Frugal Fiction: Book Clubs

Each month we use our FRUGAL FICTION post look to at different ways to make the most of your money and get more books for your buck! We take £8.00, an average RRP for a paperback, and see how much literature we can get for our money.

 Reviewer: Jane

In this world of ever increasing cost we are constantly looking at ways to save money in everything we do and buy and books are no exception!  So, here I am with my £8.00 budget and a topic of ‘Book Clubs’ for this months ‘Frugal Fiction’…  Where to start I thought and then later that day upon collecting my son from pre-school, what should come home with him but the ‘Scholastic Book Club’ catalogue!

I have to say I am a sucker for catalogues in general, it’s lovely to have a little time out and browse through shiny pages of lovely loot, and finding a little gem here and there within those pages makes it so much more worthwhile.  Browsing through the latest Scholastic catalogue provided a great way to see lots of books for different ages, all grouped by section and age range as well as great value book collections – such as the Julia Donaldson Pack, 6 books including Zog, Tabby McTat and the Snail & The Whale to name a few – for only £14.99.

We all love a bargain and especially in this run up to Christmas time so books such as Dinosaurs Love Underpants and The Stick Man at only £1.99 can provide fantastic stocking fillers for the pre-schoolers. Not forgetting the upper age ranges either, with the Classic Reads for Girls Trio – The Secret Garden, Flambards and Little Women at £8.99, providing a great value pack for any little girl starting to enjoy our timeless classics.

Scholastic also offers a fantastic system of providing 20p in every £1 you spend to your pre-school or school in free books – every time you buy books your school benefits too!  Scholastic offers free delivery (a great bonus when ordering from any company!), hence making it a rather beneficial book club to be part of all round.

But, Scholastic aren’t the only book club of this type out there.  I also had a good look at Red House.  They provide a similar type of loyalty scheme whereby you earn points every time you buy and points mean prizes – in this case – free books!!  
Of course these types of clubs aren’t just predominantly about children’s books, the Book People for example are a fantastic book club offering reading material across the whole spectrum  – from pre-school, children and Young Adult to Adult fiction, DIY, Cookery and Gardening to Health and Beauty, the list goes on.  I searched out The (complete) Hunger Games Trilogy for £4.99, alongside the Morganville Vampire Chronicles (a complete set of the first 6 books) for £6.99!  Now that’s what I call a bargain!  So once again, great savings are to be made on sets of books.  Order time and time again and qualify for a Points Passport – more free books!
Obviously all these kind of companies appear online too so you don’t just have to wait for the latest catalogue to end up in your paws, you can view their entire range online.  One way or another, this kind of shopping can be effortless for those not able to get out to bookshops at opening times.  Unfortunately though, the downside to this type of shopping is often the cost of delivery which these companies charge.  Whilst a £3.95 delivery charge may not seem a large amount (taking into consideration petrol, parking and time costs), it can obviously bump up the cost of your order, especially when ordering on a regular basis.
So, how did I get around to spending my £8.00 budget?

Scholastic – The Stick Man for  by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler £1.99

Scholastic – Aliens Love Panta Claus by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort – £1.99

Red House – The Night Before Christmas (incl. musical CD) by Clement C More – £3.99

Advantages: You can get some great books, new and classics for fantastic prices that you probably won’t find on the high street. You can order as many books as you like because you don’t have to carry them all home – they get delivered straight to your door!  You can find some good packs of books, especially for children, which can save a lot of money against purchasing individually. And of course, all of this can be done from the comfort of your own home, in your pj’s with a cup of tea if you so desire!!

Disadvantages:  Be careful what you buy in terms of book packs – these can often be spread across age ranges rather than just aimed at one group.  For example, you may believe you are purchasing a pack for a pre-schooler which may then end up having a couple of books in more suitable for a 5+ year old child.  So I would say, know what you want beforehand and check that all the books in the pack are suitable for you at that time.

Sometimes the quality of book packs from these kind of clubs can be slightly lower than that of which you are expecting – hence what appears as extremely good value can sometimes make you realise why they were such a good price!  Obviously last but not least, the delivery costs – which can bump up your purchasing costs quite considerably.

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