Today, as part of of blogiversary celebration, I’m happy to have Anne from Creativity’s Corner on the blog for a guest post! Thank you, Anne, for being a part of the celebration!
I am in awe of Anne over this post. I wish I could be like her and my wallet wishes the same thing. My bookshelves disagree.
Anne is a reader, a musician, and a blogger.
Dirty Little Secrets
Hi everyone! My name is Anne and I have a confession to make:
I don’t buy books
There, I said it. In fact, I’ve never been much of a book buyer. The entirety of my own collection, gathered over 16 years or so, fits on three bookshelves in one corner of my room (plus two knee-high piles on the floor). And that includes ALL of my college textbooks.
There are several reasons I do this, not the least of which is that I’m poor. Books are expensive! There are a few other reasons too, but the main reason is I have an incredible local library that can get me just about anything I want through an amazing inter-library loan program. I go to my library 1-3 times a week, often have 20+ books checked out at once, and probably if I didn’t show up for a week they’d know to file a missing persons report.
I’m not especially different from any other book lover – I still love buying them and badly crave getting that next greatest release the minute I hear about it. I cannot walk into a store that has books without wandering through the book section for at least 5 minutes. (Did you know many craft stores have a book section? I have killed countless hours flipping through crafting books while my mom shops for fabric.) The “trick” is to make sure you know the rules going in. Your rules can be whatever you want to make them – a certain amount of money per month, a certain number of trips to the bookstore per paycheck, or a book-by-book criteria for whether it’s worth it. For example:
Anne’s Rules for Buying a Book
- I must ask myself 4 questions before buying a book:
- Is it a good price? (“Good price” for me means at least half the MSRP on the back. Often I’ll limit myself to even lower – $5 or less – if I’m feeling poor, or didn’t originally expect to find myself in a position to buy books.)
- Will I want to read it again? (If the answer is anything but a resounding “yes” then I’ll probably put it back on the shelf.)
- Is it a special occasion? (Usually I make myself different “rules” for each special occasion, most of them imposing a spending limit.)
- How bad has my day been? (I hate to admit it, but this is a criterion, especially since there is a bookstore around the corner from work. If the day was bad enough, I am allowed ONE book at full price, TWO bargain books, or $15, whichever is cheapest. This is also only valid ONCE per paycheck (every 2 weeks) – my own free pass system.)
- I must always limit myself to 3 books or less (or $20 or less, if I’m rooting through the bargain bin).
They’re fairly simple rules, but they can be hard to follow. The biggest hurdle is to train yourself to think this way. While you’re working on it, it might be best to stay away from book displays more than you normally would. Eventually you should be able to go to a bookstore and walk out WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING. I’ve done it many times!
Some tips to help you, while you’re still learning:
- Carry a way to take notes with you at all times – you never know when you’ll find a wild book display! I use the memos feature on my phone, but a small notebook and pencil in your pocket or purse works just as well. If there are books that look good that you didn’t know about, or didn’t quite make the cut, write them down. Then compile them into a TBR list that will remind you what to look for (or order) the next time you go to the library or allow yourself to buy.
- If you choose to read through the library, keep a list of the books you really liked and want to read again. Then, when you allow yourself a little spending money, you know exactly which books you’re buying and can get in and out as fast as possible (short of wearing blinders, this is the easiest way I’ve found to combat the “impulse buy”) For example: My to-buy shelf on GoodReads.
- Keep another list of books that would go into the splurge category – books that you haven’t read and probably won’t find a sale on – so that you remember what to get yourself if you’re celebrating. For me, this often includes books by my favorite authors that aren’t part of a series I’ve started, or books that involve tropes that I’ve never found one I disliked. For example: My wishlist shelf on GoodReads. I usually use this shelf for things like the Ruby’s Reads Book Exchanges so it also includes books that are on my to-buy shelf.
If you decide to try becoming a non-book-buyer (or if you already are one) I would love to hear your “rules” and any tips you have!