This blog post will give you detailed information about why are books so expensive and teach you how to save money on your next book purchase and get more bang for your buck! Books are expensive. It’s a reality that many people struggle with, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The prices of books can be cut down so significantly that you’ll never look at them the same again. Reading on!
What’s the average price of a book?
The average price for a children’s book is $5; the adult versions cost from $10 to about $25. For textbooks, I hear it goes up to over one hundred dollars. Of course, there are books out there worth every penny, like Harry Potter and The Bible. But if you think about it, an e-reader can last you a lifetime (if it’s waterproof) free of charge, and tons of e-books are on sale all the time.
If you want a printed version for your shelf, I recommend checking out used bookstores or the library for the cheapest option.
Reasons Why Are Books So Expensive?
1. New editions, cover design, and marketing budget
New editions cover design, and marketing is what publishers do to make them sell more. The new covers don’t even have to be that much better than the old ones, but it’s an effective way to get you to repurchase them. But here’s how they justify inflating costs. A new edition that’s only a few dollars more is an investment for the future.
2. Marketing budget
When it comes to marketing, publishers spend millions of dollars on advertising and billboards. You can expect them to put at least some of it back in the prices of their products. You might even see these ads as you walk the aisles of bookstores.
3. Labor cost
This is probably one of the least talked about reasons why books are so expensive now. The number one complaint among editors, copy-editors and even authors is low wages, high turnover rate, and lack of motivation in the publishing industry. And that’s mostly because they think of us as machines that regurgitate what’s on the paper given to us.
Do I blame them? To a certain extent, yes. But it also has to do with the fact that they don’t want you to think about why books are so expensive now because then you start wondering if it’s worth a hundred dollars.
In most industries, you get paid more for the work you do, but that’s just not always true in the publishing industry. So if you have a talent for writing or editing, think about it. It might be worth it!
Why are (some) academic books so expensive?
The pricing strategy of academic books is to maximize profit. It’s a business, after all, and they have to make money somehow if they want to keep printing new editions! And the best way for them is by selling a few copies of each book at high prices.
But there are more reasons why some academic books are so expensive. Authors of scholarly books expect some compensation for their work. And they think the paying customers should benefit from that. Of course, if you’re the type to buy only what you need instead of getting a bundle package, then I recommend checking out either e-books or used academic books at affordable prices.
How to buy books way cheaper?
I like to support my local independent bookstores. They’re cheaper than the big chain shops and because I know they don’t pay their employees as much. But if you want to save on gas or you don’t have a bookstore nearby, then there are other ways for you to find some of your favorite books on sale.
1. Amazon sometimes has sales. It doesn’t happen often, but you have to keep checking to find a deal. Plus, they always have free shipping, which is great for books with heavy paperbacks or hardcovers.
2. Thrift stores and garage sales are other good place to look for cheap books. These are discarded books from libraries, schools, and your college campus bookstore. You can find popular titles that people don’t want anymore, and you can get them at an affordable price.
3. Book sales put up by publishers usually come in bulk, so check with the publisher before you buy one book at a high price.
4. Other sources for cheap books include your local libraries, used bookstores, and discount websites like Alibris or eBooks Wholesale, which I found out only recently. Some of these retailers have free shipping too!
Places to find used books at low prices
Used Bookstores – They’re on top of the list because I find their prices pretty competitive. Check out Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon, for an example.
Half Price Books – They have a lot more than books, but their selection can be limited. Still, they have a great discount on most new releases. Or go to the website if your local store doesn’t have it.
E-book readers – These can be cheap, but they’re mostly only suitable for reading e-books. If you want to read books with physical pages, I suggest getting a used or new paperback book. You don’t lose anything, and you save lots of money this way!
Used Textbooks – These are great if you want to save on money. Remember that they were already used by someone else, so there’s a chance the pages and covers will be damaged. Check them well before buying.
Thrift Stores – these also have cheap books but be careful of dog-eared pages or even missing pages. Again, check your text before buying to save yourself the hassle of going back!
Discount Websites – Unlike paperbacks and hardcovers, textbooks are usually cheaper online. For used or new books, check out Textbooks.com.
Amazon Warehouse – You can get some great deals here, but you have to be careful with what’s available because sometimes they only sell out-of-print books.
So there you have it! The next time you want to buy some new or used academic books, check out my list of places and try saving on your money simultaneously!