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Thoughts On Book Buying

February 12, 2009

Jessica had an interesting post up last week, which included the following:

I don’t buy books. Why don’t I buy books? Well, I do sometimes, but typically as gifts. I might spend $200 a year total. Here’s the thing. Last year, I kept track of all the books I read (409), and what I would have paid if I’d bought them all new on Amazon. Not full cover price, mind you! It would have cost me $5875.12. That’s 15% of my gross income, or significantly more than I put away toward retirement. It’s more than six months’ rent, even at the exhorbitant rates I pay.
Okay, why don’t you buy books? Or do you?

My book acquisition habits have changed significantly over the past few years (Bookmooch and review copies and contests oh my!). This year, faced with a TBR shelf that had barely been affected by my ‘no book buying’ resolution of last year, I’ve made myself a ‘no book acquiring’ resolution. That means, not only do I not buy books for myself, I also don’t enter in all the wonderful contests among fellow bloggers, accept review copies, or do any kind of book swapping site. Amusingly enough, this hasn’t actually made much of a dent in my TBR case. It just means I’m supporting my local library more then ever! Of the 43 books I’ve read this year, 36 were library ones.

the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are</em>.

Isn't this a great cover? The book is Rob Walker's Buying In: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are.

So, why don’t I buy books? First of all, I have way too much great books already waiting to be read. It seems silly to get more right now. Secondly, the money factor; being a student, I don’t have a ton of disposable income. And while I can get books for free from the library, I can’t say the same about clothes or nights out with friends. So books aren’t high on the priority list of spending! Thirdly, I have an incredible public library system that has almost every book I want to read. So I can get away with not acquiring any. Fourthly, space issues-my shelves are already overflowing in my bedroom at my parent’s house, as a student I don’t have any other permanent residence, and my goal for my career (at least in my 20s) is to move around the world frequently. So, I only want books in my library that I love, and the easiest way to achieve that is not acquire books I haven’t read yet.

That being said, I have allowed myself to buy books this year if they’re challenge reads that the library does have (that way, I know they’ll be read instead of languish in the TBR pile). In fact, just a couple nights ago I bought my first book of the year: Burmese Days by George Orwell. And I’m not going to lie; it felt great to wander around the bookstore, knowing that in the end I’d actually walk out with a book. I haven’t read it before, but I’ve loved everything I’ve read of Orwell, and my library has Finding George Orwell in Burma, so I have to read Burmese Days first! Plus, my concept of my ideal future library includes lots of classics and international books, so this will fit right in. ;)

That whole ‘ideal future library’ is definitely something in the back of my mind. I love full bookshelves, the smell and feel of books, the way that the books I own and how I organise them help define who I am. And there are a lot of books I read from the library that I’d like to have one day sitting on my shelves. But at this point in my life, when I’m still a student, it just isn’t practical to keep building up my collection. *sigh*

Also, I know there’s been a lot of discussion about supporting the book publishing industry, which of course requires buying books. But the way I look at it is (and this is a completely un-informed impression), by supporting my library, I encourage them to buy books. And they buy more books than I ever could! Plus, I still buy books as gifts for other people; I’d say I buy 10-20 books a year in that capacity. And of course, since they’re gifts, they’re usually new (unless it’s someone I’m very close to, and who like me would prefer to get a bigger stack of used books). And considering the statistics on how much the average person reads, I think just buying 10-20 books is doing my fair share.

So, what’s your approach to book buying?

50 Comments leave one →
  1. February 12, 2009 8:54 am

    All very understandable and wise choices. You’re young and ambitious and have lots of time to acquire that fabulous library! Me, I’m a lit-junkie. And I’m old. :-) OK. Older. I don’t like to shop, I’m not into clothes, I don’t go out much, I don’t smoke, drink (very often), or take drugs. My disposable income definitely goes to supporting the book industry, overflowing TBR shelves be damned! :-)


  2. February 12, 2009 9:07 am

    I spend less than $250/year on books (excluding gift cards I might receive). Our library system is excellent, and since I work part time in a library, I always reserve the NEW books. The only books I tend to buy is an occasional audio book I really want.

    I also trade on Paperback Swap so I can’t see spending more than I do on books. Plus, I have almost 600 unread books at home right now.

  3. February 12, 2009 9:23 am

    I would really like to just cut and paste what Lezlie said. Seriously. Word for word.

