Book Addiction: We Might Really Have A Problem People

Spent: Break the Buying Addiction and Discover Your True Worth, by Sally Palaian

While I was at BEA, I picked up a copy of a book called Spent: Break the Buying Obsession and Discover Your True Worth by Sally Palaian.

Spent: Break the Buying Addiction and Discover Your True Worth, by Sally Palaian

I’m not a big spender in a lot of areas, but when it comes to books I am completely irrational.  I was flipping through Spent and I came across a chart called “Is Money Addictive” which compared buying addiction to the the DSMV-IV Criteria for Substance Dependence.

The bullet points are from the DSMV-IV and all quotes are from Spent, by Sally Palaian. My comments follow.

  • Increased tolerance- “Constantly craving more things and newer things.” Constantly craving new releases and new books even though according to Goodreads I have 419 unread books sitting in my apartment.
  • Withdrawal- “Addict feels agitated, bored or restless unless spending or shopping.”  Compare that to how I feel when I have finished a new book and am perusing my shelves of 419 books, coming to the decision that there just isn’t anything to read I need to go out and get something new.
  • Use of more than was intended- “Addict cannot keep to a shopping list or a budget” How many times have I gone into a book store looking for one thing and come out with ten others! And maybe not even with the books I went there to get. I also purged my books a couple of years ago and said I wasn’t going to buy anymore until I had read my entire library.  I started blogging about those books and somehow acquired 200 more in less than a year. I’m with Trish.  I think my books are having sex with each other.
  • Unsuccessful efforts to cut down- “Addict tries not to shop; breaks promises to self and others, may limit stores frequented.”  I have tried to go to the library, but seriously, I live in the same block as Barnes & Noble.  Could you stay out of there? Don’t lie!
  • A great deal of time spent pursuing and concealing- “Addict browses catalogs, the internet or the mall.” Yeah, in addition to Borders, B&N, other blogs and the list could really go on and on.
  • Dropping important activities.- I recently admitted that there are Friday nights where I have turned down other activities to go to the bookstore, read and work on my book blog.  I am lame. Just ask Trish and Jenn.  It was the margaritas talking!
  • Continued use despite negative consequences- “Addict neither sees the problem or the consequences.”  As I type this up I am totally justifying all of my activities, and thinking of all the other worse dependencies or habits I could have other than books.

This has been really interesting.  I’m joking, but I really could just as easily not be. And I am sort of inching toward a valid question.  One which I have no intention of facing up to or changing unless… I don’t know…something drastic and highly unlikely happens.

And you my fine friends,  basically, all of you are my enablers. I would have to stop blogging, move and possibly rid myself of all my books so as not to be tempted, and to break the book addiction.  Or I could just play enabler myself and let you know that Spent has been in stores in paperback since May.  And you can buy it at the crack house of your choice.

Do you fit the criteria? Or is it just me?  I mean, I have several books by the same author and have yet to read one.  How messed up is that?  And are you quite as bad?

You may also like


  1. I come from a family with a history of addictions, and as addictions go, this one seems better than most. So far it’s not destructive…there’s always the library when money is tight!

    Jeanne’s last blog post..Shanghai Girls

  2. Oh dear…all the signs are there. I’m officially an addict as well. I know for certain my husband would agree. I’d rather spend the day in the comfort of air conditioning, curled up with a book, rather than enjoying the nice weather. I don’t know if it’s an addiction I want to be cured of, though. When I had my first son, it was years before I afforded myself the time to read. I’m so much happier when I’m reading!

    1. I’m guilty of having to be dragged out of the house as well. When I do venture out I like to go for walks, and listen to audiobooks, or sit in the park and read. You can see how that wouldn’t be much of a solution to getting out of the house.

  3. I’m not really sure I see what the problem you are describing is … isn’t this just “normal’ for any reader? ; )

    And I was just stopping by to welcome you to the Take A Chance Challenge … I’m kind of assuming that you signed up just to justify purchasing more books, perhaps? HAHA! have fun with it and I can’t wait to see what you’ll be reading and writing about!

