So, although the really frugal thing to do is go to the library, sometimes I want to actually own a book. (Then I can drop it in the bath or scribble on it with a clean conscience).
- second hand (good for classics, foreign language grammars and dictionaries);
- wait for sales at bookshops;
- buy online.
I am reluctant to buy online, because you miss the opportunity to stumble on goodies, and I prefer to wander around Unity, or Parsons, or Dymocks, or even Borders. But sometimes you need something they don’t carry, or the discount is too substantial to ignore.
This is particularly true for technical books.
Usually I just check Fishpond or Amazon, but delivery charges are a killer, so I try and pool with a friend, or arrange for travelling friends to bring orders back from a US address.
A few weeks ago I discovered the Book Depository, which has some very good prices. It also has free delivery!
The Book Depository also has given me an ethical dilemma. I ordered a book. They reversed the charges, and I assumed it was out of stock. But then the book arrived anyway! Owing to exchange rate movements, I actually made a couple of bucks too. I have written to them, telling them of the problem, and asking them to charge me again, but haven’t heard back. In the meanwhile, I’m keeping the book…
I wouldn’t count on any freebies, but I have a couple of colleagues who order from the Book Depository regularly and rate them.
Where do you get your books?