When Book Buying Habits Change

Several local bookstores are currently having their annual sales – National Bookstore, Powerbooks and A Different Bookstore – and I’ve checked out a couple of branches but I haven’t bought anything. I even dropped by Fully Booked, even though they’re not on sale because they have better selections than the three bookstores previously mentioned. But still, nothing. And then I remembered that I still had a 10% discount coupon from the Book Depository and that I could pre-order my anticipated titles – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – for 35% off (25% pre-order discount + 10%) so yay, discounted books! Aside from those pre-orders, both of which won’t be shipped until their release date in September, I also ended up buying two other paperbacks because I wanted to get books that can be shipped right away. I had to stop myself with just four books because I wanted to order more. Because of this experience, I’ve realized that as much as I enjoy browsing through the shelves of bookstores, I don’t buy as many books as I used to from brick and mortar stores.

Ever since the Book Depository and Better World Books started delivering to the Philippines for free, I’ve been getting more and more of my books from them. Local bookstores have special order services but it’s more convenient to order from online directly rather than go through the tedious process of asking customer service to get a book for me. Also, I’ve had problems with the reservation process in local bookstores while I’ve always been happy with my online purchases (although I could be HAPPIER if they started delivering faster). I order books that aren’t locally available from the Book Depository and out of print or used copies from Better World Books. Or if the ebook is less expensive than an actual copy, I’ll read it on my Kindle instead. Fellow Filipino book blogger Honey of Coffeespoons recently talked about this in her recent post about print vs. ebooks and I can’t help but agree with some of the things that she said. I still go inside bookstores but I rarely buy books from them. I still read more physical books than ebooks but who knows, that may change in the near future.

I know that the giant TBR pile also contributes to how my book buying habits have changed. Whenever I’m about to purchase a book lately, I always ask myself if I’ll be able to read it soon or if it will just end up languishing in the TBR pile. Also, I went crazy with the book purchases when I started the blog because I was getting so many new recommendations from fellow book bloggers. It felt like I opened a door to a bookish world that I wasn’t even aware of before and I needed to catch up. We don’t have good public libraries here in the Philippines so if I want to read a book, I need to buy a copy. At that time, whenever I saw a copy of a book that I was interested in, I felt compelled to grab it because I was always worried that I’d have a hard time looking for it later on. I hoarded books whenever bookstores went on sale, I grabbed bargain finds even though they were only vaguely familiar just because they’re cheap, I think I even tried setting a monthly budget for books but I always went over the set amount. I’m not like that anymore because I have the security of knowing that I could buy the books that I want from online bookstores. Also, can I just say that I’m delighted that I can now borrow books from fellow Filipino book bloggers? I don’t have to buy every single book that I’m interested in. *claps hands for bookish friends*

Sometimes, I feel bad when I spend hours browsing in a bookstore and I don’t end up buying anything. And then I remember that I still have so many books waiting to be read. Maybe this is just a phase and my book buying habits will change again in a few months or so. I guess it’s just good to know that even though I get a ton of recommendations, I still have a measure of control over the number of books that I get. What about the rest of you, do you feel like your book buying habits changed in the past few months? I’m curious especially now that Borders is closing, where do most of you get your books?

36 thoughts on “When Book Buying Habits Change

  1. This is a good discussion. Although I only go to bookstores if I have a specific book in mind to buy, I believe reading book blogs has greatly influenced my book buying habits, since every time I read amazing reviews about a certain book, I suddenly itch to buy that book. In a way, I’m also glad that I’m venturing out of my “comfort genres”, which you have mentioned in one of your previous posts. However, despite the availability of ebooks for conveniency and cheaper in price, I still prefer reading from actual books. πŸ™‚

    • I felt the same way when I started the blog. Now, I think I’ve learned to live with wanting so many books. I’ve accepted the fact that there will always be a lot of books in my wishlist. I just prioritize the ones that I want to read right away. It’s fun to explore other genres that you normally wouldn’t have known of if not for book bloggers, right? πŸ™‚ And thanks for reading my discussions posts. Do you have an ereader? I don’t like reading on the computer but I’ve been reading more ebooks ever since I got my Kindle.

      • True, book bloggers really help a lot. And no, I don’t have an e-reader. I also don’t like reading on the computer. My eyes get easily strained. And for some reason, I love the feeling of reading from an actual book rather than from a digital book. I guess I’m still a traditional book reader. πŸ™‚

      • Yep, reading on the computer really tires the eyes. That’s why it’s better to read on an ereader with e-ink technology. πŸ™‚ I still read more physical books than ebooks though but the ereader comes in handy when I get electronic galleys. Or when there are books that I can’t wait to read.

