Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Matt's Tip on Buying Books

Regular readers of hebel will know that I have a lot of books. There are several reasons for this: I was a nerd in my first years of uni, gifts, the Internet, freebies (such as one church giving me Calvin's The Institutes because he didn't write about flag waving...).

I enjoy reading books because they help me grow in my love and knowledge of God. Reading has helped me grow as a child of God as I've i. engaged with brothers and sisters today and from the past; and ii. tried to imitate Bereans in Acts 17 "examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."

I've been working on my collection of books for several years now. This post is about sharing a new tip for buying books. But before I get there, a word of warning: beware consumerism. Just because you're buying books - even Christian books - doesn't absolve you from the dangers of consumerism. Be careful how/why you buy (cf. this).
So, here is my tip: If you're buying books online, check out Booko. Booko is an Australian site that tries to find the best price for books and DVDs. You just search for the book you're after e.g. Jesus and the God of Israel by Richard Bauckham. Booko will then list the various place where you could buy this book online, and their price (including delivery):

You then click on the outlet you want and...well, it's as easy as that. Jesus and the God of Israel came in at just over $30 on my perpetual favourite, Book Depository. The same book is $44.95 at Moore Books and $47.95 at Koorong.

So, that's my tip to save yourself money when you buy books online. Of course, it doesn't always work. When I searched for John Stott's Cross of Christ, Moore Books was almost 50% cheaper than the cheapest outlet Booko could find. And of course, nothing actually compares to the sensory experience of walking into Moore Books, Berkelouw, Kinokuniya or Goulds: the sight, touch and smell of books. Which is, incidentally, why I've haven't switched to soft books.

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. - Anna Quindlen

h/t dirving for recommending Booko. Update: I just noticed that Steve has also blogged about this recently.


Anonymous said...

Any recommendations for cheap bookshelves??

Matthew Moffitt said...

Billy by IKEA. So cheap, so versatile, so many...

Anna M Blanch said...

thanks for the link to Booko. Is it new? i've been out of the country for 3 years!

i tend to find the ikea ones a little unstable when they're full. I bought 4 6ft tall unfinished solid pine bookshelves from the pine furniture wholesale stores (in Canberra, but most cities should have them) and finished them myself. They were only about $80-$120 each.

Anonymous said...

Matt have you ever used Abe Books - www.abebooks.com?

I'm yet to use them but apparently they are good as long as the book is at least one year old.

Matthew Moffitt said...

@Anna I think Booko is relatively new.

My IKEA shelves are fairly packed, but they're still quite solid; none of the shelves have started bending yet...

What have you done for shelves having lived in three countries (?) in three years?

Matthew Moffitt said...

@Ryan I used Abe Books a few years ago...they did'nt have free shipping back then. They were pretty good in finidng books which are hard to find. I've noticed that when Book Depository don't have a book they send you to Abe Books.

The other website I've used before is Dove Books (www.dovebook.com. They were also good in finding rare books.

Martin Kemp said...

One thing I've learnt is that attaining the book at the least expensive price doesn't not absolve you from consumerism. Some questions I ask...

1. Will I actually use this?
2. Can I use a resource that I already own/have access to?
3. Is the topic of this book just a passing fad?

Unless I can answer yes, no, no, then I figure it doesn't matter how much of a bargain it is.

Matthew Moffitt said...

Thanks Martin, that's very wise advice.

I mainly use Book Depository to buy reference books, or books which are hard to find in Australia but I guess would fulfill your third question.