Saturday, January 1, 2011

Prepared to Be Shocked - 2011

For 2010 I decided that I would openly and honestly track my book purchases for the year in a "personal challenge" called : Prepared To Be Shocked in 2010.  It helped; I thought twice about paying full price for a book, and always looked for bargains. As a result in 2010, I acquired 83 new books for $351.16, spending less than $30/month on books. So once again, I am tracking my 2011 purchases, and plan to purchase mostly eBooks. I did not hold out long, as I already made my first purchase today.

If the thought of tracking how much money you spend on books doesn't scare you, feel free to grab the badge and track your book purchases along with me.
  1. Mary and O'Neil; Justin Cronin (Kindle) - $8.59 (1/1/2011)
  2. The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters; Tim Schaffert - $4.49 (1/22/2011) 
  3. Little Lost Boy; Laska- $10.59 - Feb 2011
  4. Excellent Women; Barbara Pym - $10.20 - Feb 2011
  5. Someone at a Distance; Whipple - $10.59 - Feb-2011
  6. The Group; Mary McCarthy - $7.24 - Feb 2011
  7. Sweet Thursday; Steinbeck - $10.20 - Feb 2011
  8. Travels With Charley in Search of America; Steinbeck - $10.20 - Feb 2011
  9. Saplings; Noel Streatfeild - $10.20
  10. The Making of a Marchioness; Frances Hodgson Burnett - $12.70
  11. Mariana; Monica Dickens - $9.84
  12. Good Evening Mrs. Craven; Mollie Panter-Downes - $10.20
  13. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore;  Benjamin Hale - $12.99 - Kindle - March
  14. Instruments of Darkness; I. Robertson $8.42 - Kindle - March
  15. They Knew Mr. Knight; Dorothy Whipple- March $19.38
  16. Miss Buncle's Book; D.E. Stevenson- March - $19.38
  17. The Story of  a Beautiful Girl; Rachael Simon - $13.79
  18. To Bed With Grand Music; M. Laski (Persephone) - $22
  19. - 23 - (5) Books by Richard Yates - $54.40
  20. (+ 5) purchase May 2011 - $59.28


  1. I tracked my reading in 2010 and plan on doing so this year, but this is a really cool idea! I just ordered a book today from Amazon. That will be my first entry.

  2. Diane, that is a great price for 83 books!!! Good luck in 2011!

  3. Man, this is almost like tracking calories. One wants to know, but at the same time, does one want to know?! :) I'm really trying to read what I have, or choose from the library, but I will contemplate purchases of books before putting down the money. It's almost becoming more of a 'problem' to figure out storage than cost. Happy New Year!

  4. Oh wow, this is evil genius. I need to think about this. I know I've tried to track how much I've spent in the past, but I'd always start to embarrass myself and conveniently stop tracking.


  5. I am scared to know how much I spent on books last year. I think from the huge piles it was alot LOL

    You did really good.

  6. I am thinking this might be a good thing for me since I will be on mat leave for so much of the year....hmmm, I'll have to think about that one.

  7. I do keep track of books coming in but not how much they cost. I think I'm too scared to do that. LOL I have cut way back on purchases recently though. I have so many unread books and when I think of packing them all, it makes me think twice about buying any new books. Unless they are e-books, of course.

  8. I think you did pretty darned well!

    That doesn't seem like a huge amount to me at all!

  9. Now that is a scary challenge. I don't want to know how much I spend on books :)

    I've tried tallying my book purchases but only keep at it for a bit. Maybe this year I'll try again.

  10. 83 books? Is that more or less than you normally buy (maybe you don't know if you just started tracking in 2010)...

    This is a great way to be aware of purchase habits and to manage stacks of books waiting to be read.

    Do you read these books failry quickly or do they end up on bookshelves? I like to buy one book at a time, when I want to read it. I don't get to do this much anymore though (I order online most of the time).

  11. Gosh I meant to do that last year and forgot! (probably on purpose). You have an incredible record though - that's an average of less than $5 per book. Very impressive! I hope your next year goes as well!

  12. Hi Diane,

    I have to say, that I never pay full price for a fiction book.

    To me, they are not worth the money, unlike non-fiction, which although still over-priced, do have some longevity on the bookshelves.

    My fiction all comes from charity shops, who generally charge about 10% of the retail price. Here in the UK, every high street has a vast array of charity shops, so there is no problem with choice either.

    Another reason that I won't be switching to an e-reader any time soon, they are never going to be available second-hand, and you have to pay tax on them, which you don't on books here, at the moment.

