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Books / Writing > Could you give up buying books for six months?

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message 1: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I read this item from the UK Guardian's book blog this morning and easily could have written it myself.


Book buying is another of my addictions. I have hundreds of unread books sitting in my apartment, and yet I keep buying more. Bookstores are my happy place and purchasing books is one of my joys and comforts in life. I browse bookstores when I'm stressed and need a break from my hectic life for an hour, but this practice definitely puts a dent in my finances, even though I'm a supreme bargain shopper. I don't have cable so that I can have extra money to buy books.

So, is this an addiction I should shake or embrace? Could you stop buying books for six months?

message 2: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments This is a fascinating question. I think I'm going to say yes, but I'd have to have access to a good library. You said "buying", you didn't say "checking them out from the library".:)

message 3: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I also hear you, Misha, on bookstores relieving stress. I totally agree.

message 4: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments i already feel very in control of my spending habits for only buying five books so far this year (four used, one new). i have been concentrating on reading the books i had already bought but not yet read. i think it is a good idea to stop buying for a while and read the ones you already have. you might come across a few treasures you never knew you had. it might make you feel better about yourself, more in control. six months is a very long time though, i don't know if i could do that, even with the great library system (university & public) i have acces to.

message 5: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments i sometimes go to bookstores just to browse, but it is very hard not to buy anything.

message 6: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments I go to bookstores and take notes about what I'm going to search for on the library website. I don't feel guilty when I do this in Borders, but I do feel a little guilty doing it in independent bookstores.

message 7: by Félix (last edited Mar 11, 2010 08:58AM) (new)

Félix (habitseven) I never (yes, never) buy books. We have an excellent library that supplies all of my reading needs. I've just gotten to the point in my life when I just don't have to own them anymore.

message 8: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I like having my own personal library. Books make a place home. I like it that when I wake up at 3 a.m. and can't get back to sleep, I can trail my finger along my bookshelves until I hit on something that strikes my fancy, or if I'm trying to write something of my own and I want to see how some writer I love handled the same kind of scene or opening paragraph, I can look it up right in the moment. I may not ever read all of the books that I own, but I like that I can anytime I feel like it, and I never have to wait for someone else to check a book back in.

message 9: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) I'm to the point where I've forced myself to not buy books anymore. There are way too many books on the shelves that I haven't gotten around to reading, but I'm making a point of doing so.

Normally, I would reserve the books I want from the library, but I'm taking a few months off from borrowing a book from the library and tackling the books I have on my shelves that are staring at me.

message 10: by Sally, la reina (new)

Sally (mrsnolte) | 17320 comments Mod
Other than textbooks I haven't bought a book for nearly a year. Wait, I did buy Underworld at the flea market last summer for 50 cents.

message 11: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) $.50 for Underworld? Blasphemy!

message 12: by smetchie (new)

smetchie | 4034 comments I've hardly bought any books over the last few years. I had an epiphany that I could get any book I wanted at the library for FREE and that was that. I'm not sure why I ignored my lovely nearby library for so long! But here recently, I seem to be buying books again. I'm not sure why that's happening but I'm about to stop again. I have too many.

message 13: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) How is it possible to have too many books?

message 14: by smetchie (new)

smetchie | 4034 comments Well, I just have this one bookshelf and it's full! My nightstand is full too. I have enough of a clutter problem living in a tiny townhouse with 4 people. I don't need any help from books! Now if I could get rid of all my kids' crap, I could just buy another bookshelf and another and another. (This is what I plan to do when we have a bigger house someday!!)

message 15: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Yeah, I realize storage space is an issue. But I just get rid of furniture to make room for books. ;)

message 17: by smetchie (new)

smetchie | 4034 comments Misha wrote: "Yeah, I realize storage space is an issue. But I just get rid of furniture to make room for books. ;)"

My mom lives in this tiny apartment and when she moved in she actually built shelving that goes all around the entire place so she could fit all her books. So she relates, Misha.

message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments I agree with what you said about books making a place feel like home, Misha. I'm always weirded out by houses with no books.
I'll join the chorus of people saying they could go six months without buying with access to a good library. I'm pretty happy with my library, and I have enough books to last several lifetimes. That said, since I don't have a moratorium, I do buy the occasional book that strikes my fancy. It's rarely the books on my to-read list, strangely enough. Mostly impulse buys.

