About a month ago, I was ogling some beautiful book covers wondering when I could get my hands on them. Namely: when I could buy them. I went to a bookstore in complete anticipation of buying Huntley Fitzpatrick’s book My Life Next Door. When they didn’t have it, I ended up buying three other titles that were on my wishlist; titles that I hadn’t even read yet, but books that had been getting great reviews in the blogosphere.
As I sit here writing this, I think of the many books that I’ve bought based on the assumption that because other book bloggers love it, then I should definitely love it — but when I bring them home and read them, they’re more meh to me than anything else. Then I curse myself for buying the book that I disliked when I could’ve bought something that I actually liked and would’ve read again and again.
I wonder why, when there’s a book that’s receiving rave reviews, a book that has a gorgeous cover, a book that’s by an author who’s supposed to be the next big thing — why I feel the need to automatically buy it? I mean, I’m all for supporting authors and buying their books, but when you don’t have a huge pile of money just for buying books, you have to be selective.
Of course, sometimes it’s my own fault for just going into a bookstore to begin with — wandering around and buying books just because I feel like I can’t leave without something. A lot of these books end up on my shelf, unread for years.
This year I’ve read some awesome books — Wanderlove, Grave Mercy, Anna and the French Kiss — all these books that I desperately want for my shelf, even though I’ve read them already. These are all books that I want to read again, ones that belong to a series that I love, and ones that I want to lend out to friends and family.
In a way, I guess it’s like test-driving a vehicle. You find out that you actually like a car — it drives well, it comes with all of the proper amenities. Just like a book — making sure it’s written nicely, has a good flow, and has characters you can relate to.
But then I look at my public library. My library is awesome and gets a TON of new books in each week. They can do interlibrary loans, so if I don’t see a book on the website, I can always ask if any other library in the province has it. But I’m selfish and greedy. I love having my own copy of a book — especially when it just comes out and everyone’s talking about it. I hate getting put on a wait list for a book. Take John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars — once I realized that I was NOT moving on the waiting list, I bought myself a copy. It’s John Green. I already know I’m going to love it.
My problem right now is that I can’t even keep up with reading all the books that I end up buying. There are too many of them. Combine that with audiobooks, my library, and books won in contests and I’m woefully behind. But still, I just keep buying them.
In the end, I think I really need to convince myself to ONLY buy the books I really, really want — in this case, Fitzpatrick’s book, or Gretchen McNeil’s Ten, or Kenneth Oppel’s Such Wicked Intent, or books that are a part of a series that I own and am reading — and to give my library a spin with other books. When there is a new book being released every 30 seconds, it would take a LOT of money if a person wanted to buy everything that caught their eye. I’m realizing that, at this point in my life, I just don’t have the money to binge-buy books.
When it comes down to it, I spend hundreds of dollars a year on books. I buy way more books than I can actually read. I love buying them, but sometimes it feels good to have a system to buying — and it feels good to have a little extra money in my pocket that isn’t spent on books (you know, when you have to buy food or gas or something). It’s such a hard thing, but I feel like I really have to ask myself: Do I NEED this book?
Most of the time the answer is no — but still, nobody’s perfect!
How do you go about buying books? Do you only buy from authors you know you’ll love? Do you regret a lot of purchases? Do you use your local library?
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