  4. February 12, 2009 9:27 am

    Debi ~ Go ahead! It’s good to know I’m not alone!


  5. February 12, 2009 9:34 am

    Most of my book acquisitions are through review copies and BookMooch. Other than that, I have the occasional trip to Half Price Books. In the last year I’ve almost never bought anything at Borders or B&N unless I had a gift card.

    However, I may need to find a way to acquire the book in your post now!

  6. Travis permalink
    February 12, 2009 9:57 am

    I only buy books for gifts to other people. I rarely buy books (which, I know, is bad and hypocritical because I want to support the publishing industry). I get all my books from the library. I find that I read so fast that if I were to purchase every book I read last year, I would have spent several K’s on books. Of the books I bought in the past, I’ve discovered that I rarely re-read them and have donated them all to my public library on the basis that it’s sad for books to remain unread on the shelf.

    I will, however, purchase the new Diana Gabaldon “Echo in the Bone” and the Outlander graphic novel because the series is special to me and will probably be re-read in the distant future.

  7. February 12, 2009 10:01 am

    Lezlie said it for me too!

  8. February 12, 2009 10:05 am

    I spend hundreds of dollars on books every year, primarily for school/gifts. For my own pleasure reading, I generally only buy new if I have a gift card.

    I don’t take ARCs, review copies, or enter giveaways anymore. I have too many books to acquire more indiscriminately — in fact, I’ve started to purge my shelves. I don’t have enough space to keep books I’m not keen on!

  9. February 12, 2009 10:05 am

    I’m with you Eva. Being a student, I’m perpetually broke, and I can get almost anything through the library. Plus, I’ve found that by entering contests and getting review copies the range of what I read is actually expanding. Case in point, I’m currently reading, and enjoying, a memoir, even though I tend to snub that genre (too many burns)

    I do, however, have a running list of books on a word document with a list of books I want to buy when I get a permanent residence (read a decade or two from now). I’m very selective about what goes on here, and I have about 15. I don’t read many books twice, but all of the ones I put on the list I would.

  10. February 12, 2009 10:14 am

    Your decision is a very wise one, and I wish I could do the same. I’m not gonna lie, though: I love buying books and I love the feeling of owning them, of knowing I can keep them and read them again and again. I even love just looking at my shelves and seeing them there.

    But I love libraries too. I’d use the library a lot more if I could. I’m even okay with knowing I don’t get to keep the books. I can always get my own copies of the ones I love at some point in the future. But sadly I don’t have access to a good public library. Only to a university library, which is good for some things but bad for others. No comics, no fantasy, no children’s and YA books, etc. So to read my favourite kinds of books, I have no choice but to buy them.

    I don’t have a lot of money either, so I’m always after book bargains, and I use bookmooch and enter giveaways whenever I can. It’s really either that or not reading.

    I often wonder what will become of my piles and piles of books if I ever move away, though.

  11. February 12, 2009 10:22 am

    Books are extremely expensive in Denmark. One thing is Danish books, but another thing is other-language books. First you have to wait for them to be translated and then they are out for a year in hardback before they are coming out in paperback. It was a long time ago since I began reading in English. English books are also expensive in Denmark, but still cheaper than Danish/translated into Danish books.

    So. I rarely buy a Danish book. The taxes are so heavy that it costs double of triple of what an English book does.

    I use the library for most of my Danish books.

    I do buy quite a lot of English books, although I also have to watch how much money I spend, so sometimes I have money (and will buy books) sometimes I don’t (and use the library).

    We cannot buy books from other sites than those placed in the European Zone. It is illegal to purchase from any North American Amazon for instance….


  12. February 12, 2009 10:26 am

    Books have always been an impulse buy that I readily allow myself but I’m trying to frequent my local library system more this year, too. I will say that I am truly amazed how generous the book blogging community is – I have so many free to me books that others have sent me and I am most grateful.

  13. February 12, 2009 10:28 am

    I totally agree with you. Sometimes I feel like the only book blogger that does not buy a lot of books. I don’t feel a need to since I can get ahold of almost any book I want to through my library and because of money. I love books, but I can think of so many other things to spend my very teeny amount of money that I do have.

    One thing I feel I miss out on by not buying books is the whole shelf aspect. I’de love to have the problem of having too many books. In fact, I have one bookself that is not even full. Someday I would like do have a room dedicated to books, but at this rate, that will be far far away!

