1. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Do you actually budget for reading?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JetBlackGT, Jul 11, 2013.

    This is a writing site.

    But I believe our writing is affected by what we read. Or perhaps we read what we want to write, without realizing it. The words I write almost seem to have gone through a kind of filter made up of every book I have read.

    Do you spend enough money on books every month that it is a budget line item or do you buy books with what is left over? :)

    Do you find yourself gravitating to a single section or two of the bookstore and you sort of skip the others? What are your 'sections'?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I ebook, so the cost is a little less than books of the dead Ent variety. I don't budget for them, but I have a super simple life, so though interpreting is not a road to riches, there's money enough for any book I might ever want.

    I shop Linguistics/Language, Science Fiction, LGBT.
     
  3. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I have very specific pattern that I follow when I go to a book store first I go to the magazine area and look at the various military and firearms magazines, I sometimes find inspiration in them. I also go to the history section of the bookstore if I have a specific history book I want to buy. If I don't have a specific one I am buying I just look at the various history books and if I find one I like I will buy it. my budget is 20 dollars all the way up 100 dollars.
     
  4. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I used to try to keep it below $100 a month. Not counting "special purchases" like a first edition or when I got a copy of "The Grey Goose Wing" which has since gone up a bit ;-)
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    No, I don't have a particular budgeted amount, nor do I have a target number of books to read. I am always reading something, but the intensity varies inversely with that of my writing activity.
     
  6. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    No budget, just a large 'to read' pile that steadily changes in composition.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    neither... i don't consider it a budget item or wait to see what's 'left over'... i just buy books [mostly used ones, from thriftbooks, the supermarket, or the library] whenever i see some i like, or want ones from favorite authors that i haven't read yet...

    i don't go to 'bookstores' but do stick to fiction and skip romance and fantasy...
     
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    No actual budget. I spend way too much on books. I buy them when I just feel like I really want to read them, or I see them for a very good price. I buy them on amazon, mostly. Often I buy them at my local bookstore, especially the books for my book club, which is run by them. I buy them at Costco, when I see they have a book I've been wanting at a good price, and I feel like I can "sneak" it into the cart with all the other crap I'm buying.

    My first stop is almost always the New Releases. Then I go through history, biography, current events, fiction, science, nature, sociological/psychological, writing, children's. Just about everywhere except sci fi/fantasy and romance.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I have no discipline. I tend to buy on impulse - "Hey! That looks interesting!" Almost all my books come from Amazon - I don't have a local bookstore (I live in the west end of the San Fernando Valley, where nobody reads anything).

    I browse fiction, some how-to-write stuff, some adventure history (exploring the Poles and other dangerous places, mostly), science, literary biography, etc.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, to have a genuine "local bookstore". Living across from a university, you would think this wouldn't be a problem. And there is a B&N on the opposite side of the campus - my son worked there for a few years after it opened. But over time, the pickings there are slimmer and slimmer. I go in and buy stuff there once in a while just to support it, but it becomes a little more painful each time I go.

    Early in my career, I worked for a life insurance company located on the edge of Union Square in Manhattan. This was pre-gentrification, before the Zeckendorf towers were built, and Union Square Park was like a war zone. But even then it hosted a mobile unit of the famous Strand bookstore, which was a pleasure to peruse once you got used to the junkies nodding on the nearby benches. When the city cleaned out and refurbished the park (which it did as part of the Zeckendorf project), I took to walking a little further down Broadway on my lunch hours, to 12th Street, where the actual Strand bookstore was located.

    This was Nirvana. Once I went inside, there was no way lunch hour was completed in less than two and half hours. One just lost all track of time. I found numerous books, hardcover, in good-to-excellent condition, years (sometimes decades) out of print, at reasonable prices. Sadly, my career took me further and further uptown and I haven't been there in years. Must stop in one of these days (when I have several hours to burn).
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm fortunate enough to be able to afford any books I want to buy, these days. (Not so great finding places to keep them!) But back in the days when I was on a very tight budget, I didn't buy books. I used the library instead. I was a regular, and used to stagger home with as many as I could carry. Mind you, we were lucky enough to have excellent libraries in the two Michigan towns where I used to live. I hate to see their budgets getting cut.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I buy books with whatever I have left over. I get a lot of my books at the local bookstore, which has great prices. I also use the library a lot, so that saves me quite a bit of money.

    Usually general fiction and philosophy.
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was just at the Strand -- very nice, indeed. Unfortunately I was with my husband, who doesn't share my love of books, so I wasn't able to browse.

    Yes, we are very lucky -- independent bookstores are starting to make somewhat of a comeback. It's been interesting to see how B&N has been positioned here -- originally they were the 'big bad big box store' that was putting the little guy out of business. But now, they're in the position of the 'little guy' who is being crushed by amazon and other online venues. The small, independent bookstores are benefitting from this push-back movement to save local businesses, and in this squeeze, B&N is simultaneously both and neither, and it's situation is untenable.

    Our local bookstore is actually thriving. They moved a couple years ago from a dying strip mall to a space twice as big in a new 'town center' themed shopping center, and they are doing very well. In some respects, I'm amazed at how well they do -- I'm amazed at how willing people are to wait for a book that needs to be ordered -- usually about a week or so, when they could go to amazon, and get the book in two or three days, delivered right to their doorstep, and usually at a lower price. I'm also amazed that people are willing to pay full price, especially for new release hardcovers -- I just can't do it. Much as I love my local bookstore, I can't pay $28 for a book if I can get it for $13 at amazon. Aside from that, though, I do buy as much as I can from them -- for most paperbacks, for example, it costs $1 or $2 more to buy from the local bookstore, so I am willing to do so.