    1. I’ve done it maybe once, but sometimes I find myself dreading saying that I would go out. I always have a good time when I go, but getting me out is the problem.

  4. Carl definitely thinks I have a problem. I bought Hunger Games in the airport on our way home from BEA and he asked me if there’s a support group for people like me. He didn’t understand that I needed it since I got Catching Fire at BEA.

    Kathy’s last blog post..Review: Neil Armstrong is My Uncle

  5. Yes, I have the same “problem”. Thank goodness for my public and university libraries, which provide at least 3/4 of my reading material, and the Salvation Army, which is the recipient of those books I don’t wish to keep.

  6. Ok. Since BEA I bought 3 books from Powells. I won a Sony Reader and I’ve got 3 ebooks and 1 e-galley picked out. I have library books waiting to be read. I downloaded an audiobook from the library, and I accepted a couple more books for review.

    Problem? What problem?

    Beth F’s last blog post..Giveaway Winners: Secrets to Happiness

    1. Audiobooks are quickly becoming a very big issue. I am accumulating them at the rate that I accumulate regular books, which is an alarming rate. At least they don’t require any extra space around the house. On the other hand, I may need a new hard drive.

  7. Yep My name is Suzi and I’m a book/reading-aholic

    and I don’t even care because I’ve found so many people just like me. We have daily ‘meetings’ via GoogleReader.

    I think our 12 steps involve finding 12 ways to either aquire books or add books to our TBR lists.

    SuziQoregon’s last blog post..Haunted Ground by Erin Hart

  8. I received 10 more books in the mail since my Sunday Salon post. That’s like 25 books for review or so and I’m sitting here thinking that is a ton. And, then I read your post. Are you serious? Over 400 books? Nicole, if that is the case… maybe you should just do a huge book donation to the local library and start over, from scratch. And, then take it one day at a time. *hee hee*

    My best to ya’


    Sheri’s last blog post..The Bachelorette: “Loserish Blob of Blue Nothingness” He Cried!

  9. Yes, I’m an addict, too, and I have no plans to stop. I mean, if I wasn’t addicted to books, I’d never have found the open arms of the book blogging community and my days would, frankly, be a lot less lovely than they are! I have fun with my book gluttony, and I think part of the thrill is the knowledge that there are so many wonderful worlds all around me, just waiting for me to slip into them. This is my childhood dream, to be surrounded by books that I want to read!

    I live a block from the library and I still end up at the bookstore. So I understand how challenging it must be for you (I envy you your location, too!).

  10. I know I have a problem as far as want. I always want the newest thing. However, I can curb my spending whereas a lot of people cannot. I do often feel obsessed about getting the newest item though. My camera for one. I obsessed all last year on it. Got it for Christmas and now Nikon came out with a newer, glitzier version of it and I have been drooling over it. It’s pathetic!!

  11. Yes, I’m ill. Totally addicted. I crave the little parcels in the mailbox and on my doorstep – the shiny new covers brought home in shopping bags. I’d give up just about anything to read but I don’t have much to give up. Reading already turned me into a hermit. It’s a life, though, and I like it.

  12. I think I have a problem too. My craving for new books is getting greater by the day. I’m sure I could stop if there was a reason to, but I have good control of my finances, the only problem is a growing TBR pile. I’m not sure a big pile of books is the greatest problem in the world, so I’m going carry on with my addictive behaviour.

    Jackie (Farm Lane Books)’s last blog post..The Desmond Elliott Prize

  13. Don’t forget when we whine and moan about our TBR pile.. and then we are diappointed when a day goes by without a new book in the mail 🙂
    That’s me.
    I know I am addicted. MORE MORE MORE MORE! Ya know, that Madonna song from Dick Tracy?!

  14. Yes, I fit the criteria and it’s a big big problem. Not sure if there’s a cure. Although I will say that the Kindle has helped me…sort of. Now when I go into a bookstore I’m much less likely to buy anything since it makes more sense to put it on the Kindle which is ultimately cheaper. But the downside is the damned “one click buy” option for Amazon downloads to the Kindle. I swear I must have at least a half-dozen books on the Kindle that I didn’t want to buy but accidentally hit the wrong button, LOL.

