This week in the Houston area is one of Half Price Books’ coupon weeks. What is coupon week? Shoppers receive a coupon for each day of the week to use in-store. The week started with 20% off one item and has now risen up to 40% off an item. Tomorrow will be 50% off an item.
I write about this just about every time it happens because there is no better deal to be had. Why spend outrageous amounts of money to buy books if you don’t have to? Now go get something before the coupons are all gone!
Also, I can’t guarantee that it’s coupon week in other parts of the country.
Books are relatively inexpensive in the West. There are some exceptions, but this mostly remains true. Books are not as easily accessible in other parts of the world. For example, in Uganda books are incredibly difficult to come by. The cost is astronomical in a country with very low wages. Books there can cost a week’s salary, or more.
Which is why I’m saying don’t throw out those old books you no longer want. There are likely people in your area who simply can’t afford to buy their own. My top suggestion would be to take them to a company or organization that will do their best to reuse or recycle them.
But this applies to most things. Food. Clothing. Old electronics. So many things end up in landfills that could have been reused or recycled but simply aren’t. And I know some would say that books aren’t THAT important to go out of your way to preserve, but let me ask you something. Did you grow up with books in the house? Imagine if you hadn’t.
There are a lot of books adapted into films each year. Most are hardly worth taking note of, but others stand the test of time. Some remain popular long after their theatrical run ends. And others are immensely popular before and after movie adaptatations. But only a few books keep selling well in the used books environment.
You would not believe how many of these books we get in at my store. It’s ridiculous.
The Hunger Games.
There’s a difference between the two series. THG sell, but we get SO many of them.
Marley & Me.
I actually had no idea it was a book before I started working at Half Price Books. It’s one we see A LOT of. It isn’t exactly flying off the shelves.
The Fault in Our Stars.
Similar to THG, these sell okay. But it’s definitely a book we see plenty of.
So that’s my little list of popular books that became popular movies that don’t sell particularly well in a used bookstore environment. At least not in the environment I work in each day. Of course, there are opposites. Books that sell VERY well. It’s all a guessing game. Maybe I’ll have a post about those books in a couple of days.
At the end of the day it shouldn’t matter. I’ve always said I don’t buy used books, and I’m not sure that’ll ever completely change. But working in a used bookstore has changed my position just a bit.
There are PLENTY of books in very good condition throughout the store. This fact has already done something for me. It’s pushed me to start reading new authors I haven’t read before. Four, to be exact. John Sandford. Stuart Woods. Robert Ludlum. Tom Clancy. Why these four? Because I’ve always known them, but never have I really looked into reading any of them. And I imagine I’ll be introduced to a number of new authors during my time at Half Price Books.
The point is that used books are slowly going to make their way onto my shelves here at home, something that had not been happening hardly at all until 2015.
Do you prefer new books over used? Or maybe vice-versa?
On this day in 2014 I published The Perks of Being a Writer.
Late last night (perhaps it was early this morning?) I found out about something I’d not previously been aware of. And it could save you money! You know that really depressing moment you realize you no longer have enough room for your books? Or perhaps that exhaustive feeling after stopping a book before you finish because the story never really grasped you? You know you do. And in both cases you make the decision to give away some books. Maybe to your local library or the Goodwill or a non-profit. But before you do that you may want to keep reading.
Perhaps Paperback Swap is a better alternative. Some initial conditions must be met before you can actually start swapping books with other members, but here’s how it works once the conditions are met. You have a book you’re looking to get rid of. You post it on the site. Someone says they want it. You ship to directly to them. Easy. And as soon as someone gets your book you’re able to get one from someone else. The shipper will always pay for shipping.
And members can also purchase new books at discounted prices from the site.
The obvious downside I’m seeing here is quality. Sure I’ve bought a few used books in recent weeks, but I HATE when people don’t take care of their books before, during, or after reading. And I’m not sure if there’s any way of knowing the condition of the books posted. And if the site is international, then you could potentially see some high shipping costs to ship a single book.
BUT I still think it’s an interesting concept, though I’ll never be using it because I’ve stated a million times that I don’t get rid of books. But I know a number of you do. Do you think you’ll be interested in swapping books any time soon?
You can visit the website here.
I’m pretty certain that y’all know by now that I track EVERYTHING when it comes to my reading. I track how many books I read. I track which series I’m reading. I track the amount time I spend reading each year. I track the number of pages I read. I track which books I’ve read from the Amazon list. I have a master list of every print book I own. And I have an Excel spreadsheet that tells me every author I own books by and how many. See, I know everything. But up until last week I never actively tracked the number of books I was buying.
Amazon keeps track of every order I’ve ever made, but this year not every book has been purchased from the online giant. But I was able to put together a list that includes every book I’ve purchased in 2015. I know the total number of books. I know the retailer. And I know the price of each. And I know if they’re new or used at the time of purchase. All good information to have when December comes around and I’m analyzing data for my yearly recap, right?
