I think I’ve acquired more “reading for pleasure” books this year than I have in nearly a decade. Before I was either in school (e.g. copious amounts of academic reading) or I was writing online as a second job. So I was burnt out by the end of my day and ignored my ever growing pile of literature next to my bed.
This year, in an effort to consolidate, space-save, and be more frugal, while also upping my reading game — the bulk of my books are digital & audible. I gradually created an Amazon wishlist of the books (Kindle only) I wanted to read. Periodically I sort through these by price (low to high) and pick them up when they go on sale (sometimes selling for $0.00 or $0.99). Most of them will offer a deal on the Whispersync version that costs as low as $1.99 (the catch being you have to own the kindle version of the book to get such a remarkable discount on the audible component). Doing this, I’ve acquired a vast library, some enhanced with the audio for pennies compared to what the regular audible would cost for the same item. I push the audio as I switch between listening and reading sometimes depending on what I’m doing.
I do have a separate Kindle Unlimited & Audible account — but the bulk of my purchases have fallen within the aforementioned method of patiently waiting until they go on sale via the Kindle wish list.
The Kindle Unlimited is nice as more and more books on my lists show up there as well as current magazines. You are able to borrow up to 10 books and/or magazines at a time and as you return one you can borrow another. This runs about $10 a month, and I will often read through these first before tackling my “owned” library of books.
I have the Audibles account because 1. I got the 2 free books to start & 2. Every so often they have a deal exclusively for the members (example: a steep discount on additional credits or select titles) + daily deals + a very liberal return policy. I’ve gotten half way through a book and hated it and managed to return it no questions asked — no issues with customer service. If & when they’ve made an error on their end (which is rare), their associates have remedied it quickly. For the holidays they offered 500+ books on sale for a limited time between $4–7 each. I cleaned up on titles that would have otherwise cost me $11–14 in credits or more in standard pricing. Again, it’s all about watching the sales and being patient for titles. I save my credits for pricey, more current popular titles and or box sets of a series (where it is cheaper to get the box set for a credit than to pay regular price).
Notably, the two subscriptions run me roughly $300 a year, but I find the cost of personal entertainment and development to be enriching, and I don’t have physically discarded books and magazines cluttering up my space (before I can take them in for trade).
The audible is important as I’m able to listen to them throughout my day — and as such I can get through 2–5 books in a week depending. On the side, I’ll have a series or two that I want to physically read (analog paper book) I want to be able to enjoy in the event my devices are ‘verboten’ or short of battery life while I’m out. I call them my car books —the book you keep in your bag in the event you have to kill time waiting for the kids to get out of a lesson, stuck in traffic, etc…Currently, I’m working my way through Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series [my car book]. These too I buy (in the physical book) when I can find them thrift/used or on sale.
If you are curious, as the end of 2016 nears, I’ve spent roughly $600 on books (physical, subscribed, and Whispersync audibles). I’ve read and/or listened to over 150 books and own over 300 titles (noting I also regularly borrow and peruse several magazines for fashion and cooking monthly alongside borrowing, reading, and returning an additional 60+ titles this year via my Kindle Unlimited). So I think I’ve maximized my reading for pleasure as best as I can for a fraction of the cost. Happiest of Holidays!