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how to be a book blogger without breaking the bank

If you believed  everything you see instagram you might come to the conclusion that being a book blogger is an expensive hobby. It certainly can be. Those purchases of books and bookish related items can really add up. However you do not have to spend anything to be a successful book blogger.

Over the course of the year I have been actively trying to save money and cutting down book and bookish expenditure has been one area I've really focused.Obviously I did this to save money but also to help me refocus my blog on what I want it to be. I want it to be about things I actually read and love and not become a soulless advertising space for books I'm not all that fussed about just because I was sent a free review copy.

Don't get me wrong I love free books, of course I do, but I want this blog to reflect me not publisher release calendars. It's been really freeing as an experiment. If I receive a book for review and love it of course I'll review and promote it around publication date but if I want to spend a month reading through back list titles I've picked up at the library I'll do that instead.

Therefore based on my experiences of the previous year here are my top tips for being a thrifty book blogger.

Tip one: make the most of the free resources at your finger tips.

Use your local library service. make full advantage of all the free physical book, ebooks and audio books they have on offer. To date I have borrowed around 150 books in the past year . These have included a wide of adult, YA and non fiction titles and have included a variety of new titles within a week of their publication date. I've requested my local library buy titles I wanted but they didn't have. I've become expert at stalking their catalogue and preordering titles to be sent to me so I'm the first person to borrow and read them. Doing this alone has saved me a fortune and broadened my reading experience vastly compared to 2016 when I was solely focused on reading YA titles released in the coming month. I've read more adult titles. I've binge read series I would never have allowed myself time to get into. Hell I've read non fiction titles for fun letting my inner history geek take over. In short I have loved every second of it and what's more it's been free*. I love my library visits and I'm kicking myself that I've been missing out on all the free books for so many years.

*freeish. If I order specific adult titles to be sent to my local library I get charged 60p per book. Considering the volume I read I suspect I would have outread my smallish local branch's selection by now so this is a small price to pay.

Use netgalley. I did use this a lot a few years back and liked the instant access to free upcoming titles but I  really am not a kindle fan and gave up on it years ago. However my blogging bestie Sarah uses it daily to keep herself in books and could read exclusively off it and never need pick up a physical book. This would pain me physically but each to their own.

Swap and share with other friends. Sarah and I have piles of books saved up for one another. Sadly she doesn't live close enough for me to visit all that regularly but when we do see one another we arrive with a pile of books to swap. Anything I have that arrived which is fantasy goes to straight to Sarah and any contemporary books she receives come my way. This also helps with blogger guilt when you've been kindly sent a book which really isn't you and you feel like you don't want to let the publicist down.

Tip two: Stop buying stuff you don't need

Stop buying subscription boxes. Just think carefully  do you really need to pay £30 for one book? I know you get other stuff in there but do you need it? Would you have gone out and bought those things by choice. I'm suspect the answer is probably no.  What if the book turns out to be one you don't like? What a nice waste of money that turned out to be. I used to be goldsboro's book of the month club member. £30 a month on books that more often than not I couldn't even finish ... what was I thinking? The psychology around these boxes must be fascinating because I found it so hard to quit in case I missed out on something later on after I cancelled.

Stop buying books you don't love. I was a raging preorderer at one point and so many of those books ended up on my DNF pile and given away. Borrow books from the library first. If you love it after reading it then buy a copy for your shelf. Hell buy a copy for everyone you know. In the spirit of full confession I must admit I still allow myself a couple of exceptions to this rule namely anything by Keris Stainton, Sarra Manning or Non Pratt because I love everything they do.

Stop buying books you don't read. Do you really need to fill your house with books that just look pretty? What's the point of owning something for if never to be loved and used. This is why things exist. Of course we all deserve nice things. The world has been an utterly miserable place at sometimes in 2017 so by all means keep them looking lovely, display them beautifully but don't buy them solely to look pretty. The books deserve better. They need to fulfill their reading purpose.

Tip three: If all else fails set a budget

If you can't go completely book buying cold turkey look at how you can restrict it a bit. Set yourself a monthly book budget which is affordable so you don't have to do the books or groceries debate and see how far you can make that budget go. If you have a budget spending it all on one beautiful book is still possible but if it's 1 beautiful book vs four or five normal books you sure as hell are going to really want that beautiful book to make the sacrifice which is perfectly fine decision to make. One of my favourite ways to make said budget stretch further is by buying second hand. My local library sells books for 30p. I've picked up books in charity shops for less than £1. Granted the condition of some of them are less than perfect but I've often found second hand books where condition of them is excellent.
However ....

Please note none of my tips advocate book piracy. Book piracy is stealing, it hurts authors and puts future potential books by beloved authors at risk because future books in series and future book contracts depend on sales. Buy a book to support authors you love. If you can't afford to buy or don't want to instead go and borrow it from a library  either in physical form or ebook and the author will still get paid for every loan. There is literally no excuse to access books illegally.