We Will Pay

Friday, November 5, 2010

We've all heard about how wonderful an idea it is to read to a baby.

Even before they are born, we're encouraged to read to them. Once they're here, we are told to limit TV time, and to surround a child with books instead. We aim to instill in them a love of reading. We're raised to see "bedtime stories" as not only beneficial in terms of development, but as a time to bond and connect with our children.

Books are memories.

I don't know about you, but I still remember my parents reading me bedtime stories when I was small. I remember the Mercer Mayer, Berenstain Bears, Clifford, Amelia Bedelia, and other books we collected.

When we were a little bit older, I remember the three of us kids piling in my mom's bed and she would read us a chapter or two of a novel (I specifically recall her reading Matilda) before telling us to go to bed. We had to wait until the next night for the story to continue.

In elementary school, I consumed Babysitters Club books as if they were going out of style. In middle school, I read Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine, among other things.

I could talk for hours about all of the books I remember reading while I was growing up.

Books are memories.

It wasn't until I was about to become a parent myself that I realized that, in order to build a collection for my own child--in order to build her a little library--we would have to spend a small frickin' fortune.

Children's books are expensive, y'all. Like really expensive when you add them all up.

Board books with six, maybe eight pages? You know, the classics? Expect those to cost you anywhere between $8 and $13.

A cheap, paperback Mercer Mayer story about Christmas? I saw it priced at $7 in Target the other day.

These things take five minutes to read, and yet they often charge $1 or more per page. PER PAGE. They do this because they know that we will pay.

We will pay for Nora to have a bookshelf full of books from which to choose.

We will pay in order to create the memories of holding her in our arms as we flip through the pages of what will become her favorites.

We will pay in order to have the moments in which I watch her as she drifts to sleep, as I shed a tear reading Someday, or Love You Forever.

We will pay. And they know that.

Those bastards.


Heather,  November 5, 2010 at 2:59 PM  

(If you don't mind used books) I've been building a nice little collection via Swap.com. You have to have books you are willing to trade, though. All you pay for is the shipping to send out your book!

Katie November 5, 2010 at 3:01 PM  

I completely agree. Thankfully, my mom kept almost ALL my books. I also put a few on my registry, but can you believe we only got ONE set of three books? I think reading to your children is SOOOO important. I was a huge fan of Amelia Bedelia, and I collected The Babysitters Club books like they were going out of style, too. Such memories! It sucks that they're soo expensive, but good for you for not letting that hold you back from creating memories for Nora.

Mrs. B November 5, 2010 at 3:07 PM  

Ask for books for little Nora for Christmas, her birthday, just because... they will last longer than clothes and be put to good use for her and all the children to come!

Start small...your collection will build. :) I love books and reading to little ones.

Heather November 5, 2010 at 3:20 PM  

Heather--I definitely don't mind used books, as long as they are in nice condition and don't reek of smoke or anything. But we don't have any to trade!

Katie--My mom saved a ton of our books, too, and I was able to steal several of them from her. But she wants to keep a collection at her house for visits with Grandma, too!

Mrs.B--Definitely, that's the plan. I've already told a few people, BOOKS for Christmas!! :)

Anonymous,  November 5, 2010 at 3:28 PM  

I do better online for kids books. Even just B&N or Amazon seems to be cheaper than "in real life." But $7 for a Mercer Meyer book is ridiculous - I think they're like $5 at Barnes and Noble. And they're $3.99 at Amazon.com.

Good luck!

Lindsay November 5, 2010 at 3:43 PM  

I feel the same way. It is SO aggravating. I am due in February with our first baby. When I got pregnant a friend of mine bought me a book that was one of her sons favorite books. She told me that she loves to get books at TJ Max, they are like $3-$4 instead of $7-$8. I will definitely be looking there. So, I don't know if you have those stores or something like it, but it may be worth looking into. :)

jack+alli November 5, 2010 at 3:47 PM  

ive started getting dr seuss books at goodwill. theyre about $1. or 50 cents on their half off saturdays.
just thought id throw that out there ;)
i agree- books make memories! i love that your mom read part of a novel before bedtime; i want to do that!

Eric's Mommy November 5, 2010 at 3:47 PM  

Ugh, I know! We have decent used book store near us and the children's books there are even pricey, especially anything hard cover.

Nicole November 5, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

For those of you who aren't Moms yet-I have a great idea my Mother-In-Law did for my shower...have every guest bring a baby book! I ended up with about 20 books just from my one shower-it was great!

Jenna November 5, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

Hey Heather! First of all Nora is too cute! I have been reading your blog for awhile and I am due with a little girl in December myself. I know this is too late now but I thought I would through this out for the future. For my baby showers the hostess put on the invitation to give a book to help build the baby's library instead of buying a card. If you think about it, for a few more dollars you have something that you will keep and cherish with your child instead of a card that usually gets put in a box or even the trash and usually not again looked at. I have ended up with probably 50 books due to this. Some people even bought several books. And some people wrote in theirs so that is another thing that can be cherished. I don't know about you but I love Dr. Suess books. Right now at Kohl's they have them for $5 and they are hardback. And 100% of the net profit goes to support kids' health and education. Just thought I would pass this along!

