Booking Through Thursday: Why Buy?


btt21I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?
If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

A variation of this came up for me in the Musing Monday that I posted on Tuesday.  Probably from the time I was in high school, and had disposable income, I have quite literally bought books with the notion that one day I was  going to have a house with a room in it that was going to be my library.  I also had a dream of running a B&B, so of course it would need a library or a bookstore, and writing when I wasn’t busy with my guests. So basically I have always fantasized about being surrounded by books.  Lots and lots of books and lots and lots of paper and pens and pencils (until recently, my other obsession was stationery and all its attendant accoutrements).  I also like to make people read books I have read and talk about them with me.  That is a whole lot easier when I don’t  have those pesky library fines and due dates to worry about.

Sometime last year I put down whatever it was I was smoking, looked around and realized that I do not live in a sprawling old Victorian home, was not sitting cozily before the fire reading books and greeting guests, but was indeed in a 700-sq-ft apt in NYC and not particularly liking clutter.  Something had to give and that something was books that I didn’t like, wouldn’t recommend and knew for sure I wouldn’t ever lend out or read again myself.  I gave away hundreds of books and was left with 300 books, 85% of which I hadn’t read and the other 15% I really enjoyed.  The goal this year was to save money, not buy anymore books, and carefully cull my collection to books I really enjoy.  I am probably back up to about 400 books (this brings me to my next point), you know why, because buying books is a compulsion, and it is addictive.  I can’t help it. I guess I would rather be afflicted with this than many other vices, but I have never been able to go into a book store and just buy one book which I read, and then go and treat myself to something else.  I go in and buy 5-10, con myself into thinking I will read them all before I go back to the book store, start reading several, finish one and then off I go back to the  book store.  Rinse, wash, repeat.

This year I have been pretty good about not buying books.  Enter blogging and writing about books in July.  Technically I haven’t bought anything but I still get to satisfy my compulsion for new books. Like I said.  Rinse, wash, repeat.

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  1. It seems a lot of us have had the “library” dream – owning enough space to keep all our books in one room. I’m afraid it’s still a goal of mine, even though at the moment I also live in a small apartment, with more books than breathing room.

  2. I used to go to the library all the time. Our branch is small, though, so I was having to order everything from other branches. I found that the books came in bunches or at a time that wasn’t convenient for me. Now that I get ARCs, I find that I’m more apt to buy a book, so I can read it when I want to. I actually buy more books now than I used to.

  3. I can’t really believe u have 400 BOOKS! u could start a library easily LOL!
    ARCs and books for review are really col options 🙂

  4. I have also always dreamed of having a library in my home. It’s probably silly, being an apartment dweller, but I see no reason to give up! I am getting better about getting rid of books that I won’t read again or that I didn’t enjoy, so that I can make room for more new books!

  5. It’s really no joke- book buying is completly addictive! I used to be a library patron. I rarely bought books- only ones I “had” to read quickly and didn’t want to be on the waitlist to read. Once I started buying I have gotten out of control. I am now at over 700 books and most of them (85% ?) are ones I haven’t read yet! Ack!