Bank Holiday Musings

I did something this week that I haven’t done in years – I bought five books.  And paid FULL PRICE for each and every one of them. 

What, you didn’t think it was the bought five books bit, did you?

No, seriously, what with the internet retailers – both ebook and hardcopy retailers – and large chain stores offering x% off, 3 for 2s, BOGOFs*, and every other discount combination under the sun, actually paying the Recommended Retail Price for a book is not something I do very often.

But I did.  Not just once, but for a decent number of books on two separate occasions.  And I wasn’t entirely sure why I did, which in turn is why you now get an entire blog post on this.

Part of it was most definitely the instant gratification element: I’m in the store, I see the book, and I WANT. IT. NOW.  But that actually wasn’t the case for some of the books that I ended up getting.  Yes, sure, I wanted them, and would probably have ended up getting them sooner or later, but I would have been quite happy waiting for the books to be delivered by post.  Or in one of the instances, walked ten minutes down the road for a 3 for 2 deal.

And after thinking about this for longer, I think it’s possibly my way of saying thank you to the bookstore for stocking the books, for promoting them, and for maybe, just maybe, getting casual browsers hooked on the series.  Because, sort of selfishly, because the more people buy books, the more books authors get to write, and the more books I get to read. 

Maybe it’s sort of stupid – does a single full-price purchase make any difference?  Probably not, in the grand scheme of things.  And it’s uncomfortably close for me to the argument that I, as a reader, have any obligations to help authors earn their living / make the bestseller list / etc etc that pops up every now and again.  I have obligations, sure, but none related to the author side of the business – and I dislike being made to feel that way by exhortations to buy on release date, to buy from certain stores, to do this, to do that.  On a related note, Seanan McGuire has a brilliant post on dos and don’ts for her new release that sort of makes me a bigger fangirl of hers than I already am.

But I digress.  Back to why I paid full-price for my books.  It’s not as though Waterstones is going to wither and die away if I purchased the books from their online store as opposed to the physical one – but I loved the fact my local store had a display set up to promote YA fantasy and had the latest releases out on the shelves.  And actually, taking into account Borders pretty much collapsed over the Christmas period last year, maybe I shouldn’t be taking Waterstones for granted. 

So, buying full-priced books a thank you to my local store then?  And indirect encouragement to please continue stocking and promoting these books?

I think so.  Will it make any difference in the long run?  Possibly not, as it’s not something I plan on doing consciously or regularly from now onwards.  But yeah, I think that’s why I did what I did this week.

How often do you buy full-priced books?  Always?  Never?  And if you do, why?


*Buy One, Get One Free… certainly makes more sense with books than, say, vegetables – just do the 50% off, okay?



PS: And the books?

Suzanne Collins’ “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay” (YA fantasy): After holding out for months, I decided it was now or never if I didn’t want to be totally spoiled, and finally read the copy of “The Hunger Games” on my bookshelf.  And obviously had to get the next two.

Two anthologies edited by Trisha Telep: “Kiss Me Deadly” (YA urban fantasy), which I mentioned here, and “The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2” (genre self-explanatory) because that had a Karen Chance short story (autobuy!) and an Ava Gray one.  I’ve Ms Gray’s “Skin Game” in my TBR pile and have been meaning to get around to it for ages as I’ve only heard good things.

Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Angel” (YA fantasy): I liked her Mortal Instruments trilogy (the ending not so much) and the cover on this is beautiful.


Pretty evident which sections I’ve been spending time, huh?


8 thoughts on “Bank Holiday Musings

  1. On Saturday I entered the Bookstore because my husband needed a technical non fiction book, I came out with 5 books, none of them was on sale.
    I never go to the library because there is nothing that I like more than highlighting books with pencils … I have an e-reader now but it’s simply not the same.
    When you say:

    “I dislike being made to feel that way by exhortations to buy on release date, to buy from certain stores, to do this, to do that”

    I totally agree, I try to make my decisions based on what is relevant to me rather than marketing, it’s not always easy but I try hard.

