At the end of 2015, I started analysing how much I spend on books each year (see how much I spent on books in 2014, and how much I spent on books 2015). It’s a really popular post, and one I like to do to try and keep control of the spending situation. Typically, I prefer physical books to eBooks, and I prefer owning books as opposed to borrowing them from the library. This has resulted in a substantial TBR pile (based on my current rate of reading, it would take around 5 years to get through the books I currently own… eek!), and while I’m not a believer of Book Buying Bans, I think it’s a great idea to be mindful of what I’m spending my money on.
In 2016, I definitely started buying more books in physical bookstores (I ❤ Waterstones), and unintentionally (at least initially) reduced the amount I was buying through Amazon. As I’ve gotten older, and become less ignorant of the publishing Industry, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the amount of time and work involved in book publishing, and I’ve begun to understand how Amazon’s pricing policy undermines the Industry.
For a long time, I justified cheaper purchases because I was a student, or a recent graduate, who couldn’t afford to spend a lot on books. While I’m not exactly rolling in riches four years after graduation, I am in a position where I can spend that little bit more for a personal and physical customer experience in a bookstore, and that means something to me. That being said, I’m still a firm believer in value for money, so I rarely buy RRP.
Spending that little bit more means that, hopefully, a physical bookstore will stay part of my high street, and it usually means I’m buying books I’m super interested in, rather than sneaky impulse purchases. I haven’t tracked my in-store spend for 2016, but it’s something I really want to do this year. Surely keeping a receipt jar won’t be too much trouble? (Though it may possibly be a massive eye-opener!).
The following figures are taken from my online order histories, and don’t include gifts or books bought from a charity shop. The amount I’ve spent also doesn’t include the benefits of using discount codes and cash-back deals from Quidco to make further savings (which I highly suggest you do!).
The Book People
- Total Books Bought: 18
- Total Amount Spent: £53.93
- Average Price Per Book: £2.99
- Total RRP: £203.85
- Total Saving: £149.92
- Total Books Bought: 33
- Total Amount Spent: £69.00
- Average Price Per Book: £2.09
- Total RRP: £287.00
- Total Saving: £218.00
- Total Books Bought: 8
- Total Amount Spent: £44.63
- Average Price Per Book: £5.50
- Total RRP: £100.93
- Total Saving: £56.30
*I also bought 1 book from The Book Depository (pre-order of It Ends With Us), and 1 book from Waterstones online (pre-order of Empire of Storms).
- Total Books Bought: 61
- Total Amount Spent: £182.70
- Average Price Per Book: £2.99
- Total RRP: £607.76
- Total Saving: £425.06
In 2014, I spent £205 on 110 books, with an average price per book of £1.86. I was snapping up loads of deals and discounted books then, without giving much consideration to what I was buying, or why. In 2015, I spent £224 on 88 books, with an average price per book of £2.55. By this point, I knew which authors I loved and started buying more pre-orders, which work out a little more expensive than waiting for deals and discounts. In 2016, I spent £182.70 on 61 books, with an average price per book of £2.99. While I’m pleased the online purchases are going down, both in volume and value, I haven’t tracked how much my in-store purchases have went up. So it probably evens out (at least).
I’ve definitely started buying more non-fiction each year, which is inherently more expensive than fiction (one purchase was £16 alone), and this mini-analysis doesn’t take in to account how much I’m enjoying the books I’m buying. But, if I wanted to do that, we’d be here all day. Generally, I’d say I’m being more thoughtful about my purchases, so instead of buying every bargain book going in the hopes I’ll enjoy it, I’m specifically buying books by a certain author, or in a certain genre, which is decreasing the number of books I’m hauling, but racking the price up a little. I think doing this post every year is actually helping me be more of a conscious shopper.
As always, I’ve included any eBook purchases below. For the eBook RRPs, I just went with the current price on Amazon. I’m always aiming to reduce the number of eBooks I purchase, because I rarely get around to reading them. In 2014, I picked up 35 eBooks for £27.88. In 2015, I got 18 eBooks for £10.83, and *drum roll please*… In 2016:
- Total eBooks Bought: 8
- Amount Spent on eBooks: £3.96
- Average Price Per eBook: £0.49
- Total RRP: £28.54
- Total Saving: £24.58
I’d call that a pretty successful year in books!
Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever added up your annual spend! Has this post made you think about calculating it? Has it made you want to hunt out the best prices for your books? Or has it made you want to buy books more consciously? Get chatting, Book Geeks!
I’ve never thought about adding up my annual book spend before, but this is really interesting! Now I REALLY want to know how much I spend on books each year… I might have to start keeping track in 2017!