  2. Ooh, another interesting discussion! I think my book buying habits have changed a little bit. Last year I bought so many new books and I still haven’t read a lot of them. Then now I see lots of bargain copies of those books and I wish I just waited for the prices to go down. I still buy way too many bargain books though.:)

    If there are books that I really want, I usually just pre-order them from Book Depository so that I can get the 25% discount. Sometimes my orders arrive before the books even become available in local bookstores.

    And yes, yay for bookish friends that let me borrow books.:)

    • I decided to write a post about it instead of always complaining and texting you that I haven’t bought anything from bookstores. πŸ˜› I really bought a lot of books last year because that’s when I started discovering so many new-to-me authors. I’m still catching up on my book purchases because I bought books faster than I could read them. I’m resisting buying even bargain books unless it’s something that I really want because I haven’t even read the ones that I bought before.

      Yep, I don’t want to worry about bugging local bookstores about their deliveries and whether they already have stocks of the books that I want. Their databases aren’t updated anyway. It’s better to just pre-order from the Book Depository and take advantage of the 25% discount. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for letting me borrow your books! I haven’t started on the ones that are currently with me.

  3. Reading blog reviews help me become more thoughtful about which books to buy but it has also allowed me to take more chances when it comes to unfamiliar genres. Most of my friends are YA/Fantasy fans and I usually get a lot of recommendations from them but very few of them are into Mystery books. Book blogs allows me to keep a writer or title in mind for when I go to bookstores so I’m no longer swayed by the “Bestseller” claims on the jacket.

    I don’t order online as much as other people I know (no credit card, so I usually piggyback on friends’ orders) but I’ve regularly used Avalon.ph recently to get secondhand books that are relatively cheap, especially if they’re not that common locally.

    • Kristel, I know what you mean. Buying a copy of a book is less risky now because we can base our choices on what book bloggers say. I’m lucky that I’ve found bloggers who read the same kind of books that I do. Before that, I got recommendations from Sounis, the LJ community for fans of Megan Whalen Turner’s books and also Goodreads. If you’re into mysteries, I believe there are several active groups on Goodreads on that genre. πŸ™‚

      Oh I’ve always wanted to buy from Jasper of Avalon but I haven’t seen anything that I’d like to get from his website. You don’t want to get your own credit card? πŸ˜› I mostly use mine for online purchases – books, airline tickets and whenever I don’t have cash on hand.

  4. I work at a bookstore, so I still bring way too much of the merchandise home with me, lol. But I can also borrow hardcovers if I’m not sure I want to buy them. I tend to purchase the cheaper books/deals/self-pub stuff on my ereader and buy the rest physically. With my discount, it’s cheaper to buy a paperback this way. The internet has cheaper prices for hardcovers, so I’ll usually go to my store and ship the book to my house with free shipping to get the online price and still support my store so it won’t go out of business.

    Since starting my blog, I definitely buy more books than I did because of recommendations from others and keeping an eye out for what’s on the way. Plus, I get more ARCs now, so I have way too much to read. It’s overwhelming!!

    BTW, I *love* that Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins are together on your bookshelf. I don’t know if you’re doing it alphabetically, or just love them enough to have them together. *loves both*

    • I’d love to work in a bookstore or just any book-related job. πŸ™‚ You can borrow hardcovers from the store? Or do you mean you borrow it from other people? Yep, I buy cheap ebooks on my Kindle or read the galleys that I get there. I’m trying to restrict my purchases to just paperbacks because they’re a lot cheaper. Highly anticipated titles are exceptions though, I don’t mind getting the hardcovers of those.

      That’s why it’s harder to limit purchases now – we’re more aware of what’s going to be released and bloggers review ARCs so we know beforehand if the books are any good. I only get galleys from NetGalley and GalleyGrab because I don’t think publishers are willing to ship ARCs to the Philippines. 😦

      • It’s so much fun being around all those books….but it makes you want to bring it all home…especially when you work in the Children’s/Teen Dept. and read a LOT of YA…. I’ll be shelving new arrivals and go, “I haven’t heard of this….*flip over* Oh, looks good!” Or I’ll recommend something to a customer based on something he or she likes and the person will go, “Oh, have YOU read…?” And I’ll be like, “No! That sounds amazing!” X.x The traps of a bookworm….

