I had to buy a book recently. It hurt. Much as I love books, my financially sensible self would rather get them from the library or stock up on a few good novels at the school fair at $2 to $3 each.

The main exception to this rule is the three to six books I buy a year for book group. I view the money spent on those as the cost of belonging to the book club.

This month, I wanted my children to read a particular book. Borrowing from the library wasn't an option because I wanted to refer back to it. So I had to cough up.

A Google search showed I could get the book at The Parenting Place's bookshop for $38.90, including postage, $39.95 at Whitcoulls and $27 plus postage on Trade Me.

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My debit card baulked at the indignity.

It feels good to shop at The Parenting Place or Whitcoulls. But this wasn't a book I yearned for. It was a necessary purchase. Shopping around paid off.

The same book, including postage, was $16.36 from BookDepository.co.uk and $16.58 from Fishpond.co.nz (which ships from overseas). I settled on Fishpond.

I hope my small purchases also help keep a Kiwi in work. I should add that Fishpond's reviews on PriceSpy.co.nz are painful to read. I took the risk because I also like the idea of being able to return items to a New Zealand address, if necessary.

The moral of the tale is that if you really must buy a book, shop around.

More deals

Whitcoulls: Buy 1 get 1 half-price on all children's books. Offer ends Sunday April 6. Lowest priced item half-price.

Fishpond.co.nz: Pre-order The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike) in hardback for $26.08.

The Warehouse: Buy 1, get 1 half-price on bargain fiction books until Tuesday.