Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Pricey books put consumers off reading

Finding it difficult to leave the bookshop once entered, ending up buying more books than planned and spending too much money on books are some of the slip-ups many bookworms may like to laugh about when discussing with others the adventures of reading. Books never spared me from this either and the Warwick Bookshop is the major culprit in my case. However, buying a pile of books is never the mistake I make as is often depicted in such memes. I end up buying one or two books when I plan to buy none. My last visit to Waterstones entailed liking a lot of books but not buying any because the cost was simply too high.

Although it may sound like my love for books is unsatisfied, I still buy books. Amazon is the place for me to go to purchase books where I particularly look out for Wordsworth Classics – they are often less expensive than from other publishers. Nevertheless, as soon as I go for something other than classics or when Wordsworth Classics copies are not available, my Amazon checkout basket begins to feel very heavy very quickly. I particularly find that it is the contemporary books, rather than the classics, which are expensive.

Owning my books and eventually having my own library is a little dream of mine and I work towards it as I buy every book. This makes buying new books very important to me but it does get harder as my desire to explore different genres grows. Some books are particularly good at dragging me out from my fictitious dreamland to the real world where you must pay a price for leisure – and in the case of non-fiction, the drag feels pretty rough.

Buying books online, however, may not be an option for everyone

As they say in economics, how much you spend on something depends on how much value you place on the object. Books may be expensive but they are very much worth it. Hence, I go for the cheaper option of ordering them online anyway. Just to add as an aside, a goal for the new year is going to be to buy books from shops rather than online because I don’t know the economics or the business arguments behind this but the threat to UK high streets is real and I am worried.

Buying books online, however, may not be an option for everyone. I am very stingy but when it comes to purchasing books or stationary I always have money. You may not. Borrowing from the library in such cases is an option as well if you don’t want to leave behind dozens of books that your children and grandchildren would have to share their domestic space with. Remember that you are not only limited to the five floors of the Warwick Library where you can find pretty much any genre, but also the local libraries which we have in our neighbourhoods.

If cost is the only factor putting the reader off, the expense can be viewed as an opportunity to make better use of our local libraries. The public libraries are built to provide a sense of community engagement, offering a range of books of many different genres and in different languages as well. Where unavailable, books can always be ordered if they are available at another branch and only when not available anywhere would one have to consider purchase.

Book reviews on Goodreads may be a panacea

It is not the price per se, but the doubt over the worth of the book which I think is what dissuades people. When you buy a piece of clothing, you can at least try it on and make sure you like it and it fits nicely. You never really know what you’ll find in a book until you read it. Book reviews on Goodreads may be a panacea.

There have been a few books that I ultimately decided not to read because reviews suggested that the author’s point of view was biased. In this way, if readers do worry that they may not enjoy the book after purchasing it, reading online reviews by others may help solve the problem. Ultimately, you do have to give books a benefit of doubt as otherwise you would end up not reading anything – which really shouldn’t be an option.

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