        Yes, we can borrow hardcovers from the store for 2 weeks. We check them out in a binder and leave the cover at the store. If we damage the book, we do have to buy it. But it’s a way for booksellers to check out the new merchandise and be able to better recommend to our customers. Sometimes, the publishers even give us free ARCs! We don’t often get YA, though this past month, we did get four strong titles that are about to be heavily promoted with the company….and I really wanted to read three of them, so…! lol I like that I’m the only one who reads a lot of YA at my work, so no one minds when I dibs all the good YA πŸ™‚

        Have you read the teen fantasy WATERFALL by Lisa Bergren or seen all the good press it has gotten? It’s free on Kindle right now! (Or was a couple of days ago…) The final book, TORRENT, comes out really soon, so I’ll be posting my review of the trilogy soon. But you should grab it while it’s free! It’s about two sisters who are from our time who wind up in 14th Century Italy!

        I agree; that IS why it’s harder to limit purchases. We see the reviews, know if the book will be good or not, and go into a store knowing what we want to buy.

      • Sounds like an awesome job, you get to talk to bookworms all the time! One of the reasons why I love my blog is because I don’t get to have bookish conversations with real life friends. Plus, you’re always surrounded by books and you can even borrow hardcovers from the store. Wish I worked in that kind of setting. πŸ˜› I’m pretty sure working in a bookstore over there is really different from working in a bookstore here. Do you work in an indie bookstore?

        Thanks for the Waterfall recommendation! I haven’t heard of it until you mentioned the title so I’ll look it up.

        It really is harder to stop yourself from buying books when you’ve heard such good things about them.

      • Yes, it’s awesome being able to bring home the books when you’re not sure you want to buy them and can’t wait for the library! I have SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White out right now.

        Believe it or not, not everyone who works at a bookstore reads a lot…or even reads what you read. I’m still mostly alone in my extreme love of books…and the genres I read. When I’m not reading teen fiction, I read the really serious, make-you-think style adult fiction, which everyone else thinks is too depressing. For example, Jodi Picoult is my favorite author.

        No, I work for a nationwide chain.

        Yes, at the price of FREE, you really can’t skip WATERFALL πŸ™‚ It’s an interesting series & I’ll hopefully review it this week!

      • You’re lucky you can borrow books from your bookstore AND your library! Like I mentioned in my post, we don’t have good public libraries over here. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a library here that wasn’t a school library.

        Have fun reading Supernaturally! I’m not really a fan of paranormal YA so I haven’t read her books. πŸ˜›

        Really? I’m surprised that bookstore people over there don’t read that much. I wonder why is that? You’d think that a person who isn’t interested in books wouldn’t apply for work in a bookstore. I think the sales people in bookstores here do read but I get the feeling that they don’t read the same books that I do because whenever I ask for a certain book, they’re clueless about it and they have to search the database to check.

        I downloaded Waterfall because it’s free but I have no idea when I’ll get around to reading it. Thanks again for bringing it up!

  5. My book buying habits have certainly changed, especially recently. I just started to read books on my ipad, and even though I was skeptical of the whole electronic reading experience, it’s turned out to be rather good. I still prefer good old fashion books, but there aren’t many bookstores where I live, and I’ve just never gotten around to ordering stuff online. E-books are definitely an option now, something I would not have even considered six months ago.

    • I wonder if reading on the iPad causes eye strain? Because the screen doesn’t use e-ink technology like other ereaders, right? Just curious. I feel the same way, I still prefer physical books but like I said, that may change in time. I just like the convenience of having an ereader. πŸ™‚

  6. Online is the best way to buy books for me too, especially since I’m a B&N member. Members get free 1-3 day shipping, and the books usually have a cheaper online price. I do miss trips to the bookstore though. πŸ™‚

    Love this post-just wanted to add my quick two cents.

    • I looooove the free shipping!

      If you miss your BN, what you COULD do is figure out which books you want to pre-order, go to your store, and ask to do a “Ship to Home” order. If you do it as a ship to home (even if it’s a preorder…or even a book already out), they’ll give you the online price and the shipping will knock off to free when you pay.

      PLUS, you know those cool coupons we get as members? They don’t work on the website for pre-orders, but if you take it into the store and use it on a Ship to Home as you check out, you get the discount!! I’ll always stack like this when pre-ordering my hardcovers and pay betwen $7 and $9 for a book…after tax.

      Plus, this way your local store gets money instead of the online site and you’ll be helping to keep them in business longer so they don’t go under like Borders did. And that way you get to see your bookstore instead of missing it πŸ™‚

    • I think I’m willing to buy from any online bookstore that has free shipping. πŸ˜› Don’t you get free shipping from Amazon too? If books are cheaper online then it’s really better for you to just order them on the website. But yes, dropping by bookstores is always fun.

