Thursday, January 10, 2008

"But books are for nerds..."

But not really...



Since early childhood, I've been a voracious reader. I'm a nerd in the classical sense - I was that kid on the playground in 2nd grade reading treasure island while everyone else was playing kickball... by 4th grade I had graduated to Toni Morrison and George Orwell. Sickening, I know.

Whatever the case may be, reading books is now my occupation and I really can't be mad at that. For every "non-pleasure" book I read, I try to read one of my own choosing. Unsurprisingly, my personal library is massive (and right now completely contained to storage...womp womp)...

Recently, I've noticed an increase in the amount of "big readers"... and by "big readers," I mean people that read constantly... whether it be "52 books in 52 weeks" or something as simple as sporadic interest in the New York Times Book Review...

But along with this increased desire to read comes an overwhelmingly loud complaint: "It's too expensive to read everything I want to read!" My first instinct would be to tell you to take yourself to the library and "rent" a book! However, my second (kinder... gentler) instinct would tell you that there are many alternatives to starting/expanding your personal library!

I've always been aware of the "expensiveness" surrounding books (especially new ones) but I ignored it given my interest. However, when my generals exams forced me to ponder the purchase of approximately 600 books...at...the...same...time... I was forced to come up with a solution that wouldn't hurt my pockets, but would allow me to expand my database.

My solution (and the secret that 90% of graduate students in the humanities and social sciences share)?




Alibris (www.alibris.com) - a website that allows the buyer to purchase books at a fraction of the price... while maintaining quality. I've purchased books for as low as 35 cents...! Even better, for every purchase, Alibris will apply a discount for your future purchases. Yes, many of the books are second-hand, but second-hand doesn't necessarily mean second-rate. Merchants describe the condition and usability of the book, so that you can determine how much you are/aren't willing to pay. Amazon offers a similar service (which I encourage you to check out) but on the average, Alibris' books are better quality, lower prices, and arrive faster.

So next time you go to buy that $50 biography on [insert presidential hopeful here]... check out Alibris first. You might find something special... and satisfyingly affordable!

11 comments:

G.D. said...

thank you for this. my book and magazine habits are easily the most expensive entertainment expenses i have.

The Bougie Baller said...

You're welcome! It really has saved me an insane amount of money over the years. My first instinct is always to check Alibris, then Amazon, then a few other sites to see if I can get a book/magazine/etc. for a lower price.

princessA said...

I didn't know about this! Thanks for the heads up chica!

Mahogany_Butterfly said...

Thanks for this, I'm starting my research for my M.A. thesis and this just helped me so much.

Tomiko said...

other than alibris, abebooks.com is also pretty good, so is ebay of course! i used to sell like crazy on half.com too, i got rid of all my trashy sweet valleys that way. also, amazon.com's $75 prime membership thing is a REALLY good idea for your first 2-3 years of grad school

e said...

oh yay! good lookin out cuz. :) books are great.

e.

I AM GVG said...

The Dollar racks outside of Strands bookstore in NYC are one of the greatest treasures hunts this city has to offer. It doesn't happen often, but you might even find a crazy first edition that slipped through the hands of the clerks who took it in. As in my case with a better than decent condition first edition of Alex Haley’s “Roots”. I live for fingering through those stacks and coming across something I wanted or just thought for a dollar might as well check out. Does it make me a nerd that I just got that excited by the mere thought of shopping for books? Yea, I’m a nerd and what? Still the flyest dude in the room.

P.S. The library isn't a bad option if you don't want to commit the money to a title you're not too sure about.

P.P.S. Welcome to our wonderful world of bloggers Leah. "Bougie Ballin' on a Budget" - Think someone's been reading my journal.

JT3 said...

Alibris is a good site. To really get the savings though, I use bookfinder.com. It does a meta-search of all popular booksites (amazon, alibris, a1books, half.com) and shows you the results. The only catch is for books with multiple editions, it's best to use the ISBN number so you can be sure to get the right book (otherwise you might end up paying $3 for a 1st edition when you really needed the 5th).

The Bougie Baller said...

Thanks John - that's a wonderful site... and great for the pockets!

BeeK said...

Also check out bigwords.com; it's another great comparison site that allows you to see prices at many sites plus if you're buying a bunch of books it will compute the cheapest price at 1 store. Enjoy!

Janaka said...

do I wish I had known this for the last few years? absolutely. thanks for the headsup.