    I try to follow a policy of buying from whoever informed me of the book. If I find it while browsing the bookstore, or a bookstore employee recommends it, or it's for the book club, I buy it from the store. But if I find it either from amazon, via an email or a feature on their page, or if I'm online and stumble upon information about a book and then search for it on amazon, I feel okay buying it from them. I know amazon is evil, but I can't help but love them -- they gave me $5 for my birthday last month. Guess how long it took me to spend that? ;-)
     
  14. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I don't think of Amazon as evil. I hope I eventually sell lots of books through them. I don't actually think of it as being Amazon's fault that people have to a large degree stopped preferring the things than brick-and-mortar bookstores can provide and that Amazon cannot. I hope you're right about a comeback of the independent bookstore. For that matter, I'd love to see B&N bounce back (for several years, Steve Riggio served on the board of directors of a not-for-profit with me - a truly good guy).
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't want to see B&N go under, either. I'm still sad about the Borders loss. I love bookstores, and I remember when we got our first Borders and B&Ns and how wonderful they were because they had such a huge selection. As far as amazon, it's not that I think they're evil because they provide a nice service -- it's that I've read a lot about how they keep some prices low (some truly terrible conditions for workers) and about how they use their market power in dealing with many producers and sellers, including some publishers. It's hard for me to read those, because my love affair with amazon began long ago -- back in the days of yore - 1997. I, too, fantasize about selling vast numbers of books from amazon. So, it's an issue I wrestle with.

    Much as I love the convenience of amazon, the bricks and mortar bookstores provide something that amazon never can -- the wonder of picking up a book and browsing through the shelves. I always find something that I didn't know about before and would not have found just looking around online. I wouldn't have known to search and the parameters they use for recommending other books will never, no matter how refined they get, catch everything that might interest me. And going into a store and talking about books with the employees who love them as much as I do is irreproducible. Sometimes I like just wandering around looking at the covers. I've had discussions about what makes an interesting cover. I do hope that more bookstores can thrive. It seems to be key for them to make a huge effort to really make themselves part of the community.
     
  16. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Absolutely.

    Didn't know that about Amazon. Sort of the Walmart of books. Ugh.
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes. I've given up Walmart and haven't missed it a bit. I can't do it, though, with amazon.
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I'm pretty much the same as this, and I have a few good nearby bookshops that I like to browse, and sometimes I find real gems. Generally though I don't budget my book purchases, and I guess I'm lucky in the fact that I've never had to do that. But, if I did have to, I would know how to as I often like to check out the used shops and charity shops to see if they have good books on the cheap, and a lot of the time they will surprisingly.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I really miss living in Victoria, BC. There were lots of great bookstores there, including some excellent second-hand bookstores. And everything was within walking distance of my apartment. Heaven for a book-lover!
     
  20. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    Books 'don't count' towards my financial budget, in the same way that a really good pizza 'doesn't count' towards my calorie budget :)I kind of wish I could quit Amazon, but the site is too much fun to browse and I've ended up finding books on there (often through reading reviews of other books) that I'd never have found otherwise. I've recently started enjoying paperbacks again, rather than ebooks, but even then I look things up on Amazon before heading into a bookshop. I'm not sure I ever had the knack for browsing a brick & mortar bookstore, pre-Internet I bought quite a few duds which never really happens now.
     
  21. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I actually ran out of space for books, and that's after I weeded through and kept ony the best ones. So these days, I tend to buy e-book first, and then, if I adore it, I'll buy a hard copy too. Friendlier to the trees as well. No budget, my iPad is still full of unread or half-read ones, but every couple of months I raid Amazon for more.
     
  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I must admit, more and more I find myself going to Amazon to look for good hardbacks, and more expensive books than I used to. And I'm always looking for books that are 'upgrades'. I'm not sure if this is an evolution as a reader? Buyer? But it is something I am finding myself doing more and more.
     
  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't want to know how much I spend on books. I ran out of space as well.

    I do think places like Amazon can help you find books you will never otherwise find, however. I frequent independent books stores, and I love talking to employees there and just browsing the shelves for hidden gems. But lets face it, their shelf space is limited. There are a lot of books you'll never see or hear about just wandering through bookstores, that you can find out about on a site like Amazon. But you will also browse through a lot more that doesn't interest you first.
     
  24. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I don't have a book budget. I just have this is how much free money I have and I have to make it last for x amount of time. :p I get nearly all of my books from Half Price Books. If I can't find it there then I will cave and buy it new. Otherwise I buy nearly everything from there. I got a lot from going to book fairs but after a very bad falling out with a friend who goes to every single one in the area I've since stopped going to those. :(
     
  25. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    I don't budget for books. Usually if it's Warhammer related or I just like the look of it then I buy it if I can afford it. I use Amazon quite a lot, especially for the free books or less known authors who are self published. I usually go for Sci-Fi or Fantasy but I do like a good history book. Usually if it is about Norse or Roman culture I'll buy it or if it's about World War two.
     

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