Penny Pinching

Browsing through my local Borders this weekend, I had two books in my hands.  My kid was in the YA section choosing between a big fat Sarah Dessen tome or a skinnier category novel.  I’d also planned on buying a magazine (Adam Lambert is on the cover of EW this week, omg!fangiiirl squee!).

And it’s not like I don’t have plenty to read already.  I’m getting ready to dive into Anna Elliot’s fabulous Twilight of Avalon: A Novel of Trystan & Isolde, which released May 5 (fans of historical fantasy novels won’t want to miss it!) to prepare for our interview.

Usually, I don’t care that I overspend on books.  My purchases support other artists and an industry that I care about.  But for some reason, I hesitated.  Maybe I should put one of the books back, my head said.  Maybe I should tell my kid she could have the skinnier (cheaper) novel.  Maybe we should just go to the library instead.  (No way was I putting back that EW magazine).  After a long winter and gloomy spring of bad news and witnessing layoffs, the jitters about the economy were starting to get to me.

Despite hopes that the publishing industry would thrive during the economic downturn because people would gravitate to cheaper forms of entertainment, the increased traffic at libraries would suggest otherwise.  Library Journal reports that circulation has exploded at the time when libraries are cutting back purchases and hours.  Border’s financial woes and possible merger with Barnes & Noble would indicate that it’s still a rough climate for booksellers.  Which means rough times for authors.

I bit the bullet and bought everything anyway.  Maybe I’d regret it later, but right now, the power of my purse might save someone’s job, or help a struggling author meet their earn-out quota, or keep another magazine from shuttering.  Next month, I might be in the library checking out old favorites instead of the bookstore buying new ones.  The times, they still are dicey.

Is the rough economy still affecting your book purchasing power?  Are you using the library more?  More importantly, do you think Adam Lambert will win American Idol this year?

2009 is shaping up to be a wild ride.

Image by Pinknihon.


About Kathleen Bolton

Kathleen Bolton is co-founder of Writer Unboxed. She writes under a variety of pseudonyms, including Ani Bolton. She has written two novels as Cassidy Calloway: Confessions of a First Daughter, and Secrets of a First Daughter--both books in a YA series about the misadventures of the U.S. President's teen-aged daughter, published by HarperCollins, and Tamara Blake, for the novel Slumber.


  1. thea says

    I recently read an article that said women worry more about he economy than men do. anecdotally speaking, I agree, given my circle of friends and family. And women aren’t spending, and that’s affecting our economic recovery.

  2. says

    I got laid off on Friday. My biggest worry isn’t how I’ll make my car payment or afford to eat, it’s how deprived I’ll feel if I can’t make my weekly purchase at Borders. Therefore, I must job hunt like a banshee. The book world is depending on me. :)

  3. says

    I’m trying to “go cheap” on things for myself (do I really need that chocolate bar?) and keep spending on things that, as you said, support artists and industries I care about.

    And I don’t know between Adam and Kris. I actually think winning will be worse for Adam because musically he needs to be more free — basically he needs to form a rock band — but Kris could fit the American Idol pop package.

  4. Julien says

    I’d rather cut back on something else rather than saving money on books. Books are some of the most important things in my life.

    Mind you I’m saving for college so I shouldn’t be spending any money.

    For those who want to save some money on books why don’t you look on eBay or You can really find some steals there.

  5. JJ Johnson says

    I’m feeling the pinch for sure. Here in SoCal construction is a mess and I’m lucky to still have a job, but with my hours being cut back I’ve had to cut back on my book buying. Where I used to get a new book every paycheck, now it’s only once a month. Even the poor cat has had to cut back: no more wet food for Bob.

  6. says

    Karen, I’m so sorry to hear about the layoffs. I recently had many close to me suffer layoffs, which is why I’ve been so tight with money lately, I think.

    I’m sure everyone is scrutinizing every purchase, which is going to make the bookselling market lag, sadly.

    Kristan, I never watched AI until Adam came along. Past contestants were boring (sorry AI fans!, it’s totally imo!) I hope he blows it up so we can see more interesting unboxed artists in future. I feel the more commercially successful iconoclasts in all the arts, the better.