    Good point on how supporting the library is also supporting the publishing industry! Plus, if everyone bought books, all the library books would go to waste!

  14. February 12, 2009 10:35 am

    I go back and forth on this issue so often. On the one hand, I have waaay too many unread books on my shelves as it is, and I do make a significant effort not to BUY any more. But at the same time, bookmooch, contests, and review copies are just so much fun. I also never can resist a library book sale… books for $.50!! So, yeah, I try not to acquire books, I definitely try not to buy books, but it doesn’t seem to be working lately…

  15. February 12, 2009 10:46 am

    I don’t buy very many books. I get tons from Paperbackswap and I’m trying to use the library more. My husband does buy them, as he has no patience for them to come up on PBS. For myself, I probably buy 3 or 4 books a year- I just bought Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs. Before PBS I bought tons, it’s really helped a lot.

  16. February 12, 2009 10:47 am

    Also, you’ve already read 43 books this year!!??

  17. February 12, 2009 11:20 am

    I used to buy all my books, and only buy brand new ones, then keep them all on a shelf. When I moved to a tiny Hlls of residence (most peoples bathrooms are bigger) I struggled to fit all the books in. The nerly filled a car to get them there. When I was about to move to the house I live in now I decide that as I seem to move every year or so at the mo I would sell all the books I knew deep down I would never read again. I went to a car boot sale and made £150.
    This seemed to prompt me loads, I quickly joined bookcrossing and got rid of loads more books through that. I now get a lot of my books from fellow bookcrossers, through bookrings, RABCK and winning draws (look for my big win in the next Salon Sunday). As I got used to not having new books I also started buying secondhand from Amazon and shops, and trying to go to the library more. I tend now to bookcross the books I have finished with unless they are things I will definately reread. Having said that I still probably have a good 500 books lying around the house, the majority of those are unread though.

  18. February 12, 2009 11:29 am

    I’m with Lezlie! I love clothes but I would rather buy a book any day than clothes. Which explains why I’m always in jeans and a t-shirt.

    But I’m also with you, Eva. I’m a student and a single mother with very little disposable income. I try not to buy new books. There’s a $1 bookstore in my area, so I try to find books that are on my TBR list there. I also have a rule: I will not buy a new book unless my library does not have it , I’ve read it and loved it, or I’m way down the list on paperbackswap’s wishlist. (I have books on my wish list from the beginning of ’07.)

    That said, I’m trying to stop buying books altogether right now and read what I have.

  19. February 12, 2009 12:11 pm

    I actually buy more books now that I’m blogging because I don’t like the time constraints involved in getting them from the library. I think I’ve bought 5 books in the past week and a half and my bookcase was already overflowing.

  20. Jenny permalink
    February 12, 2009 12:36 pm

    One reason I rarely buy books any longer is that I rarely reread any longer. There are so many wonderful new books out there that I only reread when I’m sick or so stressed I can’t bear the tension of a new book. So I only want really beloved books in my personal library. (There are almost no unread books on my shelves right now.)

    Another reason is that, while I sort of want to support the publishing industry, I *really* want to support the library. It’s one of the few truly great socialist institutions we have in the US! :) Free books for all… I can’t imagine going to the library and not coming away satisfied. What if we lost that? Library ahoy!

    And now to expand my TBR list a bit more, from some of your other posts…

  21. February 12, 2009 12:47 pm

    At the beginning of last year, I calculated that I spend around $350-$400 a year on books. The number was probably that low only because I buy used books or use coupons, but I thought that by joining a book swap program, I could probably get it down even more, so I signed up. The only problem: the books I gave away far exceeded the available books I wanted, so I ended up essentially spending money to give books away…money I could have used to buy books!

    At the beginning of this year, I (like a lot of people) was laid off from my job, so that means no money for extras, like book. I went and got myself a library card (which was actually a 2008 resolution, along with the book swap), and I’m so happy I did. I truly believe I’ll spend less now because I’ve already made the decision that I’ll only buy a book if I’ve read it and want to include it in my personal library, or if it’s simply not available at the library (as some independent press books aren’t, which is too bad).

  22. February 12, 2009 12:51 pm

    There was a time when I earned considerably more and I spent a considerable amount of money on books. I own more books than anything else. Well, my days of shopping when I felt like it are gone, but I actually read more these days. When I buy for myself, it’s poetry. Poetry selections in the library are limited and poetry is something to be revisited so I want to own these. I own more poetry collections and poetry reference texts than any other genre in my library.

