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One Reason eReaders Could Bust Your Budget

I’ve talked about eBooks and paper books a lot on here. Many of you might know that I’m a traditional book guy—and I won’t badger you for liking eBooks, but they simply aren’t for me at this point in my life.

With that, I thought this article from Mint does a great job of diving into the economics of e-readers versus paper books.

We all know about cost. E-readers these days can be pretty cheap, as low as $50, but you’ll pay more for e-reading on the front end. However, you’ll save money with each book purchase—typically $8 or so for an eBook versus $15-20 for a paperback or hardback.

Eventually, you might have to replace that e-reader and you’ll take a larger ding, but you’ll more than make up for it if you read a lot of books because of all the savings from each book purchase.

But here’s a stat from the Mint article that I find interesting:

If you own an e-reader, you may be spending more money overall than you think.

A recent study showed that, on average, e-reader users spent $433 more per year on online shopping than people who did not own an e-reader.

This is because accessing books online entices you into spending money on other products you probably never needed.

If you’re away from the computer, flipping through a paper book, chances are good that online shopping is the furthest thing from your mind.

That makes total sense.

When you’re reading a book that’s “connected,” you’ll no doubt have an onslaught of options to “click here” or “go there,” all of which lead to more opportunities to spend more money.

Part of what I do at my full-time job is write content for people who are trying to regain control of their personal finances. We know that the easier companies make it for us to spend, the more money we’ll spend. Also, the less time we have to think about our spending decision, the more we’ll spend.

For example, it’s much easier to simply swipe a card than it is to write a check or run to the ATM and withdraw money. That’s why people spend less when they use cash—they “feel” it more.

So it only makes sense that if you can click a couple of buttons and buy $50 worth of books in 5 minutes, you’ll spend much more than you would if you drove to your bookstore and browsed the aisles.

Amazon and these companies aren’t stupid. They know that.

So the moral of the story here is this:

Most of us have a book addiction and we should accept that, but we should still do our best to keep the beast on a balanced diet and not feed him at will.

So if you read eBooks, and I’m guessing most of you do, be leery of the marketing and don’t let the ease of purchasing books wreck your budget.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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32 Comments Post a comment
  1. Excellent point. Before I owned iPads, I saved money on buying new books by buying used ones and (exchanging them with friends) or borrowing them from the library. Then came the Years of Spending Wildly on iTumes and Kindle eBooks. Now I’ve moderated that by borrowing eBooks from my local library. And you can borrow from many libraries if you’ve joined them. And Kindle lets you “lend” your own purchased eBooks too.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 5, 2014
  2. This is why I bought a $50 eReader that’s compatible with the public library.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  3. Reblogged this on jabeensheikh09.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
    • Nowfal Beary #

      hey..

      Like

      February 9, 2015
  4. EddieB #

    I have to admit, I have purchased several books on my Kindle when looking for one book in particular, because I happen to see it on the screen. Many of those books I have not read. I try not to be too trigger happy these days.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  5. Loved the idea, an e-book can never give us the pleasure of a virtual book!

    Like

    May 5, 2014
    • That’s my belief, but we’re in the minority!

      Like

      May 5, 2014
      • Brenda #

        Nothing can compare to holding an actual book as you read. I also prefer to support my local new/used independent book stores. People should also be aware that they do not actually “own” the books they download.

        Like

        May 5, 2014
      • That we are!

