There’s no denying it – book blogging can be expensive! In the interest of transparency Hippies, Beauty and Books… Oh My! recently revealed the yearly cost of running their blog– a whopping $2,300+ in expenses!! However, many of us young adults and young adults, and/or we just don’t have a large disposable income to spend on books, blogging, etc.
In addition, Megan at Book Brats wrote a fantastic post last week, Book Blogging for Broke Brats, and when I went to write my reply, well, it transformed itself into 1.5 pages of ideas and comments. So, with Megan’s permission, I am posting this as a response to her original discussion – if you haven’t read it, please do so!
Now, the answers you’ve all been looking for:
How do I save money on books and blogging?!
I don't think many people use libraries to their full extent – they offer more than just free traditional books, as more and more are offering online eBook and audiobook download services as well! I know that my library is purchasing the newer YA books in these digital versions more often than they are physical books, which will lead me to my next point. But, what if your library doesn’t have all these resources, like Megan’s? After all, these are hard times. Well, your library might offer inter-library lending. This likely won’t get you brand new books (my library has a rule that the book has to have been published for at least 1 year), but it does increase your book selection. You may also be able to access a library’s resources in a surrounding county, town, etc. if you inquire about this. Also, if you want library books to remain free make sure to take note of the due date to avoid any late fees!
Before I had an e-reader I wasn’t really sure they were worth the investment. However, I’ve had my Kobo for more than a year now, and I can truly say they actually are worth it! You can get a Kobo or Kindle for less than $100 if you forgo the fancy ones with apps, touch screens, internet browsers, etc. Some libraries also loan out pre-loaded e-readers which allows you to experiment with the different makes and models before you buy! As for eBooks, they are usually cheaper than their physical counterparts (and bonus: you won't need to keep buying bookcases!). Also, if you use a program like Calibre you can sometimes convert eBooks, which means you can shop around for cheaper prices from the various e-stores. If you get a Kindle, there are a lot of freebies as well! From a student perspective, I've loved being able to put PDFs of class readings on my e-reader and not having to lug around repro-texts, or spend a fortune on ink printing out the readings.
If you are on a budget, try not to pay full price for a book! I try and wait until there is a sale, and/or use coupons and discount codes (like this WagJag deal for $30 worth of books from BookCloseOuts for $15 – 50% off is a GREAT deal!). You can get these by signing up for e-mails from the major sites you buy through such as Amazon, Chapters, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, etc. BUT don’t let the appearance of a coupon or discount code persuade you to buy something you hadn’t planned on, or to spend more than you were going to! It may be useful to set a limit and stick to it each month. Also, when buying online be kind and support other broke book bloggers by using their affiliate links for your purchases.
If you have bookish friends, swap or share books! For eBooks Amazon has a lending program that Kindle users can take advantage of. If you have a used bookstore near you, you can try and sell books you no longer want in exchange for credit. They usually give you more credit than if you exchanged the books for cash.
As Megan said, ENTER THEM because you won't win if you don't try! Just be sure you are checking out the rules, so you aren’t spending your time tweeting for daily entries into contests that you can’t win anyway. But also, don't feel pressured to hold contests you can't afford! Another option if you have a blogversary or other celebration event coming up then you may be able to do a call-out on Twitter to see if anyone wants to sponsor a contest. Just make sure you return the favour some day, and also promo the heck out of the sponsor – thank them in your post, make following them a requirement, etc!
Sign up for sites like Swagbucks and Superpoints (disclaimer: those are my affiliate links), where by doing small tasks such as using their search engines or just checking your e-mail you gain points which you can then put towards Amazon gift cards! For a little effort you can gain enough points to get at least $20 in Amazon gift cards – more if you are dedicated to getting codes, searching, etc.
If you can't afford to purchase a blog design, keep it simple. Really want an upgrade? You may be able to find someone locally you can exchange services with (try searching Kijiji or Craigslist) if you have something you can offer in return: editing, copywriting, baking, gardening, etc. I’ve also seen a few bloggers who accept Amazon gift cards as payment (for example Jude from In Between Designs). If you’ve worked hard at collecting Swagbucks and Superpoints and converting them into gift cards, you wouldn’t have to spend a dime!
Any other ideas on how to save money, other than avoiding haul posts to prevent jealousy and breaking your book budget? Not that I have ever done that! *looks away guiltily*