      • You get free shipping over $25 from Amazon. From BN, too, but if you’re a member, you could spend a penny and get free shipping πŸ™‚

        Sometimes if it’s a pre-order and you have a coupon, it’s cheaper to go into a store and have it shipped to your house. If there’s no coupon and you’re out near the bookstore, it’s the same price as buying it online, not more expensive. You just have to do a ship to house instead of buying it that day in the store and taking it home with you. If you’re not out that way or not missing the bookstore, then yeah, stay home and save the gas. lol

  7. I think the only time I really buy books in a snap now is if it’s an auto-buy author (then again, I haven’t bought a print copy of Dessen’s newest book, how about that). But I no longer have the same “OMG I MUST BUY THIS NOW NOW NOW” feeling whenever I see something I like, or might like. Or even something recommended. I have a feeling my TBR is a big influence, plus the fact that I’m up for a big expense soon. But my wallet is no longer mad at me for buying so many books. I don’t even buy ebooks as much now, unless I really, really want it. Maybe this is what we call maturity in buying? Haha.

    Oh and yes, I’m so glad we can borrow books from each other now. πŸ™‚

    • Yes, exactly. I don’t need to think about auto-buy authors so those are pre-ordered or instant purchases for me. I wonder why you haven’t bought Dessen’s latest? I think my “OMG I MUST BUY THIS NOW” feeling has evolved to “NEED TO PRE-ORDER THIS NOW *keeping my fingers crossed it will be delivered soon” πŸ˜› I can understand your reluctance to spend money right before your big trip so maybe your excitement for Spain has overshadowed any bookish cravings. But I like what you said about maturity in buying. LOL.

  8. I am banning myself from buying any books right now. I am making myself read the books I have. I need to read those books and clear my shelf or at least get the number of books I have down to a reasonable number.

    • I don’t think I can do a book buying ban, I think I’d just end up splurging right after the ban. But I am making myself read the books on my TBR pile and I’ve bought a lot less books this year than last year so that’s a good thing. πŸ™‚

  9. I am like you in the sense now I finally ask myself do I need this book now or can it wait a few weeks. My TBR pile is massive and have books that have been sitting there forever. I am also like buying on line. I buy from TBD who are cheaper and sometimes faster than my local store or if it is an Aussie book I buy from an independent bookstore.

    Great post πŸ™‚

    • Nic, how many books do you have on your TBR pile? πŸ˜› I really feel guilty that some of the books in my pile have been there for years. I’m making it a point to read the ones that have been there for a while.

      Yay, sharing the Book Depository love. It really makes sense for you Aussie folks since books are so expensive there. Like Celina said in her comment above, pre-ordered books get here even before the local bookstores have them on stock.

  10. In the last months I started buying more books on book depository because I can safe 1-4 Euro per book when I order there. But when I want a book on the next day I still use amazon.de.
    I also started buying more used books, mainly on amazon via a seller that offers books that were sent back to amazon by customers.

    I have never bought a lot of books in bookstores because they don’t have that many English books and that’s pretty much all I read. When I’m in Frankfurt I visit one of the big bookstores there and sometimes buy books. In the last two years they got all of the books by J.D. Robb and Nora Roberts a bit early, so that’s always a good reason to visit them. And they have a nice little YA section, but often I already know all the books.

    I also started buying some ebooks but normally only when I’m not so sure about the book and see a good offer for it. Or when I want to read a book but can’t get it in print (like Jenny Pox for example)

    Since I started blogging the size of my TBR pile and my wishlist have grown a lot, so far I’m ok with both. I needed some time to realize that I can wait for some books and don’t have to get them all at once.

    • I’ve always wanted Amazon to come up with a Philippine version of their site but now that the Book Depository delivers here, I don’t mind anymore (although I feel bad that Amazon bought Book Depository, I would have wanted them to remain separate).

      Oooh used books! I love buying used books just because I can get great bargains for them. I think it’s great that you found a seller on Amazon for that. I mainly buy used books from local stores or sellers from the site Multiply.

      I guess we’re lucky that books don’t have to be translated here in the Philippines so we get US and UK editions in their original form. I rarely even read fiction written in Filipino because I’m not used to it.

      If I’m not sure about a book and it has a Kindle edition, I usually try the Kindle sample. Then if it’s really good and the ebook price isn’t that bad, I go ahead and purchase a copy. I bet that sampling strategy is really working for Amazon.

      Yes, exactly! It took some time for me to realize that I didn’t need to have the books that I want RIGHT AWAY. The books in my wishlist will never run out (which is also why I have a Want Books meme) and I’ve gotten used to that.