    I would love to support all the authors I enjoy but I can’t. What I can do is read and promote their work. My local library is excellent, and I get more than my tax dollars worth by using it.

    I do a lot of book trading at paperbackswap and I run a community library at a local nonprofit without a budget so most books I acquire are for our library.

    I do buy books as gifts. I love giving books and if I know someone is a reader, I’m really happy to shop for them.

    Back to the library, when I want a book or have read a book my library doesn’t own, I ask them to buy it. Not only to I get to enjoy it but so does a whole community.

  23. February 12, 2009 2:15 pm

    I have very little space right now to store any more books in my home or in my storage unit, so I am trying very hard to limit the number of books I buy. But sometimes, I just can’t help it! My library always has great finds on sale for $1-$3. For instance, I recently found The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson and Hard-boiled Wonderland by Hurakami. How could I leave those there? So for the most part, I borrow books frequently from the library. Books that I want to read, but don’t really have an interest in owning. If I want to own a book, I will try to mooch it first. I’d say I only spend $50/year on brand new books from Amazon or BnN…and those books are usually VERY special books that I must have…or that are on sale for an unbelievable cheap bargain price.

  24. February 12, 2009 2:36 pm

    I used to buy everything I wanted to read but then I became a stay-at-home mom for a few years here and 1) my income is gone and 2) I have to look at the stacks of books all over the house all of the time. So I have changed my tactic and now I buy books that are in series that I own or that I know I will love and re-read. Otherwise, I get them at the library first and if I absolutely love them, I add them to my to-buy list. It was a big waste to buy a book, dislike it or feel meh about it and then take it to Half Price Books and only get back $1 or $2 on it.

  25. February 12, 2009 2:50 pm

    I can’t buy my books new because well, I would just spend far too much money on it. So they all come to me used, mostly from library sales, paperback swap and secondhand shops. I’ve gone even further and made a rule for myself that I won’t buy any books unless I’ve read them and know they’ll stay in my permanent collection- too often I buy an interesting looking book and then fail to fall in love with it. I’m wading through piles still, back from the days when I bought everything I wanted to read. Now I visit the library more, and choose carefully which ones my pocketbook opens for.

  26. February 12, 2009 3:05 pm

    I actually buy more than I used to, seeing as I hope to be published myself and so can justify it as necessary professional development and resource material. ;o) It also helps that the kids are grown up.

    The library has always been my first resort. I’ll try out new authors there, and go out to buy the ones I find exceptionally good. I buy books for gifts quite frequently. I now frequently make purchase requests at the library too, which means that when they agree and buy it, I get first crack at it. I figure doing that is probably better for the author than if I bought it myself, because they then have a chance of being discovered by other people.

  27. February 12, 2009 3:29 pm

    Oh, man. When it comes to buying books, I have a problem. Seriously. I don’t have a TBR pile…I have a TBR closet. It’s really gotten crazy over the past few years. I’m trying to stop (the classic addict’s claim, I know)..but already this year, between getting $100 worth of Books-A-Million gift cards for Christmas and the $1 clearance sale at Barnes and Noble, I’ve added probably 20 books to the stacks.

    I guess it could be worse….

  28. February 12, 2009 4:28 pm

    Like you, if I were to calculate how much money I would have spent had I bought all my books brand new, the cost would be staggering. Yes, I buy books. Not very often, but if it’s a new release that I can’t buy fast enough, then I will. I buy most of my books secondhand because I do love owning books. I love having a library in my own home. I do check out TONS of books from the library. Sometimes, between 40-60 at a time. If I liked the book, I’ll often seek it out secondhand. I do understand that sometime I’m not always lining the authors pocket directly, but I hope that indirectly through my book reviews, I am. Actually, I know I am.

  29. February 12, 2009 4:59 pm

    When I was a student, I spent all my allowances not on clothes but on books and cds. I only stopped buying when I had my first child. Three years ago we moved across the globe and I had to leave almost all of my books.

    When we came here, I started using the library a lot. At the same time, I also began reacquiring my favourite books from before. However, I never bought a new book, only used or marked and really cheap ones (in good condition). Also, I rarely bought books I haven’t read. When I did buy them and later found I didn’t like them that much, I traded them for others that I’ve read before and loved. I like to keep my shelves filled with only books I love.

