FrugalityPNG3692149756_ca17fc8325_zNew hobbies can wreck a teacher’s budget, especially if she’s a research fiend. How to afford the books that will bring me up to speed on my new interests? I’m already a constant buyer. Besides, some books in the end may turn out to be wastes of money—just duplicates of other titles, or of free information online. I want to pick up the basics, then choose carefully to deepen my knowledge.

Here’s my solution. I’ll read the sample all the way through. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before. Maybe I viewed the sample as a pre-purchase filter; you were meant to skim it, decide if you wanted to buy it, and then buy. It never occurred to me to treat it as actual reading material. With my new approach, however, I’ll go one book at a time, download the sample and actually read it all the way through. If I get to the last page and still want to keep going, that’s when I will click and buy. My game-plan is working so far. A few of the books are long enough for a ten-percent sample to give me a good few chapters. One of the books I did go ahead and upgrade. Another one turned out to be a little on the dry side once I was a chapter in. That’s $14 saved.

I’ll buy the books I truly do want to get this time. But I want to avoid what happened last time when the new hobby bug bit me. I bought half a dozen books, in paper, because they were art ones, and I didn’t even get to some before the Next Thing came along.

Not now! Treating the sample like a readable book, not just a browsable preview, will help me shop smarter this time around.

Image credit: Matthew Hunt. CC-licensed.

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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. Yes, it is similar to reading some parts of a book in a book shop. However, when you are in a book shop and read a book for too long, someone who works there may talk to you and “ask” you to buy the book. With ebook samples, I saved a lot of money too. Many books only have an interesting chapter 1 and suddenly become very boring from chapter 2.

  2. I’ve been doing this ever since I started using ebooks. My limited income doesn’t allow me to waste money on books that I’ll wind up not reading. There’s only so much I’m willing to spend on a read-once piece of fiction. When it comes to research for a book of my own, I depend on samples, plus professional reviews. The table of contents is sometimes vital to understanding whether a book will meet my needs. I’m just surprised it would take anyone so long to figure out how useful samples can be.

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