Why buying bargain books is better than putting pic n mix in your pants – probably

Modern high street bookshop

Image: Pixabay

I’m a BAD shopper.

I don’t mean in the urban slang sense, of course. A white, middle aged English woman using urban slang is about as pleasant a sight as you’d expect it to be, innit, and I suspect could cause serious trauma, blu-blu-blood.

A helpline would have to be set up and one of those messages broadcast – the ones you see after TV programmes about gangs or granny rustling:

If you’ve been affected by anything you’ve seen tonight …

I also don’t go around filling my pants with pic n mix or exposing myself in sporting goods departments or putting waders on the lingerie mannequins, or going to the cosmetics counter to ask the ladies if it’s part of their job description to wear every product they sell all at the same time …

I don’t do any of these things. Sometimes I feel like doing some of them – I’ll leave you to guess which.

I’m a bad shopper because I don’t really enjoy it. I don’t browse happily through one ladies wear department to the next, joyfully throwing on every pair of foil slacks, squirrel fur onesie and sequinned jumpsuit on the rails.

The way my shopping outings usually go is as follows:

(1) Root through the plastic storage box that passes for my clothes drawer.

(2) Think ‘Ooh, I really don’t have enough cardigans / jumpers for the chilly English climate.’

(3) Think ‘Ah, yes, that’s because they had holes in them / I did the gardening in them / wore them until they resembled the pelt of something dead, buried and disinterred. Then I threw them away.’

(4) Think ‘I really must get around to buying some more.’

(5) Realise it is in fact April and therefore the shops will only be selling bikinis, flip flops and sarongs for the next three months.

(6) Shrug, go make a cup of tea, eat a Hobnob and resign myself to wearing the same ragged, mouse den knitwear until the New Year sales.*

There is one thing (apart from tea and biscuits) that I am good at buying and that’s books.

Despite my self-imposed Amazon ban (Thou shalt not purchase papery beloveds from the jaws of the sulphur-scented online Behemoth – on pain of being very disappointed and giving yourself a good telling off) I still can’t resist a bargain.

You must’ve seen the offers when you go into book shops or supermarkets. Those naughty, tempting stickers on the paperbacks, the ones that say

Buy one get one half price.

To a bookish type, these stickers are as tempting as a Costa Chai Latte to a sugar addict and I can find myself prowling a table for fifteen minutes or more, one book in hand, desperately trying to find a second so I can only spend half the cover price on it.

It has meant I’ve bought books I was only half interested in, so it’s a good thing I only paid half of what they’re worth. Of course the sensible thing would be to stick with the book I really want and save myself a small amount of money and from having a book on my To Be Read list that I’m not bothered about reading.

Over the weekend, I found myself in this position. The morning had been a bit dispiriting, so to cheer myself, I headed not for the nearest stiletto shop but into WHSmith in the hope of papery nirvana.

What did I find, but a whole shelf of Buy one get on half price paperbacks – joy.

And better than that, I spotted two books I really want to read – Kate Atkinson’s A God In Ruins and Costa Book of the Year winner, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. Excited as a puppy with two tails, I bounded to the counter and handed the cashier my one and a half paperbacks’ worth of cash.

Once home, I had the pleasure of adding my purchases to the TBR Everest next to my bed, only to spot a familiar looking spine already in the stack …

A flickering memory assaulted my brain …

Standing in the supermarket, holding a lovely, crisp paperback, desperately looking for another to buy to fulfill the Buy one get one half price offer … Spotting A God in Ruins and skipping happily to the checkout with it!

Yes, I have in fact, bought Kate Atkinson’s book twice, both times on a half price deal. This means several things.

(1) Kate Atkinson’s publisher has done big deals with several major book retailers.

(2) I have now reached the age where I really am not to be trusted to buy books without supervision.

(3) I have a spanking new copy of A God in Ruins in dire need of a good home. 

Any takers?


Do you find yourself drawn to these naughty offers, or do you resist and always pay full price for your literary fix? Do let me know.

*At which time, I will forget I need knitwear again until the sales are over. Then, in April, I’ll root through the plastic storage box that passes for my clothes drawer …



43 thoughts on “Why buying bargain books is better than putting pic n mix in your pants – probably

  1. Craft shops were my addiction, but now I live in a small town with very few shops and rarely get the chance to shop (hate clothes shopping)
    I’m a sucker for bargain book piles but I don’t very often find anything I want to read. I’ve bought several of the cheapy ‘Classics’ books because they’re ones I feel I should read (most are still unread). I mostly buy from my local newsagent. He’s an independent, loves books and we often have long chats about what we’ve read. He’s happy to order anything, and once when his supplier took three months to send a book he gave it to me for nothing 🙂
    The charity shop is another good place and my local library has a book box where you can donate unwanted books and pick up something else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Used to love scouring the charity shops for books. We had several down our nearby shopping street. Now the charity shops seem to have reduced their book sections so there’s very little to choose from now. Bless your local newsagent – sounds like a great guy to know 🙂


