Thursday, January 12, 2012

Payday! How I buy books

How do you buy your books? Have your buying habits changed recently? I'm going to start a new feature about which books I buy and why. A year ago, I had never read an e-book. I got most of my books through the library and through used book sales, especially through our Friends of the Library sales and through the local buy/sell/trade used store. Supermarket paperback racks were my guilty pleasure and how I tended to pick up most new books. I would estimate that I spent around $20-$40 a month (occasionally more!) on books. I also did paperback swap for awhile but stopped when I was spending far more than my average book budget on shipping costs.

When I first got my Nook, I linked my account to my credit card. Um. Can we say BIG mistake? That little one click button is so darn seductive. My book buying shot through the roof. I was nursing an infant and up with him a lot of nights. There was A LOT of book buying going on. Then we went all Suze Orman on our credit cards. We're working at being 100% Credit Card debit free in 2012. This means that my Nook money now comes out my cash. The same cash I feed the babies with. So I'm pickier these days about what I buy. I'm so fortunate that I am able to buy books at all. I know in this economy many, many people are relying completely on libraries and freebies for books. And far too many mamas are worried about what to feed their babies period, let alone how to squeeze a few extra books into the budget. So my little budget dilemma about how to feed to my e-book addiction? Such a first world problem.

About a week away from payday I start counting days until I can breathe a little easier and not ration the chocolate. And I can usually count on having a little extra to buy books, so I spend the days up to payday making little lists of books and shuffling my wishlist. Especially if I am going to buy agency* priced books, I do it on payday. I can pick up 99 cents bargains anytime, but when I'm shelling out a fair amount (for me this is over $5, over $3 in lean months), I make myself wait. Mostly I fail at this, but I only buy books after I've read the free sample. Even 99 cent books, I still read the sample. I can usually tell within 5 pages if a book will work for me at all. Not always a guarantee I will finish it, but pre-nook my DNF ratio was very high--probably 60% or more some months. Now my DNF ratio is more like 10%.

With non-agency priced books, I try to watch for sales over at All Romance E-books and fictionwise so that I can collect more for less money. I also watch Dear Author and Books on the Knob for alerts on bargains on the higher priced books. If you have a rooted nook or android device, you can collect both Nook & kindle bargains. I need to re-root my nook. Which sounds far dirtier than it is! But, many of my favorite authors write for agency publishers and are worth their $7.99 price tag even if I have to budget for it.

So what am I buying or thinking of buying this payday?
  • Elisabeth Naughton's Wait for Me. At $3.99 this is a steal and had I not committed a multitude of budgetary sins I would own it now. I adored her "Stolen" Romantic Suspense trilogy.
  • Marie Sexton's Blind Space--One of my most favorite M/M authors has a new release this month & it's a futuristic sci-fi, but it doesn't look to have freaky aliens. And it's by her, so it's pretty much an auto-buy for me. I loved her Song of Oestend and I don't read very much fantasy at all.
  • Zoe Archer's Chain Reaction. Apparently this is going to be my space opera month. I adored her Collision Course (my review here) and can't wait for this title. If you like blistering heat, kick-ass heroines, lots of butt-kicking action, you'll want to try her!
  • Shoshanna Evers's Bedhead. This is erotica with a bald heroine. A bald heroine. I've read the sample and my fingers are itching to read it. I love Evers's fresh voice.
  • Laura Griffin's Snapped. This has languished on my to-buy pile too long. It's agency priced so I keep moving over it in favor of two or three less expensive titles, but I need a Griffin fix pronto.
  • Elosia James's When Beauty Tamed The Beast. I read the sample chapters of this contained in her freebie short Winning the Wallflower released around the holidays. I loved the sample and have been waiting to click buy.
  • Beth Williamson's Backlist. Um. Okay. Not in my budget, but I read and adored Bounty (which I'll try to review) and I want to read the rest of that series. She is my new western historical crack. At Samhain's decent prices, I might be able to squeeze two in, especially if ARe has a holiday weekend deal. Victoria Dahl, Marie Force, and Inez Kelley are three other authors whose backlists I'm working through & will be picking up if a sale presents.
  • Celia Grant's A Lady Awakened. Everyone I know is reading & loving this, so I'll be downloading a sample to consider this unusual regency.
  • Miranda Neville apparently has a virgin, nerdy hero. In a regency. I'm downloading samples of her series.
Grant, Neville, and Williamson are example of a twitter fueled purchase. Sasha White saw that I was reading a different Beth Williamson book and tweeted that her favorite is Bounty, which I then got a sample for and bought. Maisey Yates and others were discussing virgin heroes. She could not stop talking about Neville IN ALL CAPS. I noted others chiming in with their love and was intrigued. Grant's release day had my tweet stream full of glowing reviews from friends I trust. NOTE: This is others talking about a book, spontaneously. This is how social media fuels purchases. I do not buy because someone says "buy me!" I buy when a lot of my friends say "I bought it and it is awesome." I love it when my auto-buy authors post when they have a new release out because it simplifies my searching. But random "Buy me" tweets just don't work on me. I buy from my auto-buy authors and backlist of authors I really liked. I buy others based on reviews and buzz from readers I trust. I occasionally buy from promo like RWR ads. I have bought books recently because of twitter interactions--interactions being the key word. I rely on the sample to tip me over into "buy."

So how about you? What will you be buying in the next week and why?

*Agency Priced books = the books from the big publishers who all agreed that the price of a mass market paperback e-book would be $6.99-$9.99 & sometimes more. These books don't usually go on sale and aren't usually available for discounts and coupons at the independent retailers.


  1. Great list of books. I just bought Yellowstone Heart Song a historical western by Peggy Henderson because it was raved about on the Kindle Western loop. Don't know when I'll get to it with research and the other tbr books on my kindle but I have it for $.99.

    I need to do the free partial reads instead of just downloading. I stopped reading a book last night that I'd purchased the whole thing but when they went from a downpour of rain and the next page dust flew in their faces....

  2. As you know, I most often read sf rather than romance (although I will pick up the occasional bodice ripper..), but these are excellent tips for any eBook consumer!

    A friend gave me a gift certificate for my Kindle (app) last month; I immediately spent it on books I knew I wanted to own (I'd read them from the library), but if I can ever find any 'fun' money that hasn't gone straight to wooly goodness, I'll be keeping these tips in mind. :)

  3. Thanks for commenting! If anyone is looking to be my "nook friend" and get reads that way, just let me know! Adding Yellowstone Heart Song to my list of samples!

  4. I sympathize with you about the credit card and your nook account. I don't have a credit card on file for Amazon because I know I would be spending way too much. I made the decision to buy gift cards for Amazon when I want books, and since the money doesn't expire once it's on the account I don't have to worry about it.

    Like you, I tend to pass over the higher priced books since money is tight, but when I have a new gift card I always allow myself one higher priced book (which is anything $5 and over) as a treat.

    My next buy is going to be Whispers in the Dark by Maya Banks. I love the KGI series and been looking forward to this book. I just have to find it. Since Borders went out of business, it's been harder to find new book by my favorite authors.