        Like

        May 5, 2014
  6. Jetagain #

    If you’re a taxpayer, you are already spending a fraction of your wealth on the public library. Don’t waste your money. Check out books and other media. Libraries are so much easier to use these days because you can reserve books on line and they will let you know by phone or email when you can pick them up.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  7. My ebook readers are apps on my iphone, ipad and laptop. They cost me nothing. As an author, I am delighted to know that other people can do as I do — which is to find myself intrigued by a book I’ve read about on-line in a review or an article, and buy it right away. Instead of having to remember to try to find it (usually unsuccessfully) in a bookstore. This is good for authors as well as readers. Sometimes I order a print book and sometimes an ebook, depending on the book. The PROBLEM is that traditional publishers are charging so much for ebooks, which cost them almost zero to produce. They should be $5.00 max, and $4.00 should go to the author.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  8. It is definitely easy to go overboard with spending on e-readers. The Kindle in particular gives you access to the regular Amazon store AND the e-book store, right at your fingertips with one-click ordering options, “discount” sections and a constant stream of recommendations based on what you’ve read/bought. I own a Kindle but I generally only use it for books in the public domain or those that aren’t available in print, like some from independent authors. Otherwise, I prefer to visit the library for new reading material.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  9. Reblogged this on Lindsey's Adventures in Librarianship and commented:
    Following up my recent post weighing in on the physical vs. digital books debate, here are some thoughts from 101 Books on the potentially large costs of e-reading.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  10. I’m torn, honestly. I’m a book-buyer. Digital or physical doesn’t matter. I spend money in the used book stores and online and as of right now, many of my purchases remain unread. I only got an e-reader because of school: text books are cheaper on the e-reader, and most of the required reading for my major are in the public domain, so I got most of my reading material for free. I like dead authors, so many of my digital “impulse buys” are just free downloads. That is the primary pro for digital.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  11. Good post. Think I may be one of the mugs. Mind you a lot of my $433 goes on buying real books.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  12. I have yet to buy an e-reader, though the thought is enticing simply for the space it frees up.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  13. I have a Kobo but have not used it since Christmas. This is because my local supermarket was selling current paperbacks at 1.00 GBP. I bought about 30 of them and it will keep me going for a while yet. Also my local charity shop sells new paperbacks at 2.00 GBP so I buy them. Far cheaper than ebooks.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  14. I totally agree. With one exception. When I publish my book as an eBook for the kindle, buy.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  15. I agree. I read using e-books and actual books but I seem to forget when I’ve spent money on an e-book because it isn’t taking up space in my house.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  16. Reblogged this on Rosevoc2's Blog.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  17. I spend more at the book store than I do shopping online for books. When I browse the aisles I come across titles that I had once thought of or heard of and I grab them. Before I know it I’ve got 50-100 bucks worth of books. When I buy books onlline it’s usually a few specific books and that’s it.

    I could see how e-reading could cause purchasing to go up in the sense that I have access to every book so I can buy it as soon as I hear of it vs. having to wait and think on it until I get to a computer or book store.

    I think that either way I spend a lot on books, I e-read on my phone so I don’t have the overhead cost of a reader which is nice. I still spend a large chunk of my disposable income on books, but it’s not a bad expense in my eyes.

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  18. Like and appreciate this article! I’m a equal opportunity reader …use both iPad and real books. There’s a benefit to both. In fact this topic was one of the first I blogged on: http://booksforherreviews.com/2014/02/28/ereader-or-paper/

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  19. Yeah, this. I try to control myself, and I’m somewhat successful. But I have definitely spent more money since buying an e-reader. It’s hard to say no when a (relatively) cheap e-book is just one click away from being mine…

    Like

    May 5, 2014
  20. I knew there was another good reason for not succumbing to eBooks. Thanks for the enlightenment.

    Like

    May 6, 2014
  21. finesharpie #

    I can see how that may be true for some. I do fall into the ‘spend more’ category since owning an e-reader but it’s always spending more money on books, and that is a good thing. I won’t pay 12 dollars for a book. So I have to wait until the books I want find themselves in used bookstores or in paperback form. I buy many more books now than I ever did before and I try new writers more than ever.

    Like

    May 6, 2014
  22. I have nothing to really add except that I still prefer paper books! I don’t have an eReader, not sure I ever will. Hmm, on second thought, I might if I could get one cheap enough that ran WordPress. 🙂

    Like

    May 6, 2014
  23. Myth #

    I’m not going to lie I love books of all sorts. Ebook or traditional book. I read an insane amount either way. I do find it is insanely easy when my ‘stack’ runs dry to just download to my ereader. I don’t have a problem with this. When I want to stick to a budget I hunt for deals… or just re-read one of my favorites of course.

    Like

    May 8, 2014
  24. I know it’s an old post, but I get ALL my Kindle books from the public library and thus don’t spend a dime. The Nashville public library, which I imagine would be your library as well. They have over 40,000 ebooks, and they are constantly adding to their collection. If ever there’s a book I want that they don’t have, I just request that they add it, and I usually receive an email a few days later saying that they added it to their collection. You can check out up to 10 books at a time, and you can have them for up to 3 weeks.

    I had no idea this option existed when I bought my Kindle, but I can’t even tell you how pleased I am that it does. Especially since I live in South America 🙂

    http://emedia.library.nashville.org/

    Like

    June 2, 2014

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  1. Is Your e-Reader Draining Your Bank Account? « Bob on Books

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