How Much Do You Spend On Books? 2016 Edition

2016-Discussion-ChallengeLast January, I put together a post that analysed how much I spent on books throughout the year, and I’ve decided to bring it back for a 2016 edition. I personally prefer physical books to eBooks, and I generally prefer owning books as opposed to borrowing them from the library. This can result in a toppling TBR pile (literally – my sister used to call it my wall of books, now she calls it book-Jenga), and it can also result in a large spend if I’m not careful. I’m a great believer in hunting down deals and bargains (see my previous posts Book Buying Bans and Me and Buying Books As Cheap As Possible), and I’ve always believed that while I do spend money on books, I spend a reasonable amount, and make sure I get a lot for my money.

Last year was the first time I actually tried to add up what I’d spent over the course of a year, and I was pleasantly surprised when I worked it out (£205 for 110 books). This year, I wanted to try and reduce my spend, by reducing the number of impulse purchases I made. Overall, I think this worked well, but 2015 was also the year of the charity shop comeback for me too. Let’s see how I got on…

I’ve spent more than the following if you include purchases in physical stores (which I don’t do often), but being able to view my online orders was the only way to put this together as I don’t keep receipts. Also, I’ve used the RRPs to calculate savings – while most stores will sell for slightly under this, again, this was the only logical way to put together this post. And finally, the amount I spent doesn’t include using discount codes and cash-back from Quidco to make further savings.

The Book People

  • Total Books Bought: 36
  • Total Amount Spent: £68.54
  • Average Price Per Book: £1.90
  • Total RRP: £345.74
  • Total Saving: £277.20

The Works

  • Total Books Bought: 33
  • Total Amount Spent: £64.32
  • Average Price Per Book: £1.95
  • Total RRP: £271.72
  • Total Saving: £207.40

Amazon

  • Total Books Bought: 19
  • Total Amount Spent: £91.58
  • Average Price Per Book: £4.82
  • Total RRP: £192.82
  • Total Saving: £101.24

*A few Amazon purchases this year were gifts I didn’t purchase myself, but I’ve included them anyway.

2015 Totals

  • Total Books Bought: 88
  • Total Amount Spent: £224.44
  • Average Price Per Book: £2.55
  • Total RRP: £810.28
  • Total Saving: £585.84

My average price is down by £1.19 per book, my total spend for 2015 is around £15 more than last year, but I purchased 22 less books. To me, this shows that I did decrease my impulse purchases, but the books I specifically wanted (illustrated Harry Potter, a new Harry Potter box set, pre-orders by Colleen Hoover and Sarah J Maas) pushed the overall total amount spent up, because it’s difficult to get them at bargain prices. My spend for 2014 worked out at around £17 per month, and my spend for 2015 works out at £18.70 per month. Next year, I’d like to aim for more of the same, but if I could get the total spend down more, that would be perfect!

Out of curiosity, I’ve also included eBook purchases below, for the eBook RRPs, I just went with the current price on Amazon. I wanted to reduce the number of eBooks purchased this year, because I really rarely read them, and I also wanted to reduce the number of “free” eBooks I picked up, because again, they’re just accumulating virtual dust.

  • Total eBooks Bought: 18
  • Amount Spent on eBooks: £10.83
  • Average Price Per eBook: £1.20
  • Total RRP: £27.98
  • Total Saving: £17.15

Overall, I think I did pretty well! I would love to gather receipts for in-store purchases of books in 2016, but I don’t know if I can be that organised!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever added up your annual spend! Has this post made you think about calculating it? Or has it made you want to hunt out the best prices for your books??

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27 comments

  1. I don’t tend to buy a lot of books so my purchases for the year would probably be less than $100. I have access to a great library system(s) so I get a lot of books that way. But I probably spend quite a bit more on other hobbies like running.

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    1. My purchases worked out at around £20-30 per month, which I thought was quite reasonable for a dedicated hobby. If it stays in and around that, I can live with it. I don’t have access to a fantastic library unfortunately, and due to funding cuts (catch-22 really, isn’t it?), it has awful opening hours that don’t tie up with my work schedule. I keep threatening to visit it sometime to see what their new releases are like, as it has been a few years since I’ve went. The charity shop hauls keep me ticking over though, as I find so many great books from my wishlist in them R xx

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  2. I think you are so brave to add up how much you spend over the course of the year. I am terrified to do the same. I have a feeling I spent more this year than last. I’m angling to spend less in 2016 and actually utilize my library even more than I do.

