Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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And I thought I spent a lot on books

Actually, I *don’t* think I spend a lot on books — compared to how much I spend on other luxuries/necessities, such as dog treats. Much less how much I spend on real things like vet care! My vet loves me, I promise you.

On the other hand, I sort of thought I spent a good bit on books compared to how much other people spend on books. Well, let me tell you, I am in no way an outlier on this BookRiot post!

I read about 100 books last year and bought slightly more than that — about 130. The two lists don’t overlap quite as much as you might think; I read just about half of the books I bought — 62, counting four or so DNF titles. The remainder are still on my TBR pile, where they may sit for a good long time yet, it’s hard to say.

Some books are gifts, but most I buy. The local library is small and it’s generally not worth checking to see if they have what I want, so I let my membership lapse ages ago. I buy mostly Kindle books, but there are some exceptions, like THE VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK, which I think is just too pretty a package to buy anything but the hardcover. I’m more likely to buy a Kindle book if it’s $5.99 or under; over that, and I’m more likely to put it on my wishlist so I don’t forget about it. But if I know I definitely want to read it, I will probably go ahead and buy it. Or if I know the author at all and I want to get the book someday, of course I’m likely to get it when it comes out, because that kind of thing matters to authors. Same if it’s a debut author and I have some reason to think I will like her book; I’ll probably pick it up now and read it, well, whenever.

Even so, I very much doubt that I spend over $1000 per year on books and I strongly suspect it’s less than that. (Maybe not a lot less.)

Nineteen respondents to Book Riot’s survey report spending more than $2000 for books last year (out of about 2500 respondents total). That doesn’t seem totally unbelievable . . . but I see one data point at about $25,000. Is that even possible? The greatest outlier is $70,000. On books. In one year. I . . . am kind of having a hard time believing that.

Unless these are people who collect rare first editions! Whew, glad I thought of that, because it does bring those numbers into the realm of possibility.

The mean number of books read in 2014 was 70. I’m pleased to see that the Book Riot folks get that mean is not the only way to state an average: the mode was 30 and the median 55. You can see some outliers must have read A LOT of books to pull the mean that far away from the mode. The greatest number of books reported read last year was 800. Wow. A) A lot of those were itsy bitsy kids books. B) That person reads REALLY fast.

Anyway, interesting! They’re still wading through the data, too.

About how many books do you all read per year? Do you have any idea? I know it was about twice as many for me before I started writing, so my natural number per year is probably close to 200. How about you?

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3 Comments And I thought I spent a lot on books

  1. pete mack

    Wow. I can’t imagine keeping a TBR pile of 62 unread books. I probably do buy 60-70 a year. Thinking about that, Amazon Prime is looking a LOT better.

  2. Craig

    The principle way to spend multiple thousands on books in one year is to start collecting expensive old books. I’d be surprised if that’s not how your $25K and $70K examples managed the trick: once you start down that track, it can absorb pretty much all the money you’re willing to spend.

    My annual total of books read is a bit over 200, the last few years. Books bought in a year, I don’t know, but it probably averages more than that. It goes up and down depending on used book sale attendance, I think. I’m afraid to count my TBR pile, but it’s significantly more than 62.

  3. Rachel

    My actual TBR pile is over 200 titles, but only about sixty went on it last year. The others were already there.

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