Avid book buyers should consider a book club membership

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Book buying membership programs call themselves "Book Clubs" but shouldn't be confused with gatherings at the local coffee shop or bookstores. These programs advertise an enticing introductory offer such as "5 books for 99 cents." While these programs don't offer nearly the discount that it would seem at first glance, they might still be a good option for someone who buys a lot of books at full price. You just need to get the LOZO on how the Book Clubs work so you don't spend more than you bargained for. There are two main ways your costs start to add up with these programs: shipping and handling costs (even on the first set of books), and your obligation to buy more books at full price. You can expect to pay $2-4 per book for shipping and handling, so that first "5 for 99 cents" purchase is really more like 5 for $15-20 or so. Then you are on the hook for four more books at regular price, plus shipping again of $2-4 per book. The regular price books might be a little cheaper than your local bookstore, though you can usually do better if you wait for a sale. With shipping you're probably spending a little more than you would have otherwise. The costs really start to add up if you continue your membership and keep buying books at regular prices + shipping costs. If you want to get the most value out of one of these programs, here's the LOZO: stick with high-price bestsellers for your initial 5 books. This way you'll get the biggest possible savings versus what you'd have to spend at the bookstore. Then take advantage of any further discounts they offer on books, during your first purchase, AS LONG as those count towards your obligation. If not, don't bother. For the regular price books you are obligated to buy, go for the cheapest titles that interest you. As soon as you have met your obligation, CANCEL. Don't worry if you really liked the program: they'll probably offer you an aggressive promotion to try to get you back. If not, you can repeat this process for another club. has a directory of book clubs organized by genre and interest, and a profile of approximate costs.

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