Here’s what I found. I’ve bought 15 books this year. And I’ve read seven. I’d like for that number to even out a bit more before the year ends. And I’m sure it will. So tell me, do you know how many books you’ve bought this year? Or how much you’ve spent on books in the first seven months of 2015?
I told you guys yesterday about how impressed I was during my first experience at Half Price Books, and I promised to show y’all which books I came away with. It looks like I make good on my promises. Sometimes. Ha. Anyway, I’m just going to show you the books now. Normally when I glance over book haul posts I see long lists of covers and descriptions of the books included. I’m not going to do that because those are almost always ultra popular YA titles that everyone knows about. I’m pretty sure you’ve never even heard of half my books, so no point in me acting like everyone will know them. To the books!
I know you can see the titles just fine, but I’ll tell you the book titles anyway.
Mary Mary (Alex Cross #11) by James Patterson
The Strain (The Strain #1) by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
LA Requiem (Elvis Cole #8) by Robert Crais
Fahrenheit 451 by Rad Bradbury
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have two interesting points about these books before I leave you alone for the rest of the day. First, I’ll be making videos for three of these titles. And second, three of the books are actually new! I bet you can’t even tell which ones aren’t. Remember what I said about the books available at Half Price Books?
Have you read any of these books? Tell me about the books you’ve added to your collection recently.
On this day in 2014 I published Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing.
Four times a week I drive right by my local Half Price Books store. I do it twice. And my thinking has always been that I don’t have any reason to go into Barnes and Noble, so I likely don’t need to be going into Half Price Books. Oh, how wrong I was.
I signed up for their mailing list a long time ago and maybe two or three times a year they’ll send out coupons for specific days ranging from 30 percent off an item to 50 percent off. I’d never used the coupons before because I’m stubborn. This weekend I decided I might as well use one and see what it’s like in the store. It was heaven! First, there were way more people shopping than I expected on a late Sunday afternoon. And second, it made me want to buy ALL THE BOOKS. I don’t know what the exact percentages are, but I’d say that maybe 90 percent of all the books they sell are used. I’m pretty sure that I’ve mentioned dozens of times that I don’t care much for used books. But you get to pick from thousands of hardcovers at less (usually) than half the price the publishers set for them. Which means paperbacks are typically in the $3-$5 range. AND I found many books to be in exceptional condition.
But there’s more if I still haven’t convinced you. They obviously need to get those used books from somewhere, right? Well they’ll buy yours! I’m not someone who would ever sell my books to them because I have no desire to get rid of any of them, but I know people are always trying to figure out what to do with all the books they don’t need. I say take them to Half Price Books and be sure that someone else will enjoy them at some point in the future.
You can find your local location here.
I’ll show you my first haul from Half Price Books tomorrow.
Have you ever sold your books to or bought from Half Price Books?
On this day in 2014 I published Book Club, Anyone?.
Yes, this is a real thing.
In Colorado over the last couple of months a strange thing has been happening. Someone has been dumping books along the side of the highway. And not just one book here and one book there, the person has dumped more than 600 of them. That can become quite the inconvenience for everyone involved, mostly drivers.
But the case has been solved. On Thursday a state trooper witnessed the Literary Litterbug in action and threw the book at him for his crimes (like my pun?). He was charged with six counts of littering and released. The book bandit acquired thousands of books when an area used bookstore went out of business a few years ago. He was able to sell them online but ultimately couldn’t compete with larger, more refined book-selling operations. So instead of donating or just hanging on to the books he decided to start dumping them on his way to work.
The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t be dumping your books on the side of the highway. Send them to me and I’ll take care of them.
On this day in 2014 I published And the Most Banned Book of 2013 is….
I’ve heard and read about library sales quite a bit. But I’ve never been to one. I’ve never even heard of one happening around here…until now. There’s one happening at one of the libraries in my system right as this post is being published. It’s from 9:00AM – 2:00PM today and the article I read said that books are at “bargain” prices. I’m intrigued.
I definitely want to go. But I have work during the exact hours of the sale, plus an hour. How unfortunate. I’m curious to see how these things play out. The closest thing I’ve ever been to (I think) would have been when my neighborhood Borders closed a few years ago. They were having a “blowout” sale during the final weeks of the store’s existence. But if I’m being honest, I don’t think 30% off is that significant. That’s basically Amazon every single day. I think I bought three books that day. Or five. But I was unsatisfied because their selection was already about half of what the Barnes and Noble over here carries, and the shelves were entirely unorganized because of the sale. It was the only time I’d ever seen people in line at the store. Is that what happens at library sales? Books all over the place? And people all up in your personal space? Maybe I’m not missing out on much.
BUT I’m thinking of sending someone to the sale in my place. Maybe I can just give them a list of authors and say go find these? Ha. I sound like a horrible, bossy person. But I’m always looking for new books. Especially cheap ones. Have you ever been to a library sale? What was it like?
OH MY GOODNESS! I just went to the branch website and they have typewriters for public use!
PS: I just found a website that tells you when library sales are happening all over the country. You can search by state and find when your local library is having a sale. It’s called Book Sale Finder.