At the beginning of this week I had a quick business trip. At the airport, I went into a book store, as I often to, to browse around. I saw a row of books with a big Read and Return bookmark. Apparently, Paradise Shops, a chain of airport bookstores, has been operating this program since 2003.
The program goes like this: You buy one of their Read and Return books, and if you return the book within six months with the original receipt, you will get a 50% refund on the original purchase price. In essence, you have rented a book for 50% of sales price.
Certainly, it’s cheaper to get a book from the library or even buy it on Amazon.com. Most paperbacks I saw at the shop was $12-$18, so even 50% would be close to $10. That’s pretty steep for renting a book for a few days or even a couple of weeks.
So… of course you know what I did. I bought Mennonite in a Little Black Dress for $14.00 on Tuesday, finished it in one gulp, and then returned it when I came back yesterday. It was a 1-day book rental that cost me $7.00. And the book wasn’t as good as I had expected.
But, I would totally do this again. For the sake of my budget, though, it’d make sense to buy books at used book sales or even on Amazon. There is something to be said, however, for the convenience that the Read and Return program offers. Besides, a book is a healthier impulse purchase than a bar of chocolate, right? Right?