Book Buying Habits

So, i’ve realised that i might have a little bit of a book buying problem. I’ve identified it, admitted it and now i’m working to change it. I have developed some unhealthy habits you might say in the last few years, and i want to talk about that a little bit.

My book collection has been steadily growing for the last few years at around 10-20 books a month maybe. That might be a slightly excessive number in fact, but it does feel like that much at least. I came to the realisation a little while ago that there were a lot of books that i was just getting rid of having no interest in them anymore, and to be honest, probably little interest in them to begin with.

When i first started blogging and i wanted to try and figure out what books i loved, i bought and bought and bought to be able to try out different things. I had recommendations coming at me left right and centre so just picked up them all. Only now a few years later am i realising that most of these are still sat unread on my shelves and i have very little interest in a lot of them.

I think my book buying habits continued on from there and even though i had firmly established what genres i enjoyed, what voices i connected to the most and the authors that i adored, i was still picking up books regularly just to try them or to have them ‘in case i ever want to read it.’

I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t a healthy way to buy books. I read on average a book a week, which means i’ll only ever read about fifty books a year (ish). This is great if i stopped buying books so often, but if i’m buying three books a week and not touching them, i’m buying way more than i need to to even see me through the year. For example, i came back from YALC 2017 with around thirty-two new books, that only leaves on average around twenty books from my shelf left to read if i chose to read all those YALC books before the next one rolled around. To me that’s an extremely unhealthy habit to have.

Throughout my adult life i’ve instilled book buying bans on myself, in which i’d have restrictions on my buying and was a lot more sensible with it. I think the best i’ve done is five months with absolutely no book buying for myself. And trust me that’s an achievement.

Once i came back from my London trip this January (HERE is my book haul if you want to check out what i got) i told myself i wouldn’t buy myself anymore books and see how long i could go. I didn’t want to give myself a time limit, but a challenge to just see how long i could go just reading the books that i had on my own shelves.

I think i often forget that i also have access to a local library and friends bookshelves. I sometimes have the thought when i’m checking out on Amazon of ‘actually, Sophie owns that so why do i need to buy my own copy when i can borrow hers?’ I’m glad this thought is coming into my head a little more often and i’m a little more sensible with the books that i’m going to own.

One of my goals for the next few years is to get my bookshelves down to just the books that i very much want to read or the books that i actually enjoyed. I’m aware that this might take a little more time than a few years (there’s A LOT of unread books on there) but it’s a challenge i’m quite excited to undertake.

Hopefully i can stick to this ban for quite some time, i have enough reading material to occupy me i think for the next seven years maybe.

Let me know in the comments if you have any tips for stopping yourself buying books, how do you resist a great deal?

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EDIT: Since writing this post, i’ve bought more books. I’m such a weak human-being.

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4 thoughts on “Book Buying Habits

  1. This is a great post and something I can relate to as a few years ago I was in the same position, where I had loads of books on my shelves that I hadn’t read and with quite a few I no longer had any interest in reading them. I went really extreme and got rid of the majority of these books because I couldn’t see myself ever reading them (and enjoying it anyway) and sort of started again, only buying books as I read. For me I think a good way to go about this problem is to get one (or a couple if there is a multibuy offer on!) book every so often rather than having book buying bans and then going crazy when I let myself buy again! It’s great that you’re considering the library and borrowing books from friends though, stay strong! 🙂

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    • i’m trying to stay strong! It’s good to know others have had this problem too and it’s not just me! Bans tend to work for me so we’ll see how it goes. I have gotten rid of a pile of 40 books this week, so hopefully i’m on my way to getting the ones i don’t want to read gone – Sarah

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  2. I now only buy books to complete series I already own. Other books I first borrow and then if I like them enough that I want to reread it, I buy the book myself. I also have books I already own that I have not yet read. When I have read them and I decide I don’t like it enough to read the book again, I don’t keep it (to make space for books I will reread!).

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