    Last year I stopped buying books altogether after we had our third baby. But as I started book blogging this year I’m finding it more and more difficult not to go back to my old book-buying ways. However, I’m keeping to my resolution that I will only keep favourites. And of the ones I haven’t read yet, I’ll try to buy only the authors I’m fairly sure I’m gonna love. For 50 cents to 3 bucks a piece, I don’t think it’s too bad. :)

  30. February 12, 2009 6:55 pm

    There was a time in my life when I bought a lot of books. My husband, too. When our kids were little we continued to buy a lot of books. When we moved to a new city a couple years ago, we moved 75 boxes of books. We also made a huge lifestyle change that left us with considerably less disposable income than we had before.

    So, we use the library. I still buy some books (I homeschool my kids and some things we just need to buy), still love to buy books. Usually I will seek used books when it’s possible. But the thrill of a huge stack from the library is exciting too, and guilt-free. Oh, my husband is a full-time student so he still has to buy books. So while I would like to have fewer boxes next time we move, it’s doubtful we will.

  31. February 12, 2009 7:26 pm

    Yes, I buy books. Man, I’ve always bought books, and I can’t seem to stop buying them even when I know it’s not the smartest thing for me to do. i also get a lot of review copies, books as gifts, etc. But I buy a lot of books…both used and new.

  32. February 13, 2009 1:30 am

    I agree with everything you have said. When i was a student around 3 years back, I owned only 4-5 books. I started collecting books when I started earning. And you as you don’t plan to settle down at one place for a while, it doesn’t make sense to do it too.
    I buy around 30-40 books per year which I also think is more than my share :)

  33. February 13, 2009 2:36 am

    I am definitely a buyer – although have been doing a lot of thinking about that lately. Both my partner and I work full time and although we out ourselves on budgets and saving plans quite often they never include limiting our book buying. It brings us so much pleasure. Having said that – we are really aware at the moment of how many unread/bought books we have on our shelves – A LOT! So, I have been using the library a lot more lately and am trying to save my buying for those special books or favourite authors.

  34. February 13, 2009 4:35 am

    I haven’t bought any books this year, even though I have a $25 gift certifitcate to B&N that’s burning a hole in my wallet. I’m waiting because this year I’ve been in a funk and haven’t really read anything. I know it’s sad, but seasons in life fluxuate and I am going to move and grove right along with them.

    Cool post!

  35. February 13, 2009 9:09 am

    I am a self-professed book hoarder, but that being said, I tend to generally buy my books at used book stores and occasionally from Amazon (though even there, I tend to veer towards the used marketplace more than anything else). I will buy books new as gifts for others, but I don’t feel the need to do so for myself. Because I have a pretty good used bookstore near me, I have been able to triple my library over the past year or so, but I’ve probably only spent about $300 doing so, which is a price I can live with. I wouldn’t be able to acquire books so voraciously if I purchased them from a regular bookstore. I like having a wide selection of books at my disposal so that I’m likely to have any book to meet whatever mood might strike me. I’ve been finding that trying to stick to a set reading list takes a lot of the enjoyment out of reading for me.

  36. February 13, 2009 10:56 am

    For a long time (like 10 and more years ago), I couldn’t buy many new books because I was a single mother and very poor. I still managed to buy some, because it’s the one thing I need in my life to feel rich :-) Now that I have a permanent full-time job, and so does my husband, I allow myself at least 2 new books a month. Minimum. Quite often it’s a few more. and I go to used bookstores still, too, and swap. Basically, cut and paste Lezlie’s reply for me, too! And I’m sooo glad I’m not the only one!!! lol It wouldn’t be worth it to work at all if I couldn’t buy some books with our money!! lol

    That said, I am now using the library more (my husband is happier with this!) because even I can’t afford to buy everything I want to read! I want the books i love on my shelves, so that’s what I’m buying this year. and attempting to read some of my TBR pile. I also understand completely your need to not buy while you are in school, having done that myself while I worked my way through university. One day you will again have the home, space, and money, to let yourself buy books freely again! :-) I loved it when I left university and realized I could read any book I wanted to for the rest of my life, not just ones for my courses.

    great post, Eva! thanks!

  37. February 13, 2009 4:52 pm

    I try VERY hard not to buy books, but I still do every once in awhile. If I could, I would buy tons of books, but they are very difficult to move and I seem to keep moving… so now we are instituting a two (and a half) bookshelf rule at our house. We’ll see how well we do. Luckily we have a great library system so I seem to have no shortage of things to read.

