buy discounted hardbacks. That said, I still prefer paperback. Prices of older editions also plunge when new editions become available. The truth is—who doesn’t like deal, even if it’s a slight mark-off? My local bookstores have a discount section where you can find great bargains for books that publishers would buy back. Some books are heavily discounted. It’s not uncommon that hardcovers originally priced at $20+ would be marked down to $5-$6 within a few months. The bottom line is what you pay is what you get. Heavily discounted books could be a tell-tale sign of poor writing or dreadful story. Classics—the very timelessness that makes them so—seem to do better in fighting depreciation. Except for the titles that publishers repeatedly, regularly, roll out with new rubs and editions (and therefore the older editions are marked down), classics usually don’t have discount. Paper copy of Ulysses is now $18, the annotated edition $21, Magic Mountain $17—and I almost have never seen any mark-down for new copies.

2 Responses

  1. I do the opposite of “budgeting” in a way. I typically buy only used copies these days. I buy at library book sales for a dollar a book and at half price bookstores. But, I do make it a regular practice to buy a brand new book, or two if they’re paperback, every month from my local bookstore. I consider it doing my part to keep brick-and-mortar stores in buisness.

    • Library sales are gem. If chosen carefully, and with patience, you are rewarded with great founds. But sometimes they are hit-or-miss. Almost all the new books I buy are paperbacks. Hardbacks just don’t agree with me as far as budget goes. They also have a hard time staying flat open.

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