message 19: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I don't add books to my "to-read" list until I've purchased them. Every unread book on my list is one I own. I'm not a frequent library user, although it's at the top of my list when I get home to get a library card and become one.

message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Wow. So what if someone recommends a book you want to read but you haven't had a chance to buy it yet? Do you just keep it in your memory? Or a spreadsheet or something?

message 21: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments sure, i could give up buying books. i sometimes go that long anyway (except if there is a Friends Of The Library sale). i check them out several at a time from the library and occasionally reread old ones (like i am going to read Caribbean by James Michener again soon). plus i could go without buying books if i frequently got new ones gifted to me :)

message 22: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I either keep it in memory or I write it on a post-it. I keep a list tacked to my fridge.

message 23: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) I always add To-Read books on my GR Bookshelf. That's the only way I can remember which books I want to read.

message 24: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Yeah, that's one of my favorite things about GR is that I'll see somebody's review of something that sounds really good, and toss it on the list. The list is a little long, but it beats scrounging in my memory at the library.

message 25: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) For me, GR is a way to catalogue the books I own or have read in the past. I see people talking about interesting books all the time, but if I added them all to my "to-read" shelf, it would become unwieldy. If a book is on my radar, I'll remember if I see it while browsing. Or if I want to read it badly enough, I hop on over to amazon and see if I can find a cheap used copy in decent condition and I order it, and then I add it to my "to-read" shelf. It's the system that makes sense to me, but I don't expect it to work for anyone else. I also figure life as I know it isn't going to end if I forget I wanted to read some book.

message 26: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments Excellent points. And that might explain why I have a BIG list problem but can survive without buying new books, and you're posting a question about whether it's possible to go without buying books, but don't have an unwieldy list. To each her own :)

message 27: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11617 comments Misha wrote: "Could you stop buying books for six months? "

Sure, but why?

message 28: by Mary JL (new)

Mary JL (maryjl) | 250 comments I could---I have a large TBr pile and re-reading old favorites is always an option.

But, my primary shopping is used book stores and, in the summer, garage sales. I would hate to see something I've been searching for for a long time in a garage sale bin for $2 and not be able to buy it because I'm not buying for six months.

Also, I do buy books as gifts for frineds.

Since I do not have cable--I'd rather read than watch Tv I figure buying a few books is part of my entertainment budget.

I have cut down; I seldom buy new books but if I visit an indepent bookstore, I do buy one or two because we need to suppport our local bookstores.

message 29: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Giving up cable would be hard for me. What's the point of tv without cable? Network television is lame.

I can't remember the last new book I bought. Yay libraries:)

message 30: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) What??!! Absolutely NOT. There is no library anywhere near me, my work hours would make going there extremely inconvenient, and I am not only addicted to buying books, I am addicted to finding lovely cardboard boxes filled with goodies on my doorstep. My husband thinks I am having an affair with the UPS guy, he is here so often.

message 31: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I got a library card this morning. I even checked out a book.

Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments Yay, Misha!!!

message 33: by smetchie (new)

smetchie | 4034 comments Yay! Libraries! All those books are free!! I still can't believe it!

message 34: by smetchie (new)

smetchie | 4034 comments That was a lot of exclamation points first thing in the morning. wow.

message 35: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) They burned my eyes a little, actually.

message 36: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments I can't remember the last time I bought a book when it was new. I almost always buy used books at the library store, flea markets, antique shops, yard sales, estate sales... or if I'm looking for something newer, I'll get it from the library.

Last summer, while in Tennessee on vacation, I bought a 1st edition copy of My Friend Flicka and also of Treasure Island. They were both in excellent condition. Now I just need to remember where I put them while moving...

message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Gretchen wrote: "That was a lot of exclamation points first thing in the morning. wow."

I liked it!!!!!!!!!!

message 38: by Youndyc (new)

Youndyc | 1255 comments I don't think I could take a six-month break from buying, even though I'm pretty sure that I have more than a six month backlog of books to read. I guess I'm just in a phase, because I used to hardly ever buy books. I'll phase back to that again sometime, I'm sure.

message 39: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 18, 2010 10:50PM) (new)

RandomAnthony wrote: "Giving up cable would be hard for me. What's the point of tv without cable? Network television is lame.

