5 Ways to Afford Reading Books – Finance Fridays

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Everyone has or should have at least one hobby. Some people enjoy making craft beer. Others play intramural sports. Then you have those of us who always have our noses stuck in a book. Only a person who loves books and truly enjoys reading would challenge herself to read 104 in 365 days.  Since I announced my challenge people have been asking me how do you afford reading books? I chuckle and give a few tips, but it a very serious question. Books are expensive.

If you’re an avid reader like me,  you can find yourself spending at least $1,000 on books a year. If you’re like me and don’t want to give up your expensive tea or coffee habit, you have to find other ways to fund your reading hobby. One paperback book alone averages $15.95. If you read one book a week, you’re looking at roughly $60 a month and that’s on the cheaper end. With wage and salaries still on the lower side and people struggling to pay off debt, a hobby shouldn’t break the bank. So this week’s Finance Friday is going to help you afford reading books!

Buy Used Books

When I went to Detroit two years ago, one of my favourite parts of the trip with visiting John K King Used & Rare Books which happens to be the largest used book store in the Midwest. You could get lost in that place. But I found some great gems in there for a little bit of nothing. I’m talking pennies on the dollar folks. With Amazon dominating the book market, it was nice to support an independent shop. If you don’t happen to have traditional brick and mortar shops your area, you can search online in Facebook groups, check out annual library sales, or hit up yard sales on the weekend. There are sellers that will gladly take your money and help find a good home for their used books.

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Depending on the type of reader you are or the genre you read ,this might be the most affordable option for you. I appreciate the accessibility and affordability of an ebook. While the average cost of an ebook is $9.99, the most commonly bought ones retail for $3.99. I enjoy reading romance novels and they tend to be $3.99 which is one way I am able to afford reading books that might not be found at brick & mortar shops or used book stores. Amazon also offered Kindle Unlimited, which gives you access to their unlimited library for $9.99 a month and Prime members get one free ebook a month and access to the Prime library. Through these programs, I’ve found books that had been on my Goodreads list for the year and others that I never would have picked up in a store but still found insightful.

Book Swaps with Friends

Are you friends nerds too? Then maybe you should start swapping books and help each other save month during your reading journey. Maybe you meet up once a month to do book drop offs or you send each other one book every month. Thanks to USPS , the service I normally drag for losing my ish, you can send a books (and other select forms of media) for as low as $2.88 ! That is much cheaper that $15.95 and you get to read at least two books a month.

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Raid Your Family Members’ Shelves

When I make trips to Tennessee to visit my Granddaddy or go to Florida and see my Nana , I always raid their bookshelves. They have books that have been sitting on their shelves for years that they are never going to reread or begin to read for that matter. They know by passing them along to me, the books will have a good home. When I went to Tennessee last year, I spent hours in Granddaddy’s office digging through the hundreds of books he has. I had found so many gems that I transferred my clothing into my backpack and filled with a suitcase with books. So if you have relatives who love to read and hoard books, reach out to them.

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This seems like a no brainer but people have been shocked when I tell them I make frequent trips to my library. I’m a tax paying citizen and I want to get all the benefits of giving Uncle Sam my coins. Before I was a tax paying citizen, I utilised libraries because that is what they are there for. It is one of the few things millennial didn’t kill. In fact, we have helped to revive libraries so shout-out to us! Since I’m reading about two books a week, my public library system is saving me at least $1,260 a year. My library system utilizes Overdrive, so I have access to free ebooks and audiobooks!

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My library system has a pretty straightforward request system.

I know what you’re going to say “my library doesn’t have the book I want, Aitza.” Well I’ve got news for you pal, you can request books. Ask your librarian or browse the website to find out the process, then get to work. There is no guarantee it will be accepted , but so far I have a 90% acceptance rate. Maybe I just have great taste in literature or maybe God is looking out and knows I cannot afford reading books any other way, but I’m not complaining. Remember crew, closed mouths don’t get fed or read.  Putting in requests also is a tremendous help to writers and getting royalty checks. So if you love a writer, but cannot afford to buy their books, a request is free.99! What better way to afford reading books than one that involves zero dollars leaving your bank account.

Bonus: Request ARCs

If you see me mentioning NetGalley more, it’s because that has been my second biggest book supplier this year after libraries. If you’re a blogger or Instagrammer with at least 500 followers, you might be able to request ARCs aka advanced readers copies in exchange of free book reviews. Setting up a profile and creating your accounts can take a little work, but if it means saving some money, why not.  NetGalley is a great way to get started because it offers “Read Now” selection which automatically grants you access to ARCs in the form of ebooks. This allows you to build your portfolio as a reviewer, then you can start reaching out to publishers directly.

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Those are the 5 ways to afford reading books without hurting your budget. Don’t forget crew, reading is important and fundamental,  and the knowledge you use is power! So pick up a book and get empowered. If you want to read along with me, follow me on Goodreads, check out my tag #petitereads on IG, or take a look at my reading list on Amazon.

If you’re an avid reader, I’d love to know how you afford reading  books? Do you have an expensive hobby that isn’t reading, I’d love to hear about that  too. Comment below.


Aitza B