Tools of the Trade: Magazines

Last year for my birthday/Christmas (they’re very close) I was given some gift cards and some cash (sweeeeet), and I did something different with it: I bought two magazine subscriptions: National Geographic Traveler and Real Simple.

I LOVE magazines, and getting them in the mail every month or so is like getting another present all over again. Magazines are great if you only have short chunks of time to sit down and read, and I find they often inspire me to seek out books to read as well. Real Simple has book recommendations in every issue, and Nat Geo Traveler will often include book recos related to the places they are featuring.

Of course, you can use the library for magazines, or only buy them when a particular issue strikes your fancy, but I’ve found the subscription to be one of those little splurges ($10-20 for a year) that gives me a ton of happiness.

Get it:

Nat Geo Traveler: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, National Geographic. P.S. When my kid’s older, I’m totally getting him the Nat Geo Little Kids magazine, but I do not promise not to hog it!

Real Simple: Barnes and Noble, Real Simple

Do you subscribe to any magazines? Have you ever?

*If you use these links to make a purchase, Lector’s Books may receive a small commission. This will not affect your price or purchasing experience in any way.

Tools of the Trade – Your Local Library

Imagine a bookstore where you can leave with armfuls of books without paying – and you can even ask for help finding what you want. Rather not venture out into the wild blue yonder? Imagine a digital bookstore open 24/7 where you can download audiobooks or e-books without ever getting off the couch, again, all for no charge.

This magical place exists, of course, and it is your local library. Now, the “without paying” is not quite true, since you help fund it with your taxes, but since you’ve already paid for it, make as much use of it as you can!

My local library, despite an alarming tendency to shelve all fiction together (noooooo!) is wonderful. They run an interactive, fun, and educational story time for babies and children three times a day during the week, they are well stocked, and their online system for placing holds on books is really easy to use. Also, they put on a May the Fourth event last year.

I’ve found that The Perfect Strategy for finding books at a library really depends on each individual library. Before we moved, I did best going in for a wander around. Here, however, (and the baby might have something to do with this) I do better if I place holds online and then go in to pick them up. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, talk to a librarian – sometimes they’ll even buy a book you ask for if it meets certain criteria and they don’t have it.

Seriously, use your library. It is an amazing community resource, and can greatly benefit you personally. They also often hold used book sales as fund raisers, and who doesn’t love a good used book sale?

Stay tuned later this week for a three part interview with a librarian!

Who out there is a fellow library lover?

Tools of the Trade – Bookbub

As you may have gathered by now, I am a voracious reader. I am also on a budget. That means I’m always on the lookout for how I can get books for not a lot of money. Enter Bookbub. It’s a site that sends you a daily email containing Kindle e-books that are either free or very discounted. You tell it which genres you are interested in, and it will only send you those genres.

So that’s the basic idea. I occasionally find it overwhelming – so many books, so little time! – and I have bought some books from them that I didn’t like or that were just simply not written well. I don’t know what their selection process is, it seems to have something to do with how well the book is rated on Amazon, but they don’t read every book they recommend, which is fair enough – they’d need to employ hundreds of readers to keep up (pick me! pick me!).

I have found Bookbub works best for snagging books that I already knew of and wanted to try, or authors I’m already familiar with. For a while, I felt compelled to buy every free book that looked even remotely interesting, but I’ve been able to reign that in. Some people are happy to have hundreds and hundreds of books on their e-readers that they have no intention of ever reading, but I do better with a well curated selection – I like to know what I have on my e-reader and why. I’ll either read it or delete it, so I don’t have to look at it anymore, even if I paid for it.

So that’s Bookbub in a nutshell. What about you? Do you subscribe to any free book emails?