    I do have a VERY hard time not buying cheap used books or books from garage sales, etc. $1 books call to me in silvery voices which I cannot resist…

  38. February 14, 2009 12:26 am

    I have so many books that I haven’t read that are ARCs or are from contests, that I can’t justify buying new books unless it’s for a book club. The funny thing is that for years I only bought from used book stores and library sales. Now that I’m used to reading new books I’ve gotten spoiled. I’ve spent more money on new books this year than I have in a long time.

  39. February 14, 2009 5:38 am

    Lezlie, I definitely understand your pov! :)

    Diane, that’s cool that you buy audiobooks-they’re so expensive! And your 600 TBR case makes me feel better about mine-I think it’s hovering around 120.

    Debi, hehe. :D

    Devourer of Books, maybe your library has it!

    Travis, I read pretty quickly too, so it would cost me a lot of money to buy all of the books I read! My mom loves the Gabaldon series. :)

    BooksPlease, makes sense. :)

    Christine, I’m doing the same thing!

    Meg89, yay for us poor students. ;) I’ve goten much more into memoirs since becoming a book blogger too. I’m imporessed you only have 15 books you want to read again; I love rereading.

    Nymeth, that’s too bad you don’t have a good library. :( That would be so frustrating!

    Louise, wow-I didn’t realise Danish books were so expensive! That must be frustrating!

    Care, I’m amazed at book bloggers’ generosity too. :)

    Sarah, I definitely don’t have an ’empty shelf’ problem, lol.

    Heather, I know-I managed to not go to my library book sale a couple of weeks ago, but it was close! They’re so tempting. :D

    Lisa, I think the book swapping sites are great! And yeah, I’ve read 43 books this year-I’m really sick right now, so I’m usually housebound. So unless I’m too sick to read, there’s not much else I have to do.

    Katrina, interesting! I’ve always found it very cathartic to pruge my possessions, but that’s probably because I’m a military brat and used to moving. ;)

    Vasilly, I didn’t know you were a single mom-very impressive! I approach new books in a similar way as you re: the ‘rules.’ That $1 bookstore sounds awesome!

    BermudaOnion, I’m lucky my library has 3-week check-outs and online renewals. ;)

    Jenny, very interesting! Libraries are pretty socialist, aren’t they? I remember my Russian friends being shocked when I explaiend our library system. :D I love rereading books-I used to do it all the time before blogging, but that’s changed now that my list of new books to read is so much longer!

    Priscilla, that’s frustrating about the book swap program! I’m unemployed right now, so I feel your pain. :/ Thank God for libraries!

    Susan, I’m planning on going to my favourite used bookstore and buying some poetry collections soon, for the reasons you listed. :) I haven’t heard of, but it sounds good!

    Rakisha, those were definitely great deals! :)

    Kristen, you made me laugh with #2! ;) I wouldn’t buy a DVD without renting it first, so that’s why I’ve stopped buying books without reading them first, for the most part!

    Jeane, sounds like we have similar rules!

    Janet, you have a justification, though. ;) I’m going to try out the purchase request at my library soon-sounds like a good deal!

    Blue, lol-sounds like the people in your life are enablers!! ;)

    Natasha, I definitely buy some new releases; the last one was The Graveyard Book. Sounds like you just have tons of books, both owned and rented!

    Claire, that’s too sad having to leave almost all of your books behind. And book blogging is so bad for those of us trying not to acquire new books!!

    Margaret, wow-75 boxes?! That’s intense! And I think the library stack thrill is great too. :D

    Amy, hehe-that’s how I used to be about shoes. ;)

    Violet, wow-only 4-5 books! That’s impressive! :)

    Karen, if you’ve got the money and it makes you happy, I say more power to you! ;)

    Nik, I hate reading funks. :/ I hope you break out of it soon. :)

    Steph, that sounds like a great used bookstore! And I agree-paying full price for new books would make the money run away.

    Susan, I’m sorry you struggled in the past.:/ I’m so glad you buy yourself books now though!! :D

    Daphne, they are really difficult to move. But there’s way I could handle a two and a half shelf rule-good luck with that! ;)

    Alyce, that is funny…I felt swamped by ARCs for awhile too. That’s why I’m taking a break this year.

