Sourcing Books

As promised in an earlier post, here's where I acquire most of my reading material.

Amazon Prime
Amazon keeps a long history of your purchases, so I can go back in my history and see that I've been buying books from them since 1998.  The "Prime" membership is well worth the upfront cost, and gives me very quick access to any title I can think of.
Biggest Benefit:  Always the lowest price on current titles, best reviews by real people.
Favorite Use:  Used books.  With Prime, I can often find "like-new" titles for a few dollars, and get them shipped for free.  I always check their used books before buying new.

Amazon Kindle
I received my Kindle Fire as a gift, and it's been a game changer for me.  I don't seek out titles in that format specifically, but it has opened up the door to books that I might not have read.  Titles by A.W. Tozer, E. Stanley Jones, and other Christian authors are available FREE.  Lots of other authors and genres are available free too; if you enjoy Dickens, Twain, or classic poetry, prepare to be blown away.  Additionally, publishers frequently push Kindle titles for a fraction of the cost of printed copies, to build exposure for the author.
Biggest Benefit:  Cost, and exposure to new authors.  I'll confess to reading some titles just because they were free or a great deal.
Favorite Use:   Reading anywhere.  I can carry dozens of titles on the small device, so I always have something with me that I want to read.

Half-Price Books
I always thought that Half-Price books was small, unorganized, and full of 30-year old books I didn't want.  Not so.  When I finally explored the nearest store, the wife and kids had to drag me out.  They have a wide range of materials, neatly organized, and very contemporary.

Biggest Benefit:  Lots of books for cheap when you just want to browse

Favorite Use:  My three favorite purchases so far are: my NKJV compact leather Bible which I had looked other places for and could never find, great landscaping references, and I buy 1 "antique" hardback Hardy Boys book for Ben to enjoy when he's older on every visit.

The Lighthouse Christian Bookstore
Recently under new ownership, the new management is excited about breathing new life into the local icon.  I honestly am just re-discovering it myself, but each visit is better than the last.  There will always be a benefit to browsing the aisles, flipping through titles, and getting the shop-keeper's input.  For Christmas, I browsed the aisles and took pictures of several titles on my "wouldn't buy it for myself" list, and sent them to Pam, who blessed me with some good books I really wanted for Christmas.

Biggest Benefit:   Very convenient for me, staff is a huge help in finding that book I think maybe I heard of but am not quite sure really if it exists or not.

Favorite Use:  Ideas.  I don't always buy a book, but I always leave with more information to ponder about the topic that sent me in.  If I ever get to the bottom of my reading list, this is where I'll go to refresh it.

Marysville Public Library
A friend told me a couple years ago that he discovered he paid over $80 per year to the local library in real estate taxes.   After the discovery, he made up his mind to get at least $80 of value out of the library every year.  I was intrigued but not sold, until he told me he reserves most of his books online and just picks them up at the counter.  Since then, I've been doing the same thing, and getting my "$80 of value" out of the local library.  Oftentimes when I see books, especially novels, that I'd like to read, I add them to my list on the library website.  When the books is available, they send me an e-mail and I go pick it up. 
Biggest Benefit:   Free.

Favorite Use:  I use the library for two things: novelists I enjoy, and reference material I don't want to own.  For novelists, I reserve new copies of their releases, and when my time comes in the queue, the library sends me an e-mail letting me know to come pickup the book.  The only downside is, sometimes I'll wait months for a novel, and then it will come at a time when I'm too busy to read it.  As to reference, an example is the aquarium we recently purchased for the kids.  I don't want to be an aquarium expert, but I was able to check out a few books on tropical fish and pick up some great pointers that will hopefully help us delay the trauma of explaining floating fish to toddlers.

So where do you get your books from?  I'd love to hear suggestions!

1 comment:

  1. Well John, we seem to be in the same places, but at different times. One difference is I do like to own the books I read. It took me so many years to learn to read and the struggles involved in learning to enjoy it, that they have become trophies almost. I think learning to read and enjoying the world of authors is as important to me as the little league trophy for any 9 year old boy. I gladly share my treasures, but that's what they are, valued treasures. That might be why I have put off going the digital trophy case is getting quite full, I need to purge (maybe I'll start by getting rid of David's books....hehehehehe)