Whether printed or electronic books are your poison, voracious reading can be an expensive habit. Here’s our top ways to keep reading for less.
Picture by gillrick
The question of whether Australians pay too much for their books is often controversial, and it’s also questionable whether buying from overseas stores always saves you money. However, no matter where you stand on the issue of local copyright or buying overseas, there are plenty of tactics to cut down on your monthly bookstore bill.
5. Use your local library
While this might seem like the most obvious hint possible, most times I go into a library I get the distinct impression that there are more people there for the free Internet access than anything else. I’m not knocking that, but joining your local library remains the easiest way to read pretty much anything you want without paying a cent. Just make sure you don’t run up any fines — Library Elf is an excellent tool to stop that happening. Capital city residents can also take advantage of the wider resources of state libraries, though those don’t generally allow borrowing.
4. Use Project Gutenberg
OK, you won’t find the latest bestseller on Project Gutenerg, but with more than 28,000 books available in electronic form, there should be something to tickle your fancy no matter what your reading tastes. If the formatting on Gutenberg titles is a bit basic for your liking, check out GutenMark.
3. Buy books second-hand
Buying books second-hand has always been a favourite tactic for students and other impoverished types, and in the Internet age getting the title you want is easier than ever. For bargain shopping, eBay is a logical place to start. The odds of your not finding a specific title on AbeBooks are rare, no matter how esoteric, but if it is rare you can expect to pay for the privilege.
2. Order books in bulk
As a general rule of thumb, ordering multiple books from the same store will result in a cheaper overall postage cost — a principle that holds whether your preferred seller is eBay, Amazon or a specialist site. That doesn’t mean you should spend twice as much to save $10 on postage, but it does suggest that book-buying binges can be more efficient than a constant trickle of titles. Special mention should be made here of UK book e-tailer Book Depository, which offers free postage to Australia (and anywhere else).
1. Use comparison sites
If you want to get a specific title to Australia at the cheapest possible price, look no further than Lifehacker favourite Booko, which offers a price comparison that includes all major local and international retailers. Since we first wrote about the site, it has added DVD price comparisons as well.
Got your own tactic for bargain reading? Tell us in the comments.
Lifehacker’s weekly Loaded column looks at better ways to manage (and stop worrying about) your money.