Michelle November 5, 2010 at 4:25 PM  

To this day, if I'm out with my mom and I see a book I want, she buys it for me. We were never denied books. We didn't have a nintendo or any other gaming system but we could play educational games on the computer and got any decent, age appropriate book that we wanted growing up. They always encouraged reading! Good for you to star that collection now!

Mrs. B November 5, 2010 at 4:26 PM  

Three words: Library book sales!
Our son's library is about 90% "used" books purchased for 25-50 cents a piece at semi-annual local library book sales. I put used in quotes becasue the majority of them look as though they were never even touched. Two months before he was born, I went to one sale and filled a bag with 45 board and hardcover children's books for a whopping $8.50 - less than the price of many new books.
Also, you can find a lot of favorites on Amazon for much less if you are willing to buy them used.

Anonymous,  November 5, 2010 at 5:18 PM  



Sarah November 5, 2010 at 5:35 PM  

I use ReadItSwapIt in the UK - they recommend http://www.bookins.com/ in the US. Like what Heather said about Swap.com, you only pay for the postage. I'm an English teacher so I have waaaaaaaaay too many books, and it's much cheaper to swap them this way than keep on buying more. I've had a lot of virtually brand new books as well.

amybyrd November 5, 2010 at 6:23 PM  

Heather look up the Imagination Library--its Dolly Parton's charity and in certain zip codes they mail the kids a book a month til their 5--They do it in our town--we are still waiting for our first book.

Bailey November 5, 2010 at 7:28 PM  

I agree with the ladies above. Library sales and used book stores are where it's at! There is just no sense in buying a book brand new! You can definitely find good quality, barely-used books at these places for a bargain price! Great job on beginning to build her library now!! She'll love you for it :)

Jessica November 5, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

I used to love Babysitters Club and Goosebumps. Amazon has some great deals and other stores sell sets of books for decent prices during the holiday shopping season. It truly is sad that books cost so much, but at the same time it is definately worth every penny.

Catherine November 5, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

I'm not sure if you have an Ollie's by you or not (I am from the Buffalo area -and I know you aren't too far from there-we have a few here, but they have books for a few dollars. I am due in just a few weeks and went a few weekends ago and stocked up on board books. I also second the library book sales. Awesome deals and the books are in great shape!

Kayla November 6, 2010 at 3:49 AM  

Look for some secondhand books. Ask for some for Christmas. Or check some out from the library!

Sarah November 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM  

Also check out baby and children consignment sales- I was SO excited to fill up our baby's bookshelf but discovered how expensive the books were new. I went to ONE consignment sale and found almost 30 books in almost-new or new condition and got them for $1-$5 a piece. I also found bookplates online (for free!) that I printed on stickers to cover up any names that were written in the books

Anonymous,  November 6, 2010 at 1:55 PM  

i remember i would read "Good Night Moon", "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie", and Berenstein Bears books before bed. They were my favorite!

Megan M,  November 6, 2010 at 7:22 PM  

Have you tried a book-of-the-month club??? It can be a good thing, but make sure you ready the terms and conditions really carefully.

Erin November 6, 2010 at 8:41 PM  

library card? My 20 month old loves picking out a stack of books for the week. It has also been a good place to connect with other moms at "story time"

Katie November 6, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

I recently went to a baby shower where we were asked to get a book for the baby instead of a card (since we all throw cards away). SO, we all wrote a little something to the baby inside the book, and it helped to build her a library. Not a bad idea to help the parents out. Everyone contributes a few dollars.

Vanessa November 7, 2010 at 6:16 AM  

I LOVED Babysitters Club books!

My Mom buys me books if we are out together and I see one I want to this day as well.

As a child going to buy a book was a really nice treat, and we went to the library too. I think it's nice to have books to keep and have on the shelf, but that once Nora gets older it will be good to take her to the library as well - it's so wondrous to have that big array to choose from, and I think it teaches kids about sharing, taking responsibility, bringing a book back on time etc...

Kristin November 8, 2010 at 9:44 AM  

There are tons of ways to get books for a fraction of the costs. First, use the library! If you want to actually own the books, go to garage sales (most books are 25 cents), thrift stores, TJMaxx, Ollies, etc. I read all the time and never purchase books new. You can fill Nora's shelves without breaking the bank, trust me.

Anonymous,  November 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

You couldn't me more right, Heather. I work in printing and know how much a book 'actually' costs the publishing house. They are making bank on these books in retail!

Amanda November 8, 2010 at 4:36 PM  

I would encourage you all to check out library sales, but also the teacher resources out there, such as links from Scholastic.com, or other teacher related websites that may lead to discounts on books. Also, Barnes and Noble and Borders usually have several weekends each year where they sell hal-price kids books. I was laughing as I read your post, as I remember reading ALL the books you mentioned and others as a child and most are in storage for when my husband and I have kids.

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