Thursday, 20 October 2011

The Cost of Reading in NZ

I have, like most mothers in their mid 30s in NZ, joined a book group.
I love reading, and on a good week can get through a couple of books, esp if they are good ones. (The housework suffers though)
The book group is great because its another way to get my hands on a range of books for free, and the group of ladies I meet up with have similar taste to mine, and whip up a mean dessert while we discuss the books. (and yes Mr TF, we do discuss the books- for the first hour at least)

In the UK I used to buy books for 3 quid as part of my weekly supermarket shop, and could afford to read  new books regularly and abandon them or lend them out willy nilly, not minding if they didn't return.

Here in NZ, paying $40 for a new release paperback leaves a bad taste in my mouth. They are printed in the same countries as the ones released in the UK in fact they are likely to be all from the same print run, so why oh why does the price hike so much as soon as the books hit NZ shores? At these costs I simply can't afford to read as many new release books as I used to.

I know I could go the the library, and I do, but sometimes when you read a particularly good book review, you want the book there and then rather than going on a waiting list to get it- and chances are when your name comes up it will be when you have lots of other things on and have limited time to read it.

A recent Listener article suggested that the only reason that books (and itunes music and other consumer items) continue to be so expensive here is simply that NZers continue to pay the inflated prices. Writers aren't receiving more money- someone else is clipping the ticket. I don't know who, perhaps someone can enlighten me.

I for one, refuse to do it. I support local businesses as much as I can, but literature and reading is far too important to me to let it fall by the wayside simply because of cost.

In my personal war on the extortionate cost of books in this country, I have become an extremely active customer of The Book Depository.
Their prices and range are incredible- new release paperbacks are often half the cost they are here. Kids books are cheap as chips- I got a new copy of the classic "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly" for $5- delivered.
They deliver free to NZ, the books usually arrive within a few days in pristine condition.

Yet another addiction to add to my list!

1 comment:

  1. You might be interested in - it finds the cheapest copy of a book from all over the web. Like you, I try to support local businesses but sometimes I need to buy online! Happy reading :)