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    1. I felt like I had to take the plunge last year, because my TBR was growing so quickly, and by so much, that I HAD to know what it was costing me. Following that, I was COMPELLED to do it this year for comparison purposes. Now my book habit, for me, is justified, and when anyone asks me (which they sometimes do), “but HOW much are you spending on books/you have so many/do you need more?” I can smugly inform them that my hobby costs less than £20 per month. I’m comfortable with that amount, and if it stays there, or lower, I’m good. It reduces the unknown for me, and that was worth the risk of finding out the truth! Lol

      Do we know where our books are at the minute by the way? I’m going to total up the miles they are travelling and post about it, think that would be interesting! R xx

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  3. Oh man. I don’t know. I don’t think I have the guts to do a total of what I spent last year…This year would be a different story for sure, because funds are a little short. Lol.

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    1. I think for me, it wasn’t so much to see what I spent, it was to see if I was OK with what I spent, or if I need to reassess it. I bought less this year, and spent more, so reducing the amount of purchases doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with saving money. This year was more about buying books I was hankering after, rather than spending less but on random books I wasn’t sure if I would like or not. I think when cutting back, as long as you get your hit from somewhere, you can survive. I couldn’t go cold turkey and do a book ban, but I can control my spending a little more when I know I’m getting something coveted! R xx

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  4. I think you are a very thrifty shopper and excellent spender! Less than $20 a month on books is fantastic!! Your deals are really great, I’m impressed!

    Could be worse things to spend your hard earned money on. I don’t think there’s any need to cut back. 😉 xx

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    1. Well, well, well. If it isn’t my favourite enabler! 😉 Thanks, B! I think I’m a pretty thrifty shopper too. The only reason I’m considering cutting back (or at the very least sticking with the same amount) is because I’m reading around 60 or so books a year, and accumulating more than that per year. It really is a never-ending TBR. Bear in mind, this doesn’t include charity shop finds, which for the year probably total less than £30, but mount up in numbers. For a time there I was funding my Dad’s habit too, and he isn’t a rereader, so I think I’m swiftly introducing him to the Library this year!! 😀 R xx

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  5. I had to convert this to USD to get a good feel (and mentally compare it to my own spending habits, of course) for it, because I’m not smart enough to know conversation rates off the top of my head. This is really interesting to see! I’m trying to keep track of how much money I’m spending on books this quarter, too (it’s one of my quarterly goals), just so I can see how to cut back. I’m not including textbooks because I have to buy those (and because they unnecessarily skew my numbers) nor gifts (because those don’t stay on my shelves). I hope my number crunching is similarly illuminating ❤

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    1. Did you track your spend last year? Or have you just started? It’s interesting to see where you can make cut-backs, or spend some time hunting around for better deals. As book lovers, we don’t think too much about spending here and there, but when you look at it over the year, it really helps you see if you need to cut back, or if you are happy with your spend. All hobbies and interests have a cost of some sort, but as long as you’re happy with that amount, then there shouldn’t be a problem! Textbooks definitely don’t count! They can be insanely expensive and are required. If you don’t need to hold on to them though, you can make some cash by selling them on. I’ve kept a couple of really good ones though. Looking forward to seeing your quarterly review! R xx

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  6. I think they are very respectable figures, looks like you got good bargains and also some coveted books. Plus hobbies always cost money and you get a product you can keep for life! How bad 😀
    My biggest spend is my audible membership – about $12 per month but both myself and Tom listen to the books so it’s not too bad. Apart from that I don’t buy as much as I used to. I scour second hand book shops and always ask for vouchers for birthdays/Christmas and they help spread the cost too. I used to buy myself an Amazon voucher of $10 every month too but I wasn’t using them so I stopped that. I’m more determined this year to read what I already own rather than topping my TBR up further.

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    1. I still get bargains, but I’m not so sure my figure is as respectable this year! Lol it will be curious to see at the end of the year how I’ve gotten on. A couple of splurge online sprees of £40 or so per time (for LOTS of books I might add), and a couple of full price treats (or near enough), as well as my charity hauling… I haven’t been just as good at keeping receipts this year either (charity shops!). I’ve a feeling my spending may have gone up a little, but I officially view my books as my “collection” now. I cull it, and nurture it, and add the “must reads” to it as and when I find them for great prices. I wanted to read my own TBR this year, which I have been doing, and I get some physical books to review that I’m genuinely interested in, but I took a BIG break from NetGalley. I’m happy with what I’m reading this year, just wish the TBR would stop growing at twice the rate at which I can read. But hey, you can’t have it all. R xx

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  7. I’m feeling okay, I averaged this year at £2.94 per book which considering I bought a couple of hardbacks feels good! I now just need to work on the quantity… I should probably buy less than I read for the next few decades! 😀

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    1. That is good! Especially because those hardbacks bump up the average cost a lot! I should do that too… but I keep telling myself I’m building a collection! I’ll get to them some day!! 😀 R xx

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