book spendingI know we still have a few days left in the year, but we are en route as I write this to pick up our holiday guest, and I know I won’t get in much reading time while he’s here. So this is as good a time as any to wrap up my year. I have posted already about my best books of the year. But how did those books fit into my larger library collection? What are my stats for spending and cost per book looking like now that I have plowed through 50-odd more books?

I am an inveterate stats-keeper and like to keep track of what I spend and what I read. People often tell me that eBooks must be more expensive than paper because you have to buy the gizmos. I started keeping track every year because I wanted to prove them wrong. So, how did I do?

1) Overall Spending

I spent about $165 on eBooks this year, down from last year’s total of $201. I actually got fewer books for it; I did not buy any new books at all for the first half of the year as part of a no-spending challenge, but I read in several more specialized genres where library books are not available, so eventually I made that up.

2) Number of Books Read

I read 50 books this year, up from last year’s total of 44. My highest year ever was 2010, with 102 books, but that was the year before I met the Beloved, and I would not trade my life with him for a few extra books crossed off the to-read list!

3) Cost Per Book

This is a lifetime stat for me; I calculate it based on accumulated amounts since I first started keeping track. It is, simply, total spent on both books and devices divided by number of books I have read. There are a few reasons I do it that way—the free books do subsidize the money I spend on paid ones, but the paid ones I have not gotten to yet count against me so it seemed the fairest way to get a true sense of how much the hobby actually costs me.

I used to get trade paperbacks at a local second-hand store for about $12 and then sell them back for two or three dollars, so if my cost-per-book comes out at under $10 I consider myself coming out ahead. So, here is the quick version:

Devices: I sold my Kobo Glo and got a free Kindle from my sister (thanks, Tammy!) so this went down a little. My lifetime spending, not counting the multifunction stuff like my phone, is $240.

Spending on Books: Counting this year’s $160 and change, my lifetime spending on purchased eBooks is $3927.72. Youch!

Total Books Read: Counting this year’s 50, my lifetime eBooks read, going back to 2008 when I first started keeping track, is 460 books.

So, if I divide spending by books read, that puts me at $8.88 per book—well under the 10-12 dollars I used to spend on paper!

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. I agree that using a ereader saves money. I like to read classics and they are now always free and I don’t have to buy the printed books. This save me a lot of money and space. The problem of holding a heavy book is also gone because every book has the same weight and it is always light.

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