    Have a great 2011


  13. I'm definitely cutting back on book buying this year. I do track the money I spent on books and it's a scary 5-figure.

  14. Scary challenge! I'm not sure I really want to know, especially if you add ebooks into the total!

    I agree with Bellezza: storage is becoming a huge issue

  15. I dont buy unless its second hand so the cost is very low! but I will follow your tracking!

  16. You did well -- I don't think $30/month is excessive.

  17. Good on you! I always look for a bargain price or wind up praying that the book will mysteriously appear at my front doorstep. Delusional... absolutely but seriously it does get to be expensive.
    Libraries are the best but I find myself enjoying the book so much I have to get my own copy. Defeats my purpose but at least it's brain food!

  18. I'm with Bellezza! I'm not sure I want to know how much I spend on books in a year, but I probably should. I'm impressed you got 83 books for that much!

  19. Good idea, Diana. Should work for me now that I'm buying ebooks! Happy Year of reading1

  20. Wow! You are a brave woman. Perhaps I shall have to try this too as I'm living in reduced circumstances this year, and it will make me more aware.
    Best of luck for the new year!

  21. You did great with spending only $350 for 83 books! It's a scary thought though- tracking those purchases! I try to always use a coupon or wait for a sale. And I have a renewed interest in purchasing ebooks & the library this year. Basically, I'm running out of room to store paper books. I did use my Borders Bucks and a 50% discount coupon to buy The Metropolis Case by Matthew Gallaway yesterday. I guess I'll write it down and see where that list goes! :-)

    BTW, thanks for sharing Mary and O'Neil, I didn't know Justin Cronin had a short story collection.

  22. Well the thought scares the you know what out of me! When I first got my eReader and got my visa bill I almost had a heart attack. This would be something really good for me to do but I'm not ready. lol. Good on you though for doing so well last year!

  23. Oh you just gave me a good idea. I will include two more columns on my spreadsheet. One for where I got the book and the other on what I spent. I would love to see how much I spend on books.

  24. You are more courageous than me! Perhaps I should try something like this to keep myself from overspending on books!

  25. In the past I spent so much money on books! The last two years I've been buying more and more secondhand books from charity shops, but this year I am cutting down completely, going cold turkey - I've challenged myself to not buy any books for a year, I'm going to be reading the many books I've accumulated on my shelves instead, and borrowing more books from the library, or occasionally borrowing copies from friends. The only new books I receive this year will be presents.

  26. It is money well $pent!

    I don't have the discipline to follow suit. Since I get so many books gratis, I am fairly frugal when it comes to buying books, and get many used ones; or, I use my B & N member card to get a discount on new books. :)

  27. This looks like fun, but honestly, I am afraid the reality might scare me!! I am going to have to consider this a bit! I also want to go over and check out that Cronin book now!!

  28. It scares the hell out of me :D
    I don't really want to know, but I will personally track me down :D

  29. What an interesting idea! Maybe I'll try keeping track this year. My problem will be remembering to write everything down.

  30. Wow,t hat is a great idea to track what you spend on books. I think there are some years when that number would be scary high for me but last year I checked more books out from the library or bought at my library's used bookstore.

  31. I love the title and concept of this challenge ... but I know that I don't think I want Mr. Jenners knowing this information now that my 2010 book buying ban is over (it might be reinstituted).

  32. A few days ago -- prompted by an entry on a different blog site, I grabbed a calculator and went though my Amazon account for 2010. I came up with a total of $356.85 that I spent on books for myself at Amazon during 2010. (We have Amazon Prime so there were no shipping charges in that number.)

    I probably spend more on books for my wife at library book sales than I do on books for myself... maybe ten or twelve dollars a year. I don't hit bookstores these days and I didn't buy all that many books from online sources other than Amazon -- so my total book purchases for 2010 probably were about $400 total. I don't think that is bad at all. (Okay, I do subscribe to several magazines, but this is only about books.)

    Hey, I quit smoking more than thirty years ago -- so think of how much money I don't spend on cigarettes. And since I work from home, think of the 21 miles of driving -- each way -- that I don't drive (hmmm, 210 miles per five day week, subtract vacation and holidays, etc.) so I save, well, at least 350 gallons of gas per year by not commuting. So -- even at gasoline prices of a dozen years ago, I've saved more money by working at home than I spent on books (and at current gas prices, I'm saving almost three times as much).

    Gee... I think I should go order some more books!

  33. This is such a great idea!!!!!!!!

    But then my husband would have evidence to use against me.



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