      1. Haha! My mum makes her own cards and at one time I used to send her different papers and cellophanes from the shops I worked in for her to use in her designs – she loved it. There are worse addictions 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ooh, a craft room, that’s nice – a kind of girl den! I often wondered if I’d really fancy a dedicated room to work in, but I kind of like being able to see the remnants of our lives around me and when the sun shines, the light is great in our dining room, so I’m happy enough. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nice to have your own space, a place to keep odds, ends … and more odds and ends! Mum has trouble finding space for all her stuff too – a shed is what’s required, I think 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. It’s a contemplative thing, isn’t it? Got into crochet (on a very basic level) a few years ago and it really helped my anxiety at the time – something about twiddling with your fingers. I must pick up my hook again!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I DO love shopping but only when I am in the mood! Some days I can prowl endlessly thru a store, and some days I just flip over a couple tees and leave. Books…oh, I do judge by the cover. I love searching thru books and picking out the perfect one. And I too have dbl bought books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank goodness it’s not just me! It would be interesting to know why we’re drawn to certain book covers – the whole psychology of why publishers use certain colours/typefaces and so on for certain genres. It’s terrifically important to get right re sales.


      1. I know what you mean – you can spot chicklit from a mile away. All pastel colours and cartoonish pics of women shopping – not for me 🙂


      2. Wise, very wise. Though I do have Gone Girl waiting for me on my TBR pile. I’ll buy a few but only if they really appeal to me and usually a couple of years after the fuss is over!


  3. This sounds a very familiar litany — well, apart from the bit about cardigans and stuff — the been-there-bought-the-T-shirt scenario. Like you I’m a sucker for book bargains, but last year I managed to get rid of more books than I acquired, and am trying to keep those proportions the same this year — wish me luck as I pass those charity shops, the Waterstone’s and especially the local indie. Thank goodness for the local library, it eases the cravings a little …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, I should use my local library more. But I think I’ve said to you before, their selection isn’t brilliant and I’m such a slow reader these days, I have to keep renewing books to I can actually finish them! Well done for showing such will power in the book buying stakes – I confess I’m very weak. I should start the BBA – Book Buyers Anonymous. ‘Hi, my name’s Lynn and it’s been two days since I bought a book …’ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We’re so lucky to still have our local library — though for how much longer? — and over the last few months at least half a dozen of the books I’ve reviewed have come from there. But if one isn’t blessed by such a one, and if local charity shops don’t keep a decent selection, I too would have to join yoir BBA, if it would have a recidivist like me!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha! Can’t promise I wouldn’t lapse myself 🙂 A local library is a rare gem these days. God forbid the poor and underprivileged might want to read …

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a terrible shopper too Lynn… It’s a chore, not a pastime for me.
    I have done the same as you! If even started reading a book thinking, this feels familiar, only to discover I’ve already read it.

    I have two copies of Wendy Cope’s Making Cocoa for Kinglsey Amis (but mind you the OH bought the second one for me not knowing I had already treated my self to it).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad it’s not just me! I REALLY, REALLY must have wanted to read that book 🙂 I’ve done that with my mother in law twice – bought books I knew she’d love, to find she’d already bought a copy herself. At least it shows the OH really knows what you lve 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will do – though I’ve started a Patrick Ness book first which is the size of a doorstop, so it may take a while to get bakc to you on that one 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have to be picky if you want to give it a go. But some of the authors are amazing. I’d recommend Patrick Ness, Phillip Pullman, Malorie Blackman to anyone because their writing is so ‘grown up’. Other (some more famous authors) not so much 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow! someone who feels the same about shopping as I do. I hate shopping. I make a list, get in, get out and go home. Clothes shopping is worse. I hate trying things on. If I like a jumper – I’ll buy four of different colours so I only have to make one choice. The Buy one get one half price drives me crackers because there’s never a second book I want – but I won’t buy a second book if I don’t like them, unless I think someone else will like it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hurray! Another clothes shopping hater! I have a rather nice selection of dresses bought over the last three or four years all bought for me by my other half – if he didn’t by clothes for me, I’d be in rags, I swear. And he makes some very good choices too 🙂 I should be as strong as you when it comes to Buy one get one half price, but it’s that feeling of walking away without a book – it kills me! Must be stronger 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Have to admit there has been a few times where I’ve had to phone home to check if I already have a book. I’ve also found having an Instagram account dedicated to books is extremely useful as I can see what’s on my shelves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! What a great idea. I would never have thought of that. Maybe I should take a pic of my TBR pile with my phone, then I’ll always be able to look at it. I will find a good home for it, though, never fear 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.