Every time you want to buy something, ask yourself, "do I really need this (magazine, coffee, $200 Juicy sweatpants)?" If the answer is yes, at least see if you can buy it used.Today, the mice running the wheel in my brain took it a step further. Why even buy the used book? Why not use the library? Of course this doesn't work in some situations, for instance if you like to highlight or take notes in your book, or if you want to keep it, or it's not available at the library. However, if I think about the books I've bought, excluding those for school, I'd say at least half of those are readily available at the library. My primary motivation for buying books was that if I really liked it, I could recommend it to someone and give it to them, but if they can get it at the library, what's the purpose? Of course there are the dreaded due dates and the late fees for those who are too lethargic to lumber to the local library, but it's actually a positive. It will actually make me finish this book in less than 3 months.
If you're actually in a situation where you need to buy the book, then I recommend Half.com If you don't know, it's a branch of eBay, but the sellers set the price, so there is no auctioning. If you're a first time buyer, I can get you $5 off, just email me. It's also a great place to sell books. If you have room to store your books and don't need cash right away, you can just list your book for your price, and when it sells, you get the money. Or you can get $5 from your bookstore for a book you paid $100 for only 4 months ago. Decisions, decisions.
The other site I like to use is AddALL because it compares prices from many online retailers and finds you the best price. And they have cool trivia while you're waiting for the search. That's what gets me at least.
So, if I need a new book, here's my new mental process:
1. Is it available at the library - for free? yes........ you WIN!
no......... go to 2
2. Is it available used? yes........ you win, minus the cost
no......... you lose.... SUCKA!