For book lovers, it is important to buy books as cheaply as possible. It is likely that a book lover will own many books, it is only logical he/she will search high and low for cheap sources. I self-confess that I am one of them and I would like to talk about my sources in this post.
- Borders – I used to think Borders charges a premium on the books for the range and free browsing in the store. To my surprise, I received 1-2 discount coupons each month after I signed up for their online newsletter. Sometimes, the discount can be up to as high as 35% off. Signing up for the newsletter is free. As a member (paid approx S$22 for a year membership), I receive an additional 10% discount after the use of the coupon. This means that the additional 10% is off the 65% of the price, after I use a 35% coupon. The final discount will be 41.5%, almost close to half price! I got most of my books through this avenue, bulk buys when the discount comes. Lately, I have found that the books I am looking for are out of stock. It seems like the replenishment is rather slow and it can be annoying sometimes – have discount but no books to buy. Anyway, a typical newsletter looks like this:
- Berkshire Business Books – This is an online bookstore that I discovered a few years back. It focuses on business, management, personal finance and investment books. Their genre of books has increased over the years. The books are offered about 20-25% off the retail price. The only issue is the delivery. There is a waiting time and it is bad when you really want to start reading the book. There are only a handful of locations for you to pick up the books, and if you do not happen to stay near any of the location, you may have to make a trip specially for the books. Alternatively, you can have them delivered to your doorstep, with a charge of S$5 for an order less than S$75. Above that, delivery is free.
- Flea Market at Far East Square – There used to be a flea market during the weekends at Far East Square. New books at 50% of the retail price! Many books are recent and in good condition. Definitely a steal! But after the flea market closed, I wonder where have they moved to. Anyone knows?
- MPH – They have an online promotion newsletter too. No coupons but announcements of the promotions. They usually give discount to a particular section of the store, e.g. investment and business books. A good range of investment books (especially at Raffles City) and discount should be around 20-25%.
- Popular/Harris – They always have 20% off for the bestselling books, especially books by the local writers. If I am not wrong, Harris has an annually 25% storewide discount, which is a good time to snap up books in bulk.
- PageOne – I like the ambience of the store. I can almost find any books I want. However, discounts are rare and hence, I rarely get books from here.
After getting a little fed up on not getting certain books that I want, I am exploring a new source – Amazon. To my surprise, the books are cheap and comparable in price even when the shipping charges are added. Let us take a look at this example:
Let’s say I want to buy 2 books (which I cannot find in Borders):
- Market Wizards by Jack Schwager
- Trader Vic by Victor Sperandeo
Amazon charges US$12.21 for (1) and US$19.77 for (2) with shipping charges of US$14.97. Total cost = US$46.95 (use current exchange rate of US$1=S$1.40, total cost = S$65.73)
Berkshire Business Books charges S$24.85 for (1) and S$40.90 for (2). Total cost = S$65.75
The prices from Amazon becomes very competitive since the exchange rate is very attractive now. It is also useful to note that I have yet to add the S$5 delivery charge from Berkshire which will show Amazon is cheaper in this example. Delivery charges can be more manageable if more books are bought at one go – I tested with 4 books and Amazon came out S$20 cheaper. Another way is to buy books that are more expensive from Amazon to get more savingsdue to greater price disparity between Amazon and local suppliers. I believe if you have the patience to look for the books that you like and compare the prices, you may find good deals from Amazon. I have yet to buy anything from Amazon, but it seems I am inclined to getting something soon.
Anyone likes to share your experience?