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How to get your money's worth while buying books

How to get your money's worth while buying books

This is eternal question for the book lovers who especially love to collect print copies of the books they love. With so many books coming out daily it's hard to buy them all at the same time. And then, of course, you have to fall in love with a new-to-you author who has a backlist of 40+ books. Fun times.

It's even worse if you live in a country that doesn't have Amazon. Book lovers who live in a country that has Amazon (USA, UK, Germany ...)  have Amazon Prime or if they don't (but don't go quoting me on this one) they don't have to pay for shipping if their order is over $35. Again, I'm not sure, but I do think I saw something like that going around the internet.

Before we get down to the business, let me tell you some facts about me and my life so you can see everybody can do this:
- I'm a 24 years old Croatian.
- I work in an office which, if we're being honest isn't some fancy job with high pay.
- I was a library child so the number of books I got in my childhood is not big. I would borrow, read and return, and if I was feeling like rereading a certain book I'd borrow it again.
- In 2016 I got my first Kindle and started reading in English. Then I didn't know where I can buy all the paperbacks except Amazon US and the shipping was pricey so I stuck to buying ebooks.
- Print books are my passion. I love collecting them and having them available to reread when I feel like it, so last year when I got my first real job I decided to start buying print copies.

*The books I bought/got in 2018. The middle, vertical row is a divider - books on the right are the one I was gifted, the vertical row and the ones on left I bought myself*

Over this past year, I got over ONE HUNDRED (100+) new books. There is a mix of everything: books in Croatian and English, books I bought myself and books that were gifted to me by my family and friends (ratio 2-1, I bought 2/3 of the books myself, and I has gifted 1/3). All in all, in the last year I DOUBLED, yes, doubled, the number of paperbacks I own. If you want to find out how, keep reading!

***all the books that will be compared later in the post have been chosen randomly based off my wishlist!***

WHERE I buy my books

When I started reading, I thought I can only get books from Amazon US. WRONG. My friends introduced me to different pages and after looking through them I found the ones that work best for me.

Basically, I use three different pages:
3. Amazon Germany

Book Depository and Wordery are both situated in the UK, and Amazon Germany is well, in Germany. All three of them deliver fairly quickly to Croatia, and what's best about them is that you can order more books, but because it's all territory of the EU once the package enters the country the office won't tax you. On the other hand, if you order from Amazon US you have two options: #1 Order books one by one and pay shipping of $8 per book or #2 Order more books, but risk getting taxed once the package arrives. I haven't been taxed, but I heard from some friends that they usually tax you the same amount you paid for the package. 
Another thing I have to warn you is that there is no perfect page, or supplier of books. Forget that. I had good and bad experiences with all of them, but you have to know how to deal with those situations to get what you paid for. Sometimes the shipment will be late, or the books will get to your house damaged. That's not your problem, it's theirs. If the books are late - contact the customer service from the page you got the books and tell them. If they got damaged, again contact the customer service. They'll offer you a refund or an option to send you a new book. If you choose to get a new book, they can ask you to send back the damaged book (which they rarely do), but they should refund you for the shipping you'll pay upon returning.

Tips on how to get your money's worth while buying books

It's the first thing I did - set a budget. I put on the paper how much I earn and everything I have to do with that money and then I took an amount that I'm able to spend on myself. On something that will simply make me happy. Even if you're not into books, I think it's important that everybody does this. Spend a bit of what you earn on something, ANYTHING, that makes you happy. 
At the beginning it was 30€ ($35), now it's a bit more. But it really depends on a month to month basis and sales I find on books. I'll talk about that a bit later.

And I'm not just talking about making a wishlist in a notebook so you can cross them over once you get them, although that's also fun. Make a wishlist on all the pages you buy books from. And yes, you have to put all of the books on all the lists on different pages. It'll probably take some time, but the advantage of making a wishlist is that the page will notify you if they have a SALE on the book that's on your wishlist!

This one is really important. Take your time before buying a book. It can be that you find the same book priced differently on different sites and I found some where the difference is 5€+! Which is a lot of money when you think about it.
Here's an example of that:

The same book, on three different pages, has three different prices! Which one will you take?

*IMPORTANT NOTE* Authors do NOT pick the prices outside of Amazon US. Since the site through which authors publish their books is connected to Amazon US, when an author uploads the book file, Amazon gives him/her the estimated price of printing the book. You can't put your book on a lower price than the one you're offered. Based off that, authors choose the price of the paperback which is converted later on into other currencies on other Amazons. BookDepository and Wordery have their own prices.

As much as you can try to keep to the budget you set for yourself, but if you see one of the books on your wishlist on sale use the opportunity! A few times it happened to me that the book that was on my wishlist dropped in price from 20€+ to around 15€! It's a 5€ sale which can make a huge difference, but you never know how long it will stay on that price.

Book Depository and Wordery occasionally e-mail you the sales and coupons they have. Check your e-mail regularly so you don't miss any of them. Even if it's only 10% off it's something that can come good in the long run.