I rarely buy books online unless they’re for school, so I would say that the bulk of my book buying happens in physical bookstores. I just love the atmosphere of bookstores and the fact that you can physically pick up the book you’re thinking about buying and know exactly what quality you’ll be getting.
Awesome post! 🙂
I really love doing this post!! It’s interesting to see how your spend changes and what’s influencing it, and as I said in the post, it’s a really good way for me to try and keep a certain amount of control over it!
I’ve definitely started to appreciate a physical bookstore much more, though I wish the one near me was more like the bigger ones in the city with a coffee shop in it, it would be much more atmospheric and relaxing!
Thanks, Holly! You should keep a receipt jar this year too! R xx
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I’ve never done this, but it is very interesting! I buy most of my books from charity shops, wordery.com and waterstones, and on the whole i only buy books i know i already want. But i still manage to spent a lot. I might give this a go for 2017… if i can remember what i’ve bought so far (only a week into the year – eek)!
I actually really look forward to doing this post every year, can’t get much geekier than that! Lol
I get a decent number of books from charity shops, but I guess I don’t really count those because 1) the money is so little, and 2) it’s going to a good cause. The only unfortunate thing about it is how they make my TBR pile grow SO quickly.
I am AWFUL for picking up bargain deals or impulse buys. Those books that are like £2.99 or less, and you just add them in to your basket. The Works is the worst for that because they are £2 per book or 6 for £10. So if there are 3 you really want, you’ll throw 3 ones you’ve not heard of before that sound OK in to the basket just to get the deal. Terrible shopping decisions!
I’m definitely going to keep receipts this year. It will probably be really surprising how much I’ve started to spend in store. Though I’m already conscious of it, so it’ll probably be less this year than it has been in previous years! Let’s see what 2017 book buying has to offer! R xx
The odd £1.50 in charity shops adds up, though! Especially on a decent haul day and i come home with 10+ books
Checking goodreads (the only way i can keep track), i own 270 books yet to be read. If i’m generous to my current reading speed and say i’ll read 35 a year, that’s nearly EIGHT YEARS. Shit. I need to read faster.
I checked my most recent wordery order and i placed it on 31 December, so i’m £0.00 on zero books so far in 2017, woo! 😀
Very true… maybe I should start tracking it in 2017 too… I’m afraid to check to be honest, and I KNOW Goodreads isn’t 100% up-to-date either… Haha you narrowly escaped that spend! R xx
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Interesting breakdown! I’ve never specifically tracked how much I spend on books before, but I do know I buy a lot fewer books than most people assume I do. I’m a pretty avid fan of the library. 😉
I feel like I want to use my library more (I never use it, and rarely use the app for eBook loans), but I never get around to it for a variety of excuses. I’m making it my mission in 2017 to at least visit it and see what it has to offer. R xx
I always love posts like this. And you have inspired me to track my purchases this year (but I might have said the same on last years post and never followed through!). I don’t buy huge amounts of books anymore though, as I love using my library and my budget is a bit more limited at the moment. Like you I’m mindful about the books I buy and that makes it an even more enjoyable experience for me as I don’t just buy willy nilly the way I used to. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll be doing a similiar post!
Yay for inspiring others!! 😀 I really need to get my finger out and visit my local library, don’t I? I definitely used to buy anything going! I will still throw in the odd impulse purchase, but typically now when I buy a book it’s because I’ve seen it about, and read reviews on it, or love the author, and have wanted to read it for a while. The only impulse buys I make now are either super cheap, or charity shop purchases. I just don’t feel remotely as bad about charity shop spends! Good luck with tracking! Online buys are easy as all the info is held in your account. It’s the in-store purchases that will be more tricky this year, but I’m determined! R xx
This was such an interesting post! I don’t keep much track of how much I spend on books, but maybe I should. I’m usually pretty good at hanging on to my money since I don’t mind checking books out of the library. So if the library has it, I rarely buy it (unless I need to have a copy for myself)
Thanks, Dena! I’m beginning to wish I was the kind of reader who loans and then buys only when they really HAVE to have it. It’ll take me a little while to get through the books on my shelf first though before I can consider it. There’s a part of me that thinks I should pick it up when I’m interested in it, and then because it’s in my personal collection, it will always be available to me when I decide to get around to it! I definitely think it’s a good idea to track your spend though, because without doing so you never actually know what you’re spending, and guesstimates are usually way off. I do think this helps me keep my spending under control… at least a wee bit! R xx
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What an interesting look at your reading and spending habits. I don’t know if I’d be able to keep up with that information all year long!