  40. February 15, 2009 9:30 pm

    This is a tough one. I totally understand why you need to curb your book buying. I have often wondered just how much I spend a year on books but am too scared to tally that up :)

    This year though I’m trying to be more conscientious of what I’m buying and not do too much impulse buying unless it’s major bargains – which I have found lately. Now once I get a job again, well, I’m going to have a big book buying spree :)

  41. February 16, 2009 8:24 am

    40 comments!! How do you do that? Maybe that could be your how-to post. Seriously, your advice would be appreciated.

    I think if you’re buying 10-20 boooks a year you are doing your part, more than your part probably. I try to buy a new book once a month because I really want my local bookstore to stay around. I love to browse.

  42. antipodeanowl permalink
    February 16, 2009 3:36 pm

    I think of my book buying in terms of building a personal library. As such I tend to only buy books that I know I will want to refer to later, classics that I know I will get around to reading in the future, favourite authors I collect, or books I know I will re-read. Anything else that I’m interested in or might want to read but know in my heart of hearts that it will be a one time only affair, I hit the library!

  43. February 16, 2009 5:36 pm

    I’m a book buyer. Most people spend money on shoes and nice clothes. I buy books. I’ve tried to cut back and have done an okay, sort of job if you compare me to Amy or Alea. ;) I’ll cut corners on everything in my life, but don’t ask me not to get a book.

    That said, I use my library’s resources too. It helps, but when they don’t have a book I want…what can I say?

  44. February 18, 2009 7:19 am

    Iliana, conscientious spending seems to be the name of the game this year. :)

    CB, that’s a great idea for a how-to post! I’ll think on it and get back to you. :)

    AntipodenOwl, that’s a good approach!

    J. Kaye, lol-my library very, very rarely doesn’t have a book I don’t want. I’m luck that way!

  45. February 19, 2009 4:15 pm

    Man when I was thinking up opinion and how to posts I couldn’t think of anything to do but now that I’m reading some of the other bloggers responses they all sound like things I could have wrote about!

    This is a good question. I don’t buy books either although I do accept review copies and do enter some giveaways.

    Why don’t I buy books? Two main reasons.

    1. I don’t have the money.
    2. Why pay money if I can get it for free?

    I understand that if no one bought books, that would pretty much be the end of books but I’ll leave the buying to those who can spare money.

    As for giveaways, for a while there I entered lots and won lots but I haven’t read a single book I got from a giveaway or was sent from a fellow blogger so I’m not entering anymore unless it’s something I REALLY REALLY REALLY want.

  46. February 19, 2009 8:52 pm

    Since I work at a library, I get most of my books from there, but I still buy quite a few, although I generally restrict it to ones not available through the library or ones I know I will want to keep. I don’t buy many books at full retail price though – I get them used (library donation book sales are great!) or use store coupons.

    And wow, I’m just blown away that someone managed to read 409 books in one year …

  47. February 19, 2009 9:21 pm

    Lots of interesting comments!

    I can’t stop myself from buying books. “Future library” is a very apt way to describe my attitude. I love lending books out to friends. I also have an awful memory, so if I see a book I want to read, especially at a secondhand shop, I know I won’t remember to read it unless I buy it (so I tell myself).

    I live in Australia, which is currently in recession, but book buying is up, probably because it’s a smaller luxury than buying a new dress or car or whatever else usually takes up leisure spending.

    Jessica’s blog post, from which you excerpted, made me think of George Orwell’s ‘Books v Cigarettes’ essay…an enduring question!

  48. paulasj permalink
    February 20, 2009 3:12 am

    I buy all my books. I don’t have easy access to a public library and here in Sweden paperback books (written in or translated to Swedish) are incredibly cheap, about half price compared to US.

    I was surprised that books are so expensive in Denmark, but that explains why I have such trouble finding original language books from other European countries.

  49. February 21, 2009 1:52 am

    I’m just a book blogger spectator here. You guys read WAY more books than I ever could with my current “life” situation. I’m jealous of all you guys who get to read so much – I read vicariously through you!

    Book buying… well where I am in Germany (a small town) the library is only open at inconvenient times – like 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F, so I haven’t gotten to use it at all. I do gift/get gifted books at holidays, my sisters and mother and I all love to read.
    I use to buy books when I have that gotta-have-that-new-book itch.

    I am going to be taking a break in Sept though, for a baby, so maybe I’ll have more time for reading then. One can hope!


  1. Varför jag köper böcker « Paulas bokblog

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