Monday, February 28, 2011

The Kindle is Testing My Resolve

So, I received a Kindle from Mr. Sam for my last birthday.

Some background, I am an avid reader, I often read one or two books a week. Before our personal finance awakening (2007), I often bought 4 books a month. After we started working on paying down our debt, I resolved to reduce my book spending, and decided I would limit my book purchases to my book-club book and airport book purchases. I filled the book purchase gap by using my local library, which is within walking distance to my home. For about three and a half years, I maintained my resolve, but slowly, I realized I was starting to re-read library books (which I do with my own personal library). Basically, while I had not read every book in my library, I had exhausted what I was interested in reading. I had read every book from every author that I like or had heard about. I had read every available book from the various year end lists (NYT best books of the year, best books, The Slate best books, the Booker Prize short list, the Pulitzer Prize short list, etc.) The real problem being that my library, which is small, just doesn't have many of these books.

So last birthday, Mr. Sam bought me a Kindle, which had come down in price to about $150. And, if you are not familiar with the Kindle it is super easy to buy books. Too easy. If I have my Kindle with me, i.e. at book club or traveling, and I'm in a wi-fi hot spot I can simply purchase the book in about 10 seconds with one click ordering. If I'm not in a wi-fi hot spot I can purchase a Kindle book via my iPhone Kindle app. I can instantly gratify my book itch.

Since, I received my Kindle, I'm averaging 3.4 book purchases a month, which average in price at $9.99, so about $34 a month. $34 a month isn't much in the grand scheme of things but it does translate to about $400 a year and that is probably $300 more per year on books than I was spending before I received the Kindle.

So, what to do? I could decide that the $400 I'm spending on Kindle books is money well spent. Money well spent in that it is small amount of money for something I very much enjoy and therefore I should allocate the sum either in our spending plan or it comes from my allowance money.

Alternatively, I could impose a holding pattern on my Kindle purchases. I use "holding patterns" for many of my on-line purchases, including Amazon, but the Kindle is set up for this one click purchasing so I would need to figure out how to select my Kindle books without actually purchasing them.

I'm also considering hitting the library again, I'm sure in the last few months they have some new selections. I could probably obtain at least one book a month from my library which would reduce my Kindle spending by $10 a month or a $100 a year.


Anonymous said...

You can put your Kindle books in a "holding pattern" by adding them to your wish list instead of your cart or using the 1-click option. You have to create an Amazon wish list first, but it's easy and free.

Frugal Coconut said...

My county library system allows you log onto their website and browse all the books that it carries ... and if your local library branch doesn't have one in stock, you could request that it be transferred over there for convenient pickup (I've done this many times) ... and you'll even receive an automated phone call when your books have arrived (usually in a couple of days or so). This could expand your selection at least.

benandsherie said...

I solicited a list of books from various sources for my maternity leave to load up my kindle. I downloaded a free sample of each from the kindle store. Now I have about 20 books in my queue and a couple of sample chapters in each. The list serves as my holding pattern and I read teh samples before buying...working great so far.

Jonathan said...

I don't have a Kindle, but have you looked into Lendle? Supposedly you can lend out your bought books and borrow others in return.

Kim said...

Amazon offers free Kindle books (other than just classics, when I first got my Kindle I was under the impression that they were only the classics that were free). I stumbled upon a site with lists of all of the current free Amazon books a couple of months ago and they had TONS! And there were definitely some good ones on there (but, this list doesn't always stay the same, a couple of the really good books I finally got around to reading were no longer free when I told my sister about them). I'd share the site, but of course, when I wanted new free books I couldn't find it again.. But, I know it's out there!

I was also disappointed to find out that my local library offers rentals for e-readers, but the Kindle is not yet on the list of compatible e-readers.

Sam said...

Thanks for all the great ideas and suggestions.

My local library will request books via intra-library loan, but it takes forever, like 3-6 mos. I could switch to a bigger and better library but my schedule is so tight that I'm likely to run into trouble doing so (i.e. overdue books).

I have used the free book list from but I'm going to have to look at it closer as, like Kim mentioned, I've only downloaded classics from that last.

Angie said...

Some libraries are beginning to offer electronic book downloads - you could see if can borrow "books" for your Kindle.