I can't remember the last new book I bought. Yay libraries:)"
msg 31

Our household gave up cable in December (Just in time for the Summer holidays. What were we thinking?!). Maybe your cable is better than ours, apart from the sporting channels, the rest was repeat after repeat. We simply were not watching it any more. The kids took it surprisingly well. There is still plenty of entertainmnet on free-to-air (and of better quality) to keep them amused. They now have to be a little more constructive/creative with their spare time.

I'm addicted to buying books. I'm not giving it up for anyone.

message 40: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Good for you, gail. Don't give it up.

Cable is a permanent fixture in this household, I'm afraid. The whole package, the HD channels and the DVR and all.

Now I could live without it.

message 41: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) We have the full Monty Direct TV package because even though I rarely watch TV, when I do, I want a wide selection to choose from. Ironically, at those times there is almost never anything interesting in the line-up. Last night I ran down the movie listings and saw "How To Make An American Quilt" was on 4 different channels. WTF?

message 42: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) I stopped watching TV altogether from December 2008 until October 2009. I got rid of cable prior to leaving for Olympia last year, didn't have it while I was there and didn't miss it, so I didn't get it again when I returned home. Although I have an HD TV, I didn't have an antenna, so I couldn't pick up channels after the conversion until someone gave me one in October. Now I just watch House, Lost and Grey's Anatomy. Three hours a week after a lifetime of three-plus hours a night seems like tremendous progress to me.

I did shift to spending more time online, but even that is more productive way to spend my time than zoning out in front of the TV. At least I'm conversing with people when I'm online, or reading news or something.

message 43: by Chantelle (last edited Mar 25, 2010 11:44AM) (new)

Chantelle (chantelle13) | 38 comments I don't think so.

My problem with going to the library is it's so big and I can never find what I want there. Also, I never get them back in time so then I have to pay fines. I'd rather pay and own the book. :D

message 44: by Misha (new)

Misha (ninthwanderer) Also, I never get them back in time so then I have to pay fines. I'd rather pay and own the book. :D

That's been my philosophy for a long time, but now I'm trying to shift to just making sure I'm a better library patron and returning the materials when they're due. I need to declutter my life, not acquire more stuff.

message 45: by Cosmic Sher (new)

Cosmic Sher (sherart) | 2234 comments Last year I had to go at least six months without buying anything, much to my panic. Oddly enough, I had about a book a month that would somehow end up in my hands without purchasing anything. I won some, I was given a couple. I think the Book Gods were taking pity on me. Thank you Book Gods! :)

message 46: by Jaime (new)

Jaime | 158 comments I know I could go 6 months w/o buying books. I have over 100 unread ones @ my house. Also I got a card for the Boston Public Library a couple months back and that place is huge. So yeah I probably could, but I probably wouldn't want to. I buy most of my books @ the used book store anyway so it is a lot cheaper.

However I would have a difficult time going w/ out cable. I watch to many shows.

message 47: by Nuri (new)

Nuri (nools) | 538 comments Oh, I've tried.

About a year ago, I made a pact with myself to stop buying books -- not counting necessary textbooks -- to minimize the pain of moving out (which will happen in little over a month). I got somewhat better.... as in my numbers were down to two books a month instead of four. -_-;; It's tricky, with so many neat little used bookshops lining the route between my apartment and classes. And I buy books therapeutically, the way some girls buy shoes: to treat good behavior, to relieve stress, to celebrate, to mourn....

I thought I would be okay because of the respectable campus library, but that just means I have 40+ books checked out at any given time, on top of all the books I own and haven't read. D:

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

I haven't paid for a book with my own money in a very long time; I have bought a couple of books with gift certificates. My wife was getting pretty upset with my book buying. So I had to switch to the public library and the library of the university I work for. Now, buying music.....that is an entirely different matter....much to my wife's chagrin.

message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

No book buying?? Mais non!! An absolute impossibility

message 50: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Miss Belle wrote: "No book buying?? Mais non!! An absolute impossibility"

That's it. No book buying for you, Miss Belle.

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