Tuesday, October 12, 2010

19 Ways to Get A Romance Novel

Ross and I went to see Marc Cohn last Friday. He performed a Willie Dixon song, "29 Ways," from Cohn's eponymous debut album.

Don't know the song? Here's a 2007 bootleg video that's actually pretty similar to his performance last week:

I'm including this because I have -- well, not 29 but quite a few ways to get a romance novel. Here we go:
  1. Pick it up at Barnes & Noble.  Impulse purchase, perhaps, or it got released that Tuesday and I couldn't wait to own it.  I have the B&N discount card, so I always feel as though I'm saving a little money off the list price.  (I won't list it separately, but there's a Borders I occasionally shop at as well.)
  2. Buy it at the grocery store.  Again, all paperbacks are 20% off at Wegman's, so there's that illusion of having saved money.  But mostly it's habit -- once I've gotten everything on my grocery list I'll stop by their wall of books as a reward.  This method is useful for finding new books by old favorite authors, like Jane Feather, whose releases aren't touted on social media sites.
  3. Buy it at Target.  This is a rare occurrence; their paperback section is quite quixotic.  But it's happened.
  4. Buy it (new) from Amazon.  As a book.  (C.f. Kindle purchase below.)
  5. Buy it at a used bookstore.  This used to happen a lot, but now is a very rare occurrence as there are NO used bookstores around me.  None.  Seriously.
  6. [This space left blank.  It should say, "Buy it new from a local independently-owned bookstore" -- and believe me, I wish it did say that -- but the only one within 30 miles of my house doesn't carry romances.]
  7. Buy it (used) through Amazon.  One cent plus $3.99 s+h = affordable, particularly given the realities of #5.
  8. Buy it (used) through any other website, like Alibris.  This is uncommon, but if I really want some obscure & expensive OOP romance, I'll shop around.
  9. Buy it used from the occasional book sale at our local historical society.  I couldn't find my collection of LaVyrle Spencer romances, and as it happened, the "Strawberry Festival" book sale netted a dozen or more of her backlist -- for about $2.  Total!
  10. Order it from PaperBackSwap.  This isn't free, precisely, as I need to send out books in order to get books.  But it's still cheap -- the average cost of mailing a book to another PBS member is about $2.25, so that's approximately the cost of obtaining a book from PBS.  And it's a nice way of recycling used books.  (I have also donated them to the historical society for its book sales.)
  11. Buy it for my Kindle.  There's a wide range of costs here -- from, say, $12 for a book currently out in hardcover to $0.00 for an e-book they're giving away free.  An e-book selling for under $4.00 automatically seems affordable; more than that and I have to factor in a lot of stuff, like when am I actually going to read it.  But I can see this approach may supplant approach #1 for those "I have to have it immediately" purchases.
  12. Borrow it from my local library.  I wish this was an option more often because I like the library, but our library system is small and poor, particularly this year.  (State funding was slashed.)  Quick example:  while the library carries very few romance authors, it does carry Nora Roberts.  But it can be a couple months before the latest NR romance is added to the collection.  Also, I live at least 20 minutes away from each of three branches, so there's a cost associated with going to the library, making "free" a bit illusory.
  13. Receive it as a gift from nice friends like Janet W.
  14. Receive it as a loan from nice friends like Janet W.
  15. Get it at a conference as a free giveaway.
  16. Buy it at a conference as part of RWA's literacy campaign, for example.  I am proud to say I spent a LOT of money this way last summer.
  17. Buy it at an airport shop.
  18. Buy it at a bookstore on my travels.  Waterstone's in the UK, for example, or an independent bookstore in Staunton, Virginia -- places like that.
  19. Win it in an online contest.  This has actually happened to me, and it's lovely.
There you have it -- and as the Willie Dixon song puts it, "If she needs it bad, I could find two or three more..."


  1. A couple more options for your used book needs--Half.com and eBay.
    And, on Amazon, look at some of the ones labeled something like "available through Amazon fulfillment"(they are usually listed first). If they are under $4, then they are actually cheaper (in theory) than the 1 centers, because they are eligible for free shipping(!!)
    I filled in a few Betty Neels gaps that way.

  2. Fun blog: reminded me of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. I noticed that stealing aka liberating wasn't mentioned there. Perhaps I will pretend that I'm a nonny mouse and just say that cottages full of musty old books that you're renting ain't never gonna miss an old OOP Regency :) Of course, this is all hearsay! And if you were to adopt this perfidious practice, it's always good to leave a book in return!

  3. I have been places where I was invited to take a book & leave a book. There's never been a romance there, however.

    I'm tempted -- when I get published -- to take a handful of my own books with me on vacation and salt these collections to see what happens. (But how lowering if no one took my book by the next time I get back there...)


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