    Michele’s last blog post..The Classics — Argggghhhh!

  15. I can certainly say that I have several books sitting at home by authors I have never read. At one point we had 3 Saramago novels, and neither of us had read him! But I rectified that. Normally I try not to buy multiple books by an untested author, but sometimes it does happen.

    I do fit most of the attributes on your list. I try to visit that library, but I like the lack of pressure involved in reading my own books; no deadlines, and I can read whichever ones strike my fancy when they strike my fancy! But I will at least say that I never take out stacks of books from the library… generally never more than 5, and I am ok with sending them back unread if I’m just not feeling it.

  16. I used to be like that, completely! But when I added up how much I spent in a year on books, I decided I would rather spend that money elsewhere. And I discovered the library and the beauty of interlibrary loan!

    Kelly’s last blog post..Give Me 15 Minutes a Day & I’ll Give You a First Draft

  17. I am so addicted to books – I can admit it. I just don’t think it’s that much of a problem. My addiction to blogging though can sometimes take away from family time, and I’ve had to watch that closely. It’s different, because I get warm fuzzies from buying books, but am just able to lose track of time with blogging. Two different types of addiction I guess.

    I’ve never had a problem with sticking to a budget though. Used books are just as exciting as new ones to me, and I have too much of a guilty conscious to go crazy with the shopping.

    I get such a rush from going into a bookstore though. I was in Powell’s a couple of weeks ago, with about an hour to spend all by myself (my husband took the kids on a walk to another store) and I was giddy – like almost hyperventilating I was so excited about the myriads of books around. It’s really the only place that I get like that. I think the only way I could get any more of a rush from it is if somebody told me I could fill a shopping cart full of books for a free shopping spree. The stuff that dreams are made of!

  18. Oh my — my heart started pounding as I read this post! I’m totally a book addict… and even as I say that, I too think about all of the terrible things I could be wasting my money on and/or devoting my time to instead of something awesome like reading! 🙂 I can’t imagine ever quitting. I’m too far gone!

  19. I am doing okay actually, buying a book or two in maybe every other bookstore visit. I try to keep my TBR pile to under 50 books, leaving the covetous titles on a list. I certainly don’t (and haven’t) drop appointments with friends to go broswe the bookstore! 🙂

  20. I’m glad I’m in such good company because I’m a bookaholic. Like you I’ve rushed out to the bookstore and bought entire series of books that are currently sitting in my bookcase waiting to be read. I made these purchases based on reading something that triggered my interest on one book in the series. I guess my thought process is “well if I’ll like this one I’m sure I’ll like the rest”. It’s absurd but usually my instincts are pretty right on about those types of things.

    I can’t imagine harnessing my impulse to go out on a Saturday or Sunday and buy a new book. I don’t know that it would feel like the weekend to me if I didn’t do that. Now that I’ve got all of my blogger friends making suggestions of what to read I’m twice as compelled to go and get those “must reads”.

    Nope, I’m totally ok with the addiction.
    [rq=4123,0,blog][/rq]Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  21. I’m certainly addicted, since childhood! I don’t think there will ever be a cure. I’ve had phases where I don’t read as much, but ultimately it always picks up. Like Matt, though, I also try to keep my tbr pile down to less than 50. I make a point to read from my own stash and clearing some space before getting new ones. I started doing this when we purged our house of clutter before. Now I purge as many times as I can and read as much as I can before my tbr starts to overflow. I do have a loooong wishlist, where the books I want stay, until it’s time to replenish the stacks.
    .-= claire´s last blog ..A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare =-.

    1. You’re so good! I am trying to buy less, and limit myself until I have dealt with what I have, but it just doesn’t seem to work.

  22. Pingback: Items of Interest: Behind the Scenes at Hachette Book Group Audio | Linus's Blanket