The Psychology of Buying Books When You Are Poor

June 26, 2017     The Bluestocking Bookworm     Books, Personal, Random Thoughts

Hello awesome nerds,

I thought I might take you a little ways into my mind today. Hold my hand, mind the gap, and don’t poke anything and we will be fine.

As a person without a lot of money for frivolities (which unfortunately includes books) I tend to buy my books used. As such, I can generally get books for anywhere from $0.50 to $2.00 each. Yes, they are used, but they are also generally in good condition. The only time I get a little grumpy is when I have ex libris copies I can’t clean up. But I digress.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I received a lovely gift card for Chapters as a gift. Cue my excitement! I was going to get to buy a new book for myself! As I have become more active on Twitter lately, I have been seeing so many awesome new releases coming out. And I was so excited.

Until I got to the book store. New releases (meaning hardcover for the most part) were running over $25 each. One of them was under 100 pages long. And I sat there, dumbfounded, staring at the books I had been so excited to get. The gift card, which I thought was going to get me maybe two books, was not even going to cover one.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Books are worth it. I want nothing more than to support authors. But when you are trying to make your money stretch, it is so frustrating to come across these books you want that are so out of reach. $25+ is enough for one of my monthly medications! Even with a gift card, can I honestly justify that kind of cost?

Ebooks are an option. And it is funny, because I actually prefer to read ebooks. But for the money, I would rather have something physical in my hands than a series of ones and zeroes.

How do you feel about the “convenience tax” associated with buying brand new books? Do you think it is justified? Or do you think we should be working to make books more accessible to all?

Stay bookish, lovelies!


Talk bookish to me!

3 responses to “The Psychology of Buying Books When You Are Poor

  1. I’m not rich…but I try to support fellow authors. Yes, books are expensive. Maybe this is why
    authors need a day job or some income.

  2. You nailed one of the primary reasons I like reading ebooks – they are usually cheaper. The other is basically because they don’t take shelf space. However, that said, I do also tend to go on physical sprees. I think books are very highly priced, but like you, I understand why. I also insist on buying all Stephen King books in hardcover – that heavens my husband often gets them for me as gifts. I think it’s great you buy used books – they tend to get more love that way.

    Great post and I look forward to being your commenting buddy for the month of July!

  3. I hate to say it, but I think pricing is one reason why brick and mortar bookstores are vanishing. I hear a lot of complaints about Amazon’s pricing structure and how it is driving them out of business, but the truth is, who can afford such high pricing at a local bookstore? Discounts are few and far between. You can get into the Barnes and Noble bookclub to get a discount,but you have to pay to join. What is the point of that? So most of what I read is e-book (besides being much easier to access and doesn’t aggravate my fibromyalgia) and now I only collect certain physical books. I’m careful about what I choose to buy. Usually something i already read on e-book and can’t live without.