How To Acquire Books Without Becoming Penniless

Every so often, I find an author I really like and I go on a bit of a splurge. Last time it was Georgette Heyer and her detective novels:

georgette heyer
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of my bank account. Groaning.

I really enjoyed reading them, not for the murder mysteries – but rather for the wit and the characters (I even did two Quotable posts on them).

Murder begets murder,’ said Jim. ‘You didn’t murder Clement, Adrian. His murder just put the idea of murdering me into your head.’

Sir Adrian wrinkled his brow. ‘I never take my ideas at second-hand,’ he complained.

– They Found Him Dead.

How To Buy Books Without Becoming Penniless

While Sir Adrian may not take his ideas second-hand, I most certainly buy my books second-hand. Now, there are two options open to me:

  1. Buy a book for one penny off Amazon (plus £2.80 postage and packaging)
  2. Go to a charity shop

The first I would heartily recommend. Though just today a hard cover book came and I opened it to find that it smelt er, powerfully bookish (the sort that makes you take a deep breath at the faintest whiff and then realise that it is actually quite difficult to breath in its general vicinity).

Also a previous owner may or may not have written in another of my purchases (and for the first couple pages written suggestions as to the relationships of the characters – someone’s lover? This person’s cousin? Oh, and also underlined words which perhaps the definitions were unknown. But I’m not being snobbish – I didn’t understand certain words either and the underlined words prompted me to look ’em up).

But these happenings (smellings and underlinings) do not occur often in my experience. Out of the second-hand Heyer’s that I bought, only one was written in. If you don’t mind having a used book on your shelf then go ahead and venture onto Amazon.

(And if a book does come with an overwhelming smell of musk, then there is always the option of putting a peg on one’s nose.)

However, if I am buying a book for someone else, I would buy it brand-new. Other people may not appreciate worn books like me.

Going to a charity shop for books is definitely the cheaper option out of the two. BUT … it is a lot like fishing – you simply haven’t got a clue what you will ‘catch’. (And here’s a tip which you may or may not already know: paperbacks are generally quite a bit cheaper than hardcovers.)

How to Read Books Without Becoming Penniless

No, no – I don’t mean ‘How to Steal Books and Read Them Without Becoming Penniless’. This way is very much sticking to the straight and narrow. There are of course, plenty of ways to read books which are in the public domain for free (Project Gutenberg, for one) but what about the more modern books?

Have no fear! If you don’t want to visit your local library and don’t mind peering at a screen to go on an adventure … then click on these two little words:

Open Library

With a lending library of over 200,000 books, the Open Library is my number one call when I want to read a book but don’t necessarily wish to hand over some dough for it (fine, fine – I won’t use film noir lingo anymore. Punk). All you have to do is sign up – don’tpanicdon’tpanic – for FREE and then – voila, the books are yours to borrow.

Yes, sometimes a book is already taken (by very mean and cruel people other lovely readers) but you can hop on the waiting list and you’ll get an email when it’s free.

And you don’t need to read online – you can download the Abode Reader and read the books offline (with no worries about the loss of internet connection). However, I find this way a little difficult to read as the scrolling system is rather slow, but this may be just my computer and the exception rather than the rule.

Happy Reading!