  11. i love this post

    to be honest, until recently, i never used to even buy books. they are just *so* expensive here ~ it was too crippling to consider.

    i do love the book depo and better world books. especially for thos books that aussie publishers dont pick up. i am a bit of a fan of the preorder at the book depo. it is such a bargain. also, i tend to wait an extra 12 months for the paperback release.

    i but my aussie books in store, obviously, but often i have to get my indie store to order them in for me as my local store is only small and often doesn’t shelve titles i want.

    i think shops like the book depo has literally changed my reading life πŸ™‚

    • I can see where you’re coming from, Nomes. Books are really expensive over there in Australia and you can just borrow that books that you want to read from the library. But still, it’s a good thing that you can now buy books from both Book Depository and Better World Books. πŸ™‚ I love the pre-order discount too, 25% makes the book a bargain and more so when they add additional discounts like the 10% summer coupon.

      I don’t mind waiting for paperback releases too. I’ve been telling myself that it’s better to wait for the paperback because I can buy two paperbacks for the price of one hardcover. I’m reserving hardcovers for my auto-buy, favorite authors.

      Book Depository has really changed my reading life. Before, whenever a friend or a relative went to the States, I’d always ask them to get a book for me. But now, I can just order in online and that makes me happy.

  12. Same here. I feel such guilt when I rummage and flip through books in stores but never purchase even one. My book conscience really calls out, reminding me that I have a tub and a half of books waiting to be read. And though I don’t buy anything, my to-buy list grows since I come across books that intrigue me.

    Not buying a book is just frustrating. More so when I have the means to but stop myself because it’s just another impulse buy. But sometimes, I just cannot help myself.

    • How many books does your tub contain? πŸ˜› I’m always curious about other people’s TBR pile. I don’t think I can reach my goal of bringing down my TBR count to less than a hundred this year but we’ll see.

      I know! It’s really hard to stop myself from getting an interesting book and it’s worse now that I’m more aware of what’s out there. I keep hoping that the books that I purchase will turn out to be a favorite.

      • The ones I have yet to read plus the ones I have to finish (started reading but put off for various reasons), I think I have about 50. And that includes those thick books from the good people of Reader’s Digest. I just love their compilations. Well, most of them at least.

        You remind me of a male friend. He too has been having trouble with the amount of books he accumulates. But it’s a trouble I think he enjoys having.

        I too have the same dilemma every time I make a purchase. I just take comfort in the thought that–with most of what I’ve bought–they’re serendipitous finds and I have come to love them and what they have taught and shown me.

      • 50 isn’t so bad! I think I have around 160 in mine? And that doesn’t include the e-galleys. Like I said, anything below a hundred is good enough for me.

        I think most book lovers have a book buying problem πŸ˜› I don’t have it as bad as other people because I’ve tried to control the number of books that I buy this year. I know a lot of other bookworms don’t mind hoarding books.

        Ah so you take chances on titles that you have no prior knowledge of? I can’t remember when was the last time I bought a book that wasn’t recommended by someone else – a book blogger, a Goodreads friend or a favorite author.

  13. Have not bought a single book from either national’s or powerbooks’ respective sales yet haha. Though I might swing by before the sales end to pick up copies of Pegasus and Eyes like Stars (since I don’t have copies of those books yet).

    I used to buy a lot of brand new books back when I was in high school and college. But now I mostly buy remaindered or secondhand copies of the books that I want, unless there’s a new release by an author that I really want to support (after all, secondhand copies means the author doesn’t get any royalties). Which is actually funny considering that my salary is of course much larger than the allowance I used to completely blow on books those days.

    I also loved poring over the LA Times book review section (it’s not as stuffy as the New York Times book review, and my aunt lives in the West Coast so that’s where I went on most of my US trips) for new reads, but that was before blogging rose in popularity. Now, like the mjority of people out there, I’ve setteled on a few favorite blogs and depend on those for recs.

    • I think the sales end this week, right? I still haven’t bought anything and I’ve been dropping by their branches whenever I could. I even went through my wishlist and looked for titles that might be available in their stores. I guess there’s nothing that I really want right now. Or I’m okay with the ones that I already have and the ones that I’ve ordered online. I should be thankful that I’m book full (as opposed to book hungry) right now.

      Hey, me too! I mostly bought new books back when I was in school, I haven’t discovered used bookstores then. Now I buy discounted copies whenever I can unless it’s an auto-buy author, like you said. Yep, authors don’t get anything from used copies but I can’t resist buying them because they’re so cheap. πŸ™‚

      Yay for book blogs, right? Just wondering, what are some of your favorite book blogs?

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