  2. Hmmm, well I always get 10% off with the rewards program at the bookstore… and lately, I’ve been carting 25% off coupons in my purse LOL… but I think with the amount of books I buy in-store, I encourage them enough 😀

    and LOL, I’ve just started Hunger Games 😀 Glad to know you liked it 🙂

  3. Em – Glad to see I’m not the only one on the full-price books thing. I’ve been trying to use the library a lot more this year, and succeeding!

    It’s very easy to get caught up in the hype, and feeling as though you should/shouldn’t do something – that’s why I really liked Seanan McGuire’s post because it was so level-headed and positive.

    Nath – HG is extremely readable and fast-paced. I liked the second book better than the first, but did finish both of them in a single sitting.

    They don’t really do coupons here – or they sometimes do, but you have to print them off and I keep on forgetting… see, this is why buying online is easier!

  4. Hmmm, I don’t have any bookstore that carries English books in town (as a matter of fact we are a pretty small town – roughly 30.000 inhabitants – and used to have three bookstores on the same road, but one closed).

    Germany has a price fix for new books so you pay the same price when they’re newly released everywhere (this keeps small bookstores alive, of course) – this goes for online sellers, too. They can be discounted later on, though.

    What I do nowadays to support certain authors – not stores – is buy hardcover books, which I never used to do, when they come out. Only for a few authors though. Otherwise I try and buy non-used books at least – or ebooks, of course, where I know the author gets their money.

  5. Well, the one big comment I was going to leave was “oh, which books”, so thank you for the postscript.

    I understand your point very well, though I am not ready to put my money where my mind things right – oh I can always find good arguments, by buying discounted I buy more and take risks and end up spreading my support for more authors and publishers. I am not in the UK, our translation market is very expensive and it was almost non existent when I was a teen which was why I started reading in english. Seriously, a translation for any genre thing can easily be 20 euros – for books I can get bookdepository for 5-6 euros, even less if I preordered it. Though that point is academical, I hate reading translations now, will only do it for the unavoidable languages. Few bookstores in town carry english books, and then it is 10-12 euros for things I can buy online for less than half. I think only the immediate gratification thing is going to keep bookstores importing books – or they use that to attract some clients who come just browsing who might end up buying something else.

    But while I love physical bookstores, nothing quite like it, I remember how blessedly marvelous it is to be able to get the books you really want, and for cheap!

    BTW, I love Waterstone´s but when I was in Britain earlier this month I was sort of shocked Borders had closed! Hypocritically I was not going to buy any books there, I just wanted to browse – I was going to do book shopping at home and save my luggage from the weight.

  6. Estara – The UK used to do the price-fixing thing, think it was called the Net Book Agreement, but that came to an end back in the 1990s I think. And then Amazon came in and shook up the market!

    I buy a lot more hardcovers than I used to, but only for the authors I love really. And I only buy used for OOP books, though that could be because there’s no secondhand bookstores near me…

    Teresa – I thought I would add the books to pre-empt those questions 😉

    20 euros v 6 euros… that is a massive difference! I would so buy online if that was the case.

    And yes, it’s a shame about Borders. On the plus point, I think Waterstones have become so much better about genre fiction, which makes up most if not all of my reading, and I am spending much more time in their stores! They’ve apparently changed the way stores order books, and allow local stores a lot more leeway in making their orders as opposed to it all being mandated centrally.

  7. I was in Waterstones not long ago and what i really lvoed was their kids (real kids, pre-schoolers, eheh) books section, I wanted to buy some, and it was so organized, so sensible and helpful, I was in love. I ended up making some really good choices the kids love. If the price difference is not too much, I would totally prefer to go to a real bookstore and browse and buy. Or be free from the vagaries of postal service in those really wanted releases.

    My situation is sort of different, I really wish we had kids sections in bookstores like Waterstones – it is so easy for adults to find things, to browse for the right age, or the right series. If the price in one book is 1 euro, or 1 pound or say 10%, I am sure I would find it easier to shrug off. but for me, everyday it is so much more than that. and if I had to pick one, just one it would be online over real life. sad but true. I remember very well how not fun was just having real life.

  8. “be free from the vagaries of postal service in those really wanted releases”

    Ah – so true. The number of times I have hesitated over ordering a book online because of the good old postal service.

    And I totally get what you mean about it being easier to make the right choices on kids books in a bricks-and-mortar bookstore. Online pictures/excerpts aren’t quite the same…

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