GUEST POST: Dirty Little Secret (Anne @ Creativity’s Corner)

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.

Visit Anne: 
Web | Twitter | Goodreads

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!

© 2012, Creativity’s Corner. First posted on Reading in Winter. All rights reserved.


16 thoughts on “GUEST POST: Dirty Little Secret (Anne @ Creativity’s Corner)

  1. Ha. ANNE! This post makes me rather happy. Granted, I’ve started buying books much more than I used to BUT, like you, I need pretty strong reasons to purchase a book. I am definitely an emotional book buyer. I reward myself with books when I’ve had a bad day/week/month/whatever. But I rarely ever spend more than $30 on books, unless I have a gift card. It also helps that I’m generally stingy to begin with. 😉

    • Glad I could make you happy 😀 I spend more now too, though that’s mostly because I have a steady job instead of being a student. That said, I’ve always been stingy as well. Growing up in a family where the two rules are “1: whatever it is you don’t need it, and 2: if you think you need it refer to rule #1” I almost have to be. But seriously, don’t we all need books? 😛

  2. Anne, I am not much of a book buyer either in the traditional sense. I buy a TON, but almost all of them come from Goodwill, where they’re 2.50 at the most costly. Otherwise, I’d own a couple hundred books max. As it is, I’m pushing 1200. I just can’t justify spending my money on a full price book. Now that I’m blogging, I buy a lot more, but pretty much only for other people.

  3. I never buy books full price. There has to be a sale on, and a good one at that. I always check out the bargain section. I guess I shouldn’t say never because if it’s a book I’ve been anticipating, (Hasn’t happened since Harry Potter) I have to buy it right away.

    I always go in the book store without buying anything as well. It helps if my husband is standing there glaring at me though :3 Just to remind me of all of the books on my shelf that I’ve gotten at yard sales, flea markets and other such sales.

    Great tips!

  4. I used to be a book buyer but I had to stop. I was out of control. I have a few rules as well. I’ll buy books for my kids if they ask for them and I’ll buy a book for myself if it’s a classic that I know I’ll re-read.

    Thank goodness for the library! 😀

    • Thank goodness for the library indeed! Every once in a while I’ll come across someone who tells me that their library is too far away or (horror of horrors, since this is practically all I use) their inter-library loan program costs LOTS of money. It makes me sad that people have such bad experiences with their libraries when I’ve had such GOOD experiences with mine.

  5. I’m super impressed with your self control! 🙂 Unfortunately, I cannot relate lol. I love buying books and I love displaying books on my bookshelves. My dream is to have my very own in-house library one day, one with floor to ceiling and wall to wall bookshelves and a ladder! 😀 I do have a “library” now, but it only has 3 tall bookshelves, but it’s definitely my favorite room in my house 🙂 I like to think I’m building a library for my future children.

    That being said, I definitely try and buy all my books for a good price and rarely pay full price. Bargain tables are my favorite to scour and I love second hand/thrift stores as well. Or sometimes on-line deals are really good. I don’t really have a budget because I’m a pretty frugal person by nature so I have a hard time spending my money as it is lol, so I never go over board.

    I did recently get a library card which I plan on using more once I get through more of my TBR pile….

  6. Pingback: Clock Rewinders on a Book Binge (12) | Reading In Winter

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My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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