Saturday, September 09, 2006

Book Budgets

Yvonne Lee asked some interesting questions in the comments this morning. I thought they deserved to be 'front paged'.:
  • What do you think of the change in the recent budget which means that individual taxpayers will benefit from the additional tax relief given fro the purchase of books which has now been raised from RM1000 from RM700?
  • How much does a voracious reader actually spend in a year?
  • Do books buyers actually keep the receipts and claim them?
  • How much do you buy and when and how much are you willing to part for a book you really like? One hundred, two hundred bucks?
Yvonne adds:
Eh....sorry, sound so patronising laa, but I think some people (hahaha...nosy parkers like myself???) are curious about what others spend... Am researching for a story.
*Sigh*. I'll go first. My name's Sharon and I'm a bookaholic. I hide the the plastic bags from MPHTimesKinoBordersSilverfishPopular before my husband sees them. I chuck the and boxes into the car on the way back from the letter box so they don't attract attention. I can't enter a shopping mall without knowing that my feet will take me to a bookshop, and once inside I am unlikely to leave without at least one book. Warehouse sales are paradise. Amazon one-click is my downfall.

My habit costs me hundreds of ringgit a month. I am afraid of what the figure would be if I totalled it up.

I like to buy hardbacks or at least trade paperback when I can. I value quality of paper and nice binding. I only very occasionally buy coffee -table books, but love to collect glossy artbooks and books about Malaysia. The most I've spent on a single book is around RM200.

I am a Silverfish Bookbug, an MPH Reader's Circle member, and have a discount card from Times. I clip Kinokuniya vounchers from the Star. Every little ... doesn't help. It just makes you buy more.

I'm glad of the tax relief. I will try to keep receipts ... but I am so disorganised that they usually get crumpled up tin the bottom of my bag (underneath the books) along with oddcoinsdirtytissuescrushedlipsticksflyersforkentuckyfriedchickennuggests-
oldshoppinglistssquidgedMentoesleakingmineralwaterbottle ... until i get so disgusted by the chaos of my life I chuck everything out and start again.

Receipts included.

I am not proud of any of this.


Tina said...

Don't know if this would help you any, Sharon. I mean, you might take it as license to go and feed your dependency problem further :-) I'm no tax accountant but I believe your work entitles you to corporate tax deductions book-wise on an unlimited basis. So long as you can provide them receipts (makes sense to hang onto even those lipstick-smeared ones). This is the beauty of having a Sdn Bhd. So I guess you'll be making more forays to KinoMPHBordersTimesEtc now.

bibliobibuli said...

the ones that do make it home intact go into an envelope and thence to my accountant. you're quite right, it is a legitimate expense.

Eliza said...

Thought I'd help out...

* What do you think of the change in the recent budget which means that individual taxpayers will benefit from the additional tax relief given fro the purchase of books which has now been raised from RM1000 from RM700?

I think it's great - if I can remember to keep and file the receipts. However, what would be better is if the prices of books can come down. Additionally, I wish Malaysia has more and better libraries that can be cheap reading hideaways (one which doesn't bar you from bringing in your own notebooks and laptops, preferably). I prefer to own books but it's not possible to buy every single title that catches my fancy.

* How much does a voracious reader actually spend in a year?

Am not sure if I am a voracious reader - but I spend easily RM200-RM300 each bookstore visit and there's at least one visit each month (if I'm disciplined).

* Do books buyers actually keep the receipts and claim them?

I have not yet. Am trying to do so this year.

* How much do you buy and when and how much are you willing to part for a book you really like? One hundred, two hundred bucks?

As per above - RM200 -RM300 a visit and half the time this includes books for my kids. If there's a book I really really am in love with, am willing to go up to RM250. Can't remember the most expensive book I bought but the most recent one was for

Hope this helps!

Eliza said...

..around a hundred and fifty, a history tome...

(the sentence got truncated above)

Yvonne Lee said...

Hi Sharon! Thanks for posting this.

I usually buy the most during the warehouse sale. During the last BBS sale, I went four trips, total damage, close to rm600. I scooped many children's books, good quality hard cover ones. I love travelogues but they are difficult to get at warehouse sales.

So I get them at bookstores and if my friend's on duty, I get a staff price:)

The last haul, I bought 4 Travellers' Tales series, each costing rm79. That, I'm willing to spend becuase I simply love travelogues. Especially humour types.

I think you're right, the rm1000 tax relief incentive is not that much if one buys a lot regularly. But, it's at least something to encourage reading habits.

But frankly, I think making books cheaper or giving incentives wouldn't help much if the reading habit doesn't run in the family. You see, someone can say that spending rm100 on a book is expensive, if she's not a reader. But when she buys a bottle of La Mer for the face at rm 480, it's not expensive. It's a matter of what you value.

If you really value something (and can afford it), money is not an issue.

I used to spend a lot on clothings and cosmetics but now rather spend that amount on books which I can pass down to others.

