Thursday, December 17, 2009

Paying Less for Books: Part 2 – Money Saving Tactics

I am a bibliophile. I prefer holding a book in my hand while I read. I like to own books. I like to look at them on my shelves and recall their main points or stories.

Because it’s important to minimize the cost of the books I buy, I’ve developed a strategy and tactics to substantially reduce the price I pay. The strategy is patience. I put books I’m interested in on a list and wait.

Several good tactics are based on the strategy of patience.

As time passes I validate my interest in the books on my list. About half of them I eventually delete from the list without buying; I’ve lost interest in them or my interest is insufficient to justify the money or the time to read them

I wait for the mass-market paperback edition. I use this tactic for most of the novels on my list. A typical hardback novel lists for around $30. The mass-market paperback typically lists for around $8.

I have a Barnes & Noble membership providing a 10% minimum discount on any B&N paperback or a 20% minimum discount on hardbacks. As a member, Barnes & Noble sends me a discount coupon at least once a month for an additional discount on anything in the store. The additional discount ranges from 10% to 25% with 15% discount coupons being normal.

The B&N discounts are cumulative not additive. That is, they take the 10% membership discount and then they take the 15% coupon discount on the balance; instead of adding the 10% and 15% coupons and taking a 25% discount once. This process reduces the total savings, but it’s still a good deal.

I shop the remainders. Book sellers, including B&N, deeply discount books that fail to meet their sales expectations or to make room on their shelves for newer issues. Sometimes, books on my list show up on the discount displays. When they do I snap them up and still take the 10% B&N membership discount. On those occasions when I buy books on impulse, they’re almost always on the discount shelves.

I shop the used books on When the mass-market paperback edition is published, the remaining hardbacks are discounted, especially by the used book sellers on Amazon. Even with a $4 typical shipping & handling fee, the total discounted cost of used books on Amazon often drops below the $8 price of the paperback edition. I’ve bought several books at a discounted price of $0.01 plus the $4 shipping & handling.

The combination of these tactics – based on the strategy of patience – enables me to buy the books that I really want without busting the budget.

Link to Other Topics in the Special Report: Cutting Expenses

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