I've got so many amazing books from my bookish friends. Seriously, have you seen the picture from above? Some are even signed! Find your tribe and exchange book recommendations and send each other bookish gifts because there is nothing better than that!

I don't know about you, but I did develop a habit of saving money. I know I won't take 200 kunas (in Croatia we have kunas, 200 kunas = roughly $30/€25) off my account when I get paid and put it on the side. If you can, great for you, but to me, it's just too much. So what I do is, I save coins. In Croatia, we have one, two and five kunas coins (some smaller values too), and I have two special jars. One for five kunas coins and the other for two kunas coins. Five kunas is slightly less than $1. Find your $1 and save it to the jar every time you get it. No exceptions. You'll be surprised at the end of the month of how much you actually managed to save!


This is another subject, the last one, I promise, I'd like to touch before concluding this post. Shipping, the devil of all the book lovers. Why should we give 10 or 15€ for shipping if we can buy a book for that money?! Am I right or am I right? 
However, the reality is, you ALWAYS pay shipping. Both Book Depository and Wordery promote themselves as sites with "free shipping". And in a way, they're right, because they don't have a box that says "shipping". It's there. Trust me, you can't see it, but it's there. 
There are cases where you'll find a book on one of this sites (for me it's mostly Wordery) where the book is way cheaper on one than it's on the other, but there are also cases when it's all the same. Because of that, there is tip #3 - always, always, ALWAYS check the prices. 

Let's take a look at this picture:

As you can see The Coaching Hours by Sara Ney is almost the same in price on every site (1€ more or less). It's €16.70 on Wordery, €17.40 on BookDepository and €14.87 on Amazon Germany. Now, you're probably thinking how can it be all the same when it's less than €15 on Amazon, right? Well, Wordery and Book Depositry have shipping included in the price, so this IS the final price. On Amazon shipping is separately marked. Usually, when I want to order one book through Amazon Germany to Croatia the shipping is around €10. Which IS a lot. But if you order 2-3 books the shipping is €8-10! Which means that shipping per book is around €3.33.
Final prices:
- Wordery €16.70
- BookDepository €17.40
- Amazon Germany €18.20
There IS a slight price difference but it's not that big. And I have to admit, Amazon Germany delivers extra fast! I just ordered books last Sunday night and they should be at my house by Saturday if not before.

Here's an example of a book in which you can see a big difference in the price:
As you can see the prices for Four Day Fling by Emma Hart are following:
- Wordery: €13.16
- BookDepository: €19.50
- Amazon Germany (if we go with 3-book-order): €19.37
This equals the price on BD/Amazon, and if you order from Wordery you save €6.34!!!

Taking into consideration there are some books you can find between 6 and 10€ if you buy the book on the right site (where price is the cheapest) you can get the second book basically for FREE!

So please, please, PLEASE don't go around saying Book Depository/Wordery don't have shipping. Yes, they have it, the only difference from Amazon is that it's included in the price since the beginning. You can't see it, so you think it's not there and it makes it easier to give 15€ or even 20€+ for a book. There are some unicorns like in my example Emma's book, but you have to find them.

If you want to know my preference it goes in this order:
#1 Wordery
The first few orders I placed with them did come damaged, and I was starting to lose hope. But their customer service is really nice so I always got either refunded or they sent me a new book. After those few books, they always came in good shape and in a timely manner! W gives themselves time to print, pack and send the package, but also a reasonable amount of time for the book to actually get to the destination. If it says the book will come between December 19th and 29th, it's sometimes at my house even a day before the first delivery day! This is also the site that has the cheapest prices of books that are on my wishlist.

#2 Amazon Germany
I have to admit I did NOT have problems with book quality when it comes to Amazon Germany, and as I mentioned before they come super fast, at least to Croatia. Another good thing about Amazon is, you'll find ALL of the books there. It's a given. Some of the indie authors don't have expanded distribution which means you can't find their books on sites like Book Depository and Wordery and if you want them, you have to buy them on Amazon.

#3 Book Depository
This site was my favorite in the beginning. When books were coming damaged from Wordery, BD's books were always undamaged. Their delivery is a bit sketchy. It says the books should come withing Europe in 4-8 business days, but they can be late. My problem is, lately I haven't been really happy with their customer service. Me and my friend got a bunch of coupons and I thought we'd use them all (it was like 50-60% off) on one BIG order. However, although they do (or maybe they removed it, I'm not sure) have "add another coupon" after one coupon is already applied to the order, you can only SWITCH coupons. When I brought that question to the customer service they were pretty rude, but it's nothing like when my friend's books were late and they tried to blame it on her, saying she has to wait 5-10 weeks for books to come to her house or return to the UK to deem them lost and return her the money or resend her the books.

Anyway, I hope this summary helped you at least a little bit. Make a wishlist, decide on a budget, save money, look for the prices, sales and coupons and you'll be fine! I wish you all happy reading!


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