Thursday, September 4, 2008

The True Cost of a Book

imageThe Wall Street Journal had an interesting discussion in The Juggle section about how people meet their book needs. When dealing with hectic schedules while trying to meet the obligations of work, home, and family the readers related their feelings about the value of public libraries, when and where they buy books, and the relative importance of books in their lives. Below are a few of their comments.
I’ve found that I don’t really save all that much money by cutting out book buying. The problem is that if I don’t have a book to read, I’ll start looking around for other types of entertainment that are usually more expensive. A book costs between 8 and 30 dollars, and generally will keep me entertained for 5 to 15 hours, depending on the length. By contrast, a movie is $12 and only keeps me entertained for two and a
half hours (rentals are a little cheaper, but still not as cost-effective as a book). (emphasis mine)
Books are like baking soda in my house - we always keep a supply on hand.

Yeah, I could choose to rise and go to bed with the sun, hand dip my water from a well, and read only the Bible. I’ve chosen to pay for a few luxuries instead.

So no one here shops at an independent bookstore? Browsing in local bookstores as a child and in college made special memories and we seek out shops when we travel now. Their owners may reccomend something we’ve never heard of and the shops
have a sense of place that B&n or Borders lack.

Our house is also overflowing with books.Yeah, it is in need of culling every once in a while. But it is part of who we are as a family.

Hasn’t anyone read the studies directly linking books in the home and academic success? Both our kids benefited from this “literacy-rich” environment and achieve well above their peers who do not read for pleasure. We love the library and visit regularly, especially for audiobooks. But books at home are a must. And my daughter’s perfect critical reading score on the SAT was a bonus ;-)

What an interesting topis - guilty as charged on books - I spend 100-200 a month on them and rarely do I re-read. I do donate those that aren’t “keepers” but I tend to keep them. The decorate my living room walls. I like having them around. My only rule is that I don’t buy entertainment reads in hardcover.

For people who love buying books, I encourage you to share that love with children. I think buying books for kids is money well spent. My grandmother has frequented the same local bookstore going on 20 years now and always gave her grandchildren several well-chosen (with the help of the store-owner), hardcover books for Christmas. She made them extra special by writing a message inside each book about why she thought we would enjoy it. Many of the books exposed me to ideas and cultures I would have otherwise known nothing about. I now have a large collection of beautiful children’s and young adult books that I cherish and can’t wait to share with my own children some day!

I love libraries but rarely can make it these days due to my schedule. Therefore, though I am frugal in other areas, I buy books without guilt. If there is one thing I’d like my consumer dollars to support, it’s writers! I do wish there was an independent bookstore near me rather than B&N (I work in midtown Manhattan).
Via ABA Omnibus
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