Hi! I have a trick you see! Because this is all online expenditure, the information is stored in my account with each store. I wouldn’t be able to put this together without that either! Though this year I am aiming to track expenditure in a physical bookstore by keeping a receipt jar, so we’ll see how that goes! R xx
I have never tracked how much I spend on books but over the years I have spent a lot on magazines (A LOT!) and I have stopped buying pretty much all but one or two of them. I do want to maybe use that savings from magazines to buy books. Like I wouldn’t buy one or two books a month because I’d think ‘oh that’s €20/€30 a month, I can’t spend that much!’ but I used to pick up one or three magazines a week and because they’re cheaper I wouldn’t think of the cost that much but really I was probably spending that €20-30 on magazines and it would have been better spent on books!
Hi! I only became interested in tracking my spend when I started gathering a substantial TBR. There was a time when I didn’t own a ton of unread books, but it feels like forever ago now! I used to buy certain magazines religiously too, and I literally don’t buy ANY now. I think when it comes to hobbies or interests, most of us go through phases, and if you aren’t spending it on one thing, it would go to another. My spend usually works out at approximately 20-30 quid per month, and for a serious book enthusiast, I can live with that. There aren’t many hobbies that would cost as little as that! R xx
I’m so impressed that you keep such a detailed account of how much you spend on books. I have to admit that laziness keeps me from really figuring it out. Or maybe I’m just scared to figure it out. 🙂
Oh don’t be too impressed, Nicole! This is my online spend, so all the info is in my online account! This year will be trickier as I’m planning to keep a record of purchases made in bookstores over the year too. That may scare me also! Lol R xx
Although my stats would not be nearly as detailed as yours, I think I’m in the same boat. In previous years, I snatched up books because they were such a great deal. Last year, I definitely bought lots of brand new books, some of which were on sale, others were full price, simply because they were books by beloved authors that I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on! And with the exception of three books, I’d read all of my purchased books by the end of the year! I consider that to be a success, because I was buying and reading right away, not buying and storing for “someday” when I’d feel like picking up that pariticular book.
I just used the account info from the places I shop with online at the end of the year, so I didn’t actually track any of this throughout the year. It was a pleasant surprise to find out what my spend was! Lol This year though I’m also making the effort to track my spend in-store (so far I’m on £10!). It might be a little trickier to do that, but it means my annual spend review next year will be totally accurate, and I will either be impressed, or in shock!
That’s one thing I’m REALLY bad at that I should track next year too – how many of the books I buy in a year that I actually get round to reading in that same year. Although the number of books I buy each year is getting less (thankfully!) I still end up with a net gain every year. I don’t think this year will be an exception, but I’m definitely going to track it more accurately, including charity shop purchases! R xx
I’ve never added up my book purchases but to be honest I buy a lot of ebooks and they don’t amount to very much. I’m also very lucky to have a lot of promotion companies send me Arcs. I work in libraries, So what I do is throughout the year when I read good books I make sure there on our purchase request list to buy. I’ve bought in a lot of Indie authors this way, that would never have been bought in otherwise. I feel this makes up for me buying all my books in ebook format.
Oh to work in a library! ❤ I've started collecting receipts for books I buy in-store, so I can scare myself next year with a 100% accurate spend! Lol so far I've spent £10 in 2017… let's hope it stays in single figures! R xx
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Haha fingers crossed! Although £10 is not so bad in one month. If u could try keep it like that for the year? Eh maybe you’ll be OK 😉😊
Is it bad that I thought that earlier, and then tried to figure out how many days are left in Jan so I could spend in Feb?! Lol it’s gonna be a little harder than I thought. I do want to keep it as “normal” as possible though, because I didn’t track physical spend in 2015 or 2016, I want my 2017 spend to be as realistic as possible. I’m definitely getting better at this though, I think! R xx
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It’s perfectly understandable I’d be the same. I pay for kindle unlimited every month and it works out at about €10 a month so that’s me before I’ve even bought anymore books.
[…] Rachel tracks how much she has spent on books in 2016! […]
So this year I spent £5.31 on average per book, though, if we took out HP&tCC and Fantastic Beasts which were pre-ordered hardbacks then its only £4.32.
This is still more expensive than last year but I bought much fewer books, like you I’m trying to focus more on what I actually want to read rather than just fabulous deals!
I love these posts! Yep, I’m so cool! Xx
Hi Shona, thanks for commenting! Those preorders can really throw the average off! I found a few years ago I was spending less per book, but buying a load of… rubbish. Now, I’m more likely to pay a little more for something I’m really interested in, rather than just the books on offer (though if I can get a book I’m interested in, and on offer, that’s a very happy day!). Glad you like the post, next year’s one is going to be super in-depth as I’m tracking in store spends too and I haven’t missed any yet! R xx
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