The Cost of Books and How to Save Some Money (with Wednesday Readings and a Book Sale!)

Lately, people have been saying that the cost of books just doesn’t justify the worth. It’s sometimes hard to fork out quite a bit of money for a book, especially if you are only going to read it once. We often forget that there is a LOT that goes into the development of books (not to mention it’s the authors livelihood). Everything from story development, design, editing, printing, shipping, marketing and so on, adds onto the final price of a book. I guess with e-books, printing and shipping gets replaced with digitizing and delivering and so the costs are slightly cheaper. But I’m an old school girl who loves the feel and smell of a paper book. Also for kids (especially picture books), e-books aren’t necessarily the most efficient with getting the imagery across.

Not many people know that there are also a few other factors that Authors/publishers use to mark up books.

What Adds to the Cost of Books

  1. Genre or Category – by being in a specific category, one is able to either increase or forced to decrease the price of the books in order to be competitive. For example, YA Fiction will generally cost 35% less than an adult business book. I guess it’s a way to get kids hooked earlier 🙂 Or maybe the cost is justified with more research going into business books than YA Fiction

2. Binding and Finishes – Hardcover books are always more expensive than the same edition in soft cover due to higher durability.      In addition, the type of paper and the printing finishes (example glitter, ridges, embossed) used, add extra cents to each copy.

3. Page Count – This is a bit of an obvious one. With more pages usually deems higher costs

4. Name Recognition – The more famous an author is, the higher the price you are likely to find the book. Even if you have a fantastic book, if no one has heard of the author, it is unlikely it would be more expensive than a well-known author.

And as much as I love buying new books and recommend it to people, here are a few ways you can get hold of books (or enjoy stories), at a slightly lower price

  1. Join your local library! You won’t believe how  much you end up saving if you join a library, especially if you are like me who doesn’t re-read books. For those in Geneva, I highly recommend the Library in English. Every few weeks they have new books (more often than not being bestsellers). If you have an adult membership you can take 6 books at a time (including kids books).
  2. Frequent your Markets – 2nd hand books are usually so cheap. I often find great bargains for about CHF 2 – 5, which aren’t in bad condition. In Geneva, there are a range of French and English books at Plainpalais market or at the Market in the Square in Rive.
  3. Go to a 2nd Hand Book Shop – It’s just like a market but a bit more formalized! There has been some pushback from authors, calling 2nd Hand Bookshops the “Napster” of Books because they don’t make money from the sale, but I still go for it.
  4. Go to a Book Sale – my favourite one! Twice a year, the Library in English in Geneva has an awesome sale. The next one is from 9th – 11th November and will have a range of books, dvds, cds as well as kids books in French and other languages. Not to mention that they also sell home made treats to keep your belly full while you are browsing around!
  5. Attend a School Book Sale – An even cheaper option than a library one, specializing in kids books of course. Ecolint LGB Campus(Route de Chene 62, Geneva) will be having a sale on Wed 17th October from 8:30am – 12:30pm. A little birdie told me that books are going for as little as CHF1-2!
  6. Have a look on Facebook Marketplace – while some people aren’t too enthusiastic about the legitimacy of buying goods on FB marketplace, I find that in Geneva it’s been a really good source for 2nd hand items. Often people are selling kids books in all languages at a fraction of the prices in store. Sometimes people are even willing to bargain down further just to declutter their houses.
  7. Have a look for the “book boxes” at your local parc – I often have a browse at the “book boxes” (I really don’t know the name of these thing!) in parcs. It works on the premise that you can leave your books there and are free to take any if you want. Because it’s easier than trekking to a library or finding people to donate to, people just plonk a lot of books in them. I’ve seen a wide range of languages and even bestsellers in them, so it’s worth a try. And don’t forget to also leave some of your unwanted reads to return the favour!
  8. Go to Story Time! – This one is for kids. Look around in your area…there are often a lot of places that have weekly readings for kids. In Geneva, here are a few:
  • Children’s Story Hour, at The English Library in Geneva -Every Wednesday at 3pm, during school terms for ages 3 -7. It is free to both members and non members. Here’s a link to their website for details
  • Monthly Story Time, Payot Geneve – Held on the 1st Monday of Every Month (the next one is the 3rd November, with Dr Seuss as the theme and the following on 1st December with Christmas Countdown as the theme), where there is a different theme each month. it runs from 10:30am to 11:30am. It’s free!  Here’s a link to their website for details 
  • Lire Avec Son Bebe, Bibliotheque de la Geneve – 30min sessions in French with assistance from Librarians, encouraging parents, grandparents, nannies etc to read with little ones aged 0-2. The librarians show you favourite books for kids and help you and your little ones navigate the literary world. Please see this link for details


Kids listening to a captivating story at The Library in English


These have just been some of the ways I get around not splurging on books. Hope it’s helped you.

If you have anything else to add to the list or any book related events that you know off, please drop me a line so I can add it in to help everyone else drive the reading agenda 🙂


xxx Iman

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