How Much Do You Spend On Books? 2018 Edition

Annual Book Spend 2018

We’re back with my annual analysis of what I’ve spent on books!

This has become a really popular post, and an annual tradition for me, which is actually very useful in attempting to help me control my spending and prevent my bookcases from overflowing entirely.

First up, some notes: 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 started buying more books in physical bookstores (I ❤ Waterstones), this continued into 2017, and for the first time last year I attempted to track receipts in addition to my online spend (this should be fun…). Interestingly, last year I was MUCH more aware of my in-store purchases because I was tracking them, and I often set books down that I was impulse buying, coming back to them on a later visit if I really wanted them.

The following figures are taken from my online order histories and the receipts I remembered to keep (which are most of them), they 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: 13
  • Total Amount Spent: £48.41
  • Average Price Per Book: £3.70
  • Total RRP: £230.89
  • Total Saving: £182.48

Book People Purchases 2017

The Works

  • Total Books Bought: 1
  • Total Amount Spent: £8.99
  • Average Price Per Book: £8.99
  • Total RRP: £9.99
  • Total Saving: £1.00

Start With Why Book Cover


  • Total Books Bought: 22
  • Total Amount Spent: £107.88
  • Average Price Per Book: £4.90
  • Total RRP: £237.91
  • Total Saving: £130.03

Amazon Book Purchases 2017

In-Store Purchases

  • Total Books Bought: 15
  • Total Amount Spent: £78.37
  • Average Price Per Book: £5.22
  • Total RRP: £138.85
  • Total Saving: £60.48

Waterstones Book Purchases 2017

The Total

  • Total Books Bought: 51
  • Total Amount Spent: £243.65
  • Average Price Per Book: £4.77
  • Total RRP: £617.64
  • Total Saving: £373.99

The Analysis

Let’s break this down.

In 2014, I spent £205 on 110 books. I was snapping up loads of deals and discounted books, without giving much consideration to what I was buying, or why.

In 2015, I spent £224 on 88 books. 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. I was pleased my online purchases were going down, both in volume and value, but last year I didn’t track how much my in-store purchases were going up. 

In 2017 *drum roll please*, I spent £243.65 on 51 books. How do I feel about this? Well, this year I tracked my in-store purchases, which are notoriously more expensive than shopping online. Not including in-store purchases my result for this year would have been £165.28 on 36 books, which follows the trend from the previous three years.

My purchases were much more mindful in 2017, which ironically seems to result in a higher cost for fewer books. The fewer books part is intentional, because for the last four years I’ve managed to accumulate more books than I’ve managed to read in the same time-frame (hence the overflowing bookshelves), but it would be nice if the mindfulness also resulted in a cost-saving. Can’t have it all, eh?

Although I regularly talk about the fact I don’t read eBooks often, I still manage to get sucked in by those Amazon Daily Deals! For the past three years I made a concerted effort to reduce eBook purchases (2014: 35 eBooks for £27.88, 2015: 18 eBooks for £10.83, 2016: 8 eBooks for £3.96), but this year was a bit of a fail…

  • Total eBooks Bought: 18
  • Amount Spent on eBooks: £13.11
  • Average Price Per eBook: £0.72
  • Total RRP: £59.42
  • Total Saving: £46.31

I picked up quite a few eBooks when they were free, which was fine, but I also purchased a few when they were £2 or less, mostly because they were books I’m really interested in reading, but I don’t want to fork out for a paperback when I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it – either because it’s a genre I don’t usually read, or because it’s a new-to-me author. It made sense in theory, now I just need to actually read them!

Overall though, I’d call that a pretty successful year in books!

Let me know in the comments if you’ve 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!

About Rachel

Avid reader & #bookblogger. Lover of all things business. A fan of drinks & dancing. Ever optimistic. Feminist.

8 Responses

  1. I don’t track my book buying because it’s not often that I do. I’ll usually spend $25-55 at my spring and fall book fairs, and about $140-$200 at Texas Teen Book Festival in October (which come from an independent bookstore, BookPeople – Austin). This year Jason Reynolds came to my school in September, so I was able to buy some of his books at teacher discounted prices. I spent about $25 there. In December I purchased a MG trilogy, small paperbacks, and it was like $22. I have gotten better about really considering a book instead of impulse-buying.


  2. Shona

    Heya! Happy New Year!

    So after doing some maths, I spend £3.27 on average per book which I think is rather good! I think a couple of charity buys and a freebie on Waterstones loyalty points helped.

    I also, for the time in a loong time, read MORE books than I bought!! (though, if we include Christmas presents etc then I’m still very wonky – shhh!). I think that’s my strict aim for this year, read more than I gain, for the shelves benefit. I have to make a dent in the pile somehow!

    I struggle with ebooks, I always find that I’ll download ones (especially on a deal!) and then because I’m in a paper avalanche I never get round to the ‘not real’ ones!

    Fabulous post, as always! 🙂 Xx


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