You guys, being a dedicated bookworm these days is hella rough on the finances! And being a book blogger, who needs to keep up to date with the latest reads, certainly doesn’t make things easier. It also doesn’t help that each time I scan my news feed on any social media platform, I am bombarded with all the latest books released, making me want to sell my kidney just so that I can keep up! These are tough times, my friend… But before you trade your last pennies for a hardback copy of The Rose & The Dagger, forcing you to live off love and fresh air for the rest of the month, take these online book buying tips into consideration:
1. KNOW WHERE TO SHOP
I LOVE online shopping! It is convenient, it saves time (and petrol money) and it also gives me free reign to scout for the best deals out there all in the comfort of my own home. Not to mention that awesome feeling of having a parcel delivered right to your door step – I imagine this is what Christmas morning feels like. Online shopping in South Africa is really taking off now that people are more comfortable with internet transactions, but there are still some bookworms who prefer to wonder the stores instead of just ‘adding to cart’. To those bookish folk I say this: you just need to know WHERE to shop. My two favourite online bookstores at the moment are Reader’s Warehouse and Raru. Their service is impeccable and between the two I always find great bargains that make me oh-so-happy. Another online shop that I really have no complaints about is Loot, but I only made one or two purchases from their store compared to the monthly buys between Reader’s Warehouse and Raru. I’ve had some crappy experiences with other bookstores (not mentioning names) so I completely understand why people are still a bit hesitant to try online book buying; but I’ve had no hassles with any of the ones I mentioned here.
2. COMPARE PRICES
The awesome thing with online shopping is that you can quickly compare book prices to find the best deal without having to set foot outside your home. Trust me, running from Exclusive Books to Bargain Books and back again in Canal Walk is just no fun, even if you enjoy book hunting as much as I do. If there’s a particular book you want to buy, all you need to do is go onto the website and compare the prices of the books. Sometimes one store may have a slightly older edition that they want to get rid of or if you’re lucky, that very book you’re looking for may be on sale. My point is, don’t just buy a book from the first website you browse; take a few minutes and check out other online stores to find the best price.
3. ADD TO YOUR WISHLIST
A very frustrating thing about being a bookworm in South Africa, is that it takes (what feels like) forever for a book to arrive on our shelves. This is where online shopping comes in on top. Online stores import books that are not yet available in local bookstores, and they also offer great deals when a customer pre-orders books that will only be released months down the line. Enter, The Wishlist! When you add books to your wishlist, the company will send you a notification as soon as a book becomes available for purchase. It also notifies the customer when any of the books on the list drops in price, giving the perfect opportunity to jump on bargain book buys. This is great because then you don’t have to keep searching for books you want that may or may not be on sale.
4. BUY BOOKS ON SALE
The few times that local bookstores throw sales worth my while I either cannot find something I really want, or all the great buys fly off the shelves before I even set foot in the store. With online shopping you don’t have that problem. When I see a book on my wishlist has dropped to a good price I grab it! You just have to be patient and keep a lookout for the email notifications.
5. FREE DELIVERY
It goes without saying that online shopping comes with delivery costs, and it is a small price to pay for the convenience of having books dropped off at your door step. But the online bookstores I mentioned earlier offer free delivery services when you buy books to the value of R250 or more. I always take advantage of this by adding a cheaper book to my shopping cart so that I get an extra book out of a deal that I would otherwise spend money on delivery costs. Say what you want, but I will always look for a reason to add another book to my collection, and this seems like a pretty good reason to me!
6. SECOND HAND BOOKSTORES
For those who are still not happy with online shopping, browsing through used bookstores is a wonderful way to find some treasures at discount prices. My favourite second hand bookstore is definitely Bikini Beach Bookstore in Gordan’s Bay. They are open 7 days a week until 8 o’clock each night, or until the last customer leaves. I also love that they buy books from customers, something I think most second hand stores do, so you can drop off some unwanted books and then spend that money on more books from their store (or simply walk out and go shopping somewhere else, but I highly doubt that you’ll want to do that). Just take a bucket of cash along with you (they don’t have card facilities in the store) and a bag big enough to carry your pickings.
I hope you find these tips helpful, and that it will make book buying a little less expensive for you.