Another thing, I also think that when bookstores offer huge discounts, there's a spike in sale volume. I do take advantage of such promotion to buy books that I had been eyeing on.

Lastly, for all the books that we can accumulate, I suppose, it's equally important that we make the effort to actually read them all. I'm constantly reminding myself this by putting my 'brand-new-and-yet-to-be-read' book everywhere in the house, car and office. A collection, no matter how vast, is not any useful if it's being kept untouched, it's spine unblemished.

Happy Reading!

irene said...

Like you, Sharon, I'm always irresistably drawn to bookshops and sometimes spend up to RM300 at one go, so for me the RM1000 tax relief isn't much. I reach that before half the year is over!

I do keep the receipts, because I chuck the receipts in the bag together with the books, so when I take the books out, I toss the receipt into my "junk drawer" where I will later hunt for all the important stuff I knew I had to keep but couldn't bother organising. *grins*

I think the most expensive book I've ever bought was RM80. I can't spend too much on a single book coz I still feel vaguely guilty when I buy books. My parents used to say there's no point buying fiction; they advocate buying reference books which you will keep coming back to and using again & again. They've never understood why I want to re-read my storybooks, since I already know the story!

Argus Lou said...

Ooooh, I so love questions like this. They legitimise the compulsive book buyer in me. ;-)

I try to keep the receipts but they fade to nothing after a few years. How?! And we're supposed to keep them for seven years. Can book sellers please use better-quality ink and paper for receipts?

My yearly buys total anything from RM500 to RM1,000. (Now that I live near a free library, I'm a bit relieved. Besides, I'm resolved to finish reading all the books I've bought. Somehow suspect that resolve is going to dissolve once in a while. Heh.)

Most expensive book bought? Around RM160.

Xeus said...

I used to buy books till I ran out of space for them :( Would gladly buy more if I can find out where to put my old books. Any takers?

The Visitor said...

how come i've never bumped into you in any of the bookstores, Miss Biblio?

btw, my word verification was "fakkradi".

irene said...

Xeus: I'm sure that if you asked around, there would be any number of people willing to buy some of your books from you... I know I would ;)

I too am running out of shelf space! Aiks!

Andrew said...

We don't have anything like that where I am from, but it sounds like a good idea!

To Love, Honor and Dismay

bibliobibuli said...

eliza - i'm with you on the libraries. btw please suggest books that you'd like to see in the BC library as i will be compiling a shopping list soon!

yvonne - that big bookshop sale spoilt us i think! - i have lots of travel books if you ever want to borrow.
i like the idea of putting books around the house to remind you that they need to be read! i have a whole stash in my bedroom for this reason
cosmetics does seem a waste of money when you could buy books instead!

irene - *sigh* you can never justify rereading (or even reading)the fiction to folks who haven't been there themselves

argus lou - how sad they we need to legitimise our book-buying habit! agree with you about the quality of receipts. i think they also should be bigger so they are less likely to lose of printed on coloured paper. i don't tend the lose the receipts, but i seldom can find the local bookshops receipts when i need them

xeus - there's only one logical conclusion - you need to move to a bigger house

visitor - dunno - strange, isn't it?

andrew - you mean the tax relief? don't you have it on books in the US?

Xeus said...

Irene, come over any time and take your pick!

And Argus Lou, I still haven't read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Spot said...

I want to answer the questions, but I can't get my mind off the thought that you have old kfc nuggets at the bottom of your bag!!!!


bibliobibuli said...

no lah spot - flyersforkfcchickennuggests! can't you read!!

Chet said...

What's "quidged" at the bottom of your bag beneath the books?

My current lunchtime reading is a book called Steeles on Wheels: A Year on the Road in an RV. About a couple who sold their house and moved into an RV which they drive all around the US of A. Does this count as a travelogue?

Current as in one chapter most days. Have been reading it for ever, it seems.

Spot said...

Ooops. I can read. Just not very well!

Had read it as "flyer, fork, kfc nuggets,..."

bibliobibuli said...

chet - squidged. i'll give you a job as proofreader

spot - excuses!

Chet said...

"chet - squidged. i'll give you a job as proofreader"

Yes, please. I may be looking for one.

Argus Lou said...

Spot, you're too funny -- fancy not getting past the KFC chicken nugget smouldering-mouldering-moulding at the bottom of Bib's bag.

I found an old small round of cheese red-wrapped - you know the kind - at the bottom of my knapsack. Phew! My bag still smells till now.

Xeus, you're good yet evil. No need to read 'Midnight in the Garden' lah - you'll only yearn to visit Savannah, Georgia, after that.

Bib, I'm poor as hell, with no income now - but I still want to buy books. I so envy your recent book-grabbing sprees.

Anyone want to send me a copy of Chuck Palahniuk's 'Lullaby' for cheap? It's the only one of his I haven't read.