Thrifty ways to indulge a love of books

Indulging a voracious reading habit doesn't have to be costly.
Picture: Getty Images

Indulging a voracious reading habit doesn't have to be costly. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

If, like me, you love a good book you’ll know that a voracious appetite for reading comes with enormous pleasure but one or two problems as well, writes thrifty living columnist Sheena Grant.

Getting through a book every week or two can mean you need both an enormous amount of shelf space and seriously deep pockets.

At one time I could justify the latter by telling myself that while some people spent their money on gym membership or down the pub, mine went on books instead.

But as I can never bare to part with a book I’ve enjoyed (re-reading at a later date is often part of the pleasure), it wasn’t long before my bookshelves started to bulge.

Happily, I’ve found a two-pronged solution.

The first is the local library, wonderful institutions that trace their history back to Victorian Britain when the Public Libraries Act gave local boroughs the power to set up free public libraries to offer universal access to information and literature.

More than 150 years later they are still serving that same, vital role.

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My online library account shows that over the last decade, my family has had more than 1,000 titles on loan.

Those books may have been free but the enjoyment and knowledge they’ve given is priceless. It’s also a lot of money and a lot of shelf space saved.

If you want a specific title that your local library doesn’t have you can browse the county collection and reserve it from elsewhere.

Many libraries also host book clubs these days or offer other reading-based activities for both adults and children, including an annual summer reading challenge.

And if you find a book you really love, one that you may want to own and re-read, you can always buy second hand to make it more affordable. I’ve done this a lot recently, picking up titles online and in charity shops for as little as £2 each, a fraction of what they’d cost new.

I also know, of course, that many bookstores, especially those run by independent retailers, are not finding life on the high street particularly easy just now so I can still find space on my shelves for the occasional indulgence of a brand new book.

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