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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Monday, September 09, 2019

The Boujee Book Tag

Time for another booktag prompted by one of my favourite booktuber – Olive over @ Abookolive on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6wKgH6YIKKfNX9-EN0dxIA) who has a wide range of interests that nearly always throw up something I then at least investigate. Check her out!
But on to the Meme itself – On Spending Habits, Quality and Value when it comes to books:

What is your average monthly budget for books?

Back when I was younger and depended on pocket money or some other low value ‘income’ I did have to think about budgeting my book buying. These days – after being in full-time employment for around 30 years – I have enough disposable income that budget really doesn’t come into it. Factors such as wants and shelf space are much more important.

What’s the most you’ve ever spent in a bookstore?

Years ago, when I was still with Carol, we stumbled upon a bookshop in Yorkshire that was something really special. Between us we probably walked out with in excess of 60 books. Most of them where mine but still – at their prices – that didn’t come to very much. Maybe I spent £70-80 on that day. Dropping £50 on a planned book shopping trip isn’t particularly unusual. It depends on how lucky I get or who wide-ranging my tastes are on any particular day. If I had the transportation, the time and was in the mood I wouldn’t be surprised that I could break the £100 barrier.

Are you willing to pay full price for a brand-new release or wait until there’s a sale?

Most of my books are bought either from Amazon resellers or from my local supermarket so are below List Price. My occasional trips into ‘town’ revolve around a bookshop that is HEAVILY discounted. My favourite franchise bookstore has a 3 for 2 section that I haunt but, from time to time I do buy new – paperbacks that is! Usually they’re something I know is coming and go out especially to purchase. Buying a new book in hardback is VERY rare. Mostly because of the price difference and partially because it can take a while to get around to reading any new purchase. For instance the book I’m reading presently I bought from Amazon 3 years ago…

Would you rather buy one new book or several less expense used copies?

I buy used copies from Amazon resellers all the time. The vast majority of them have been in more than reasonable condition and I’ve had no complaints so far. The prices on some of them – even the no longer in print editions – and ridiculously low. Sometimes you practically just pay postage plus a nominal price. So – definitely the less expensive copies (most of the time) unless I can find a cheap new book. That’s just my snobbish side kicking in.

What do you think is a reasonable price for a hardback, a paperback or an e-book?

Well, as I don’t normally buy hardbacks I can’t really comment. I have seen them priced at £25 which is frankly ridiculous. I honestly wouldn’t give a £20 book a second glance even if I wanted it. I’ve picked up a few half-price hardbacks (around £10) which I thing is reasonable especially for the chunky ones. Paperback novels I often pick up in my local supermarket for £3.99 as long as they’re in the Top 40. I’ll probably pay up to twice that in my franchise shop without too much anguish. Paperback non-fiction I’ll go to £10 in the muses takes me. More than that it’ll have to be something very special. Again I’m not an e-books buyer but one thing that really puts me off is the price. E-books are, as far as I’m concerned a HUGE rip off. They should be at least half the price of a hardcopy paperback on day one...!

Is a signed book worth more to you? How about a 1st Edition?

Oddly the last reseller book I received from Amazon was a signed copy. I had no idea. It was a nice surprise but, although it might (possibly) increase any resale value, I’m not going to value it myself any higher than an unsigned copy. I certainly don’t go out of my way to acquire signed copies and I wouldn’t buy a mass signed copy off the shelf if it cost more (probably). About the only signed copy of a book I value more highly is one signed by the author Bernard Cornwell for me on my 40th birthday when I heard he was going to be in a nearby city. I spoke to the author (briefly) and he made a very nice dedication in the book – to me. It was very cool as he’s one of my all-time favourite authors. First editions are nice – especially of classics – but although I would value them more highly I wouldn’t spend a huge amount of money to acquire one – although I can see the appeal.     

What is your most valuable book?

Honestly I have no idea. It’s possible that some of my old SF novels might be worth some money but most of the ones I own probably wouldn’t raise more than their original retail price. Although I have a LOT of books I doubt very much if any individual one is worth very much at all. Sentimentally I like books and I like the own books – forever if possible. But I don’t think that I’m sentimentally attached (overly) to any of them. But then, thinking about it….. I have a copy of Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen published just after WW2 under the existing paper rationing laws that is essentially printed on what feels like rice paper. It’s a delightful pocket sized thing in a bright red hard backed cover that must have gone through lots of hands before it got to me. That I value for a whole host of non-rational reasons. 

Would you pay more for a different cover or a specific edition of a book that you like better?

Easy! No. Although I am a fan of cover art (check out my Blog to confirm that one!) I’m not going to pay extra for it (or take time hunting down a particular edition) because of it.

What physical characteristics does a good quality book have?

I’d have to agree with Olive on this one and, essentially, say heft. Generally if a book looks flimsy then it’s probably low quality whereas a book that feels heavier than it looks will (generally) be of higher quality. I’ve had some books on cheap paper that just feel tacky. Other books I’ve had were printed on high quality paper and they just felt delicious just to turn the pages as you worked your way through – almost like holding a work of art in your hands.

If you won the Lottery what bookish things would you be spending on?

A library. Definitely a library. I’d need a bigger house and have at least part of it converted to a library or have an annexe built to put all of my books on shelves in some kind of order. I could spend months cataloguing them and making sure that any time I wanted a specific book I could know exactly where it was and put my hands on it in moments. I DREAM of having a library in my house…..


Brian Joseph said...

Fascinating questions and responses. I will just add that something I now consider when choosing book editions is font size. I find that it is more difficult reading smaller fonts. This did not used to be the case.

mudpuddle said...

i like duo decimos. i have a small collection of Dents: they're well built, handy, with hard covers... i blew about $120 at Roberts in Lincoln City once and, actually, didn't regret it even though i couldn't really afford it. but i'll read any format if it's a book i'm interested in... i've down-loaded a lot from Gutenberg... by the by, the only ereader i've found that is worth a damn is an Ectaco mini Jet... they're about $100 and use batteries, but they are indestructible and very easy to use, barring limited formats: they don't like pdf but neither do i...

Judy Krueger said...

I am inconsistent on these questions of book buying. I try to avoid Amazon because I do not like their business practices but I do buy from used booksellers on line. If I just have to have a new hardback I buy it and since I am spending the money anyway I get it at an indie bookstore where I used to work, where they still give me the employee discount. My largest amount of books come from libraries. I love your idea of building a private library!

CyberKitten said...

@ Brian: I have trouble reading in low light these days but have a powerful halogen light that helps a LOT in the evenings.

@ Mudpuddle: I tried reading on my new work phone (The Importance of Being Ernest) which seemed OK. Not sure if I could read a whole book that way though!

@ Judy: I buy books through Amazon rather than from Amazon for a few reasons. It's a handy way to buy though. I try very much to spend money regularly in a quirky book store in 'town' that always has things of interest. If only I could build my own library. I'd be SO happy!