Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Why Buy?

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?


My book-buying and -borrowing goes in phases, and they also depend on what sort of book I want to read. Books that fall into the reference category are most likely to be keepers. I also tend to keep classics (yes, even the ones I can read for free online) and books that I want my kids to read (like the harry Potter series). I'll pick up titles in a series, assuming they're cheap (a buck or less); these are the most likely to be wild-released with a BookCrossing ID.

When I was much more active in book-trading and -releasing, I'd buy duplicates of books I'd already read so that I could spread the love of a good story... I don't do this anymore; money's tight and I have to get rid of many before I can invest in more.

The rest of my purchases are usually books that I've tasted, but can't find readily at my library; it's in a pretty small town, and it's improving in some ways, but not so much in acquiring books in certain of my favorite genres (like fantasy--their collection has Paolini and Rowling, but that's about it). The larger system serving the metro area has a much more extensive collection overall, but has had cutbacks in recent years (surprise! not!), and added a minimal amount of titles during that time.

I think the most basic reason I buy books comes down to two oddities I have in my head: poor impulse control (I don't want to wait for the book I want to read right nownownow, nor do I want an other-imposed deadline), and a deep-seated sense of lack, sort of a neurotic need to have things to make up for how I felt when I didn't have the books I wanted.

*cue music* "...living in a material world..." *fade*

So, yeah, I guess it boils down to mental illness. Unfortunately, this really cheeses DH off. But, I consider myself in good company.

I've also posted my Thursday 13 over on my other blog.

7 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

Actually, I own everything I read because my local library doesn't exactly cater to readers of Romance.

Melanie said...

I'm so lucky i've got a big city library system. They do seem to have random holes though. when i went on a Mercedes Lackey Valdemar series kick i was buying random volumes, they'd have part 1 and 3 in a series but not part 2.

Tina Kubala said...

If book ownership is a mental illness, I don't want a cure.

Nicole said...

Yes, indeed. I, too, have accepted my mental illness.

gautami tripathy said...

book buying addiction is better than any kind of other additions!

Must buy!

Janet said...

LOL! Yup, that'd be me, not wanting to wait. Or sometimes, semi-drunken browsing, but that happens very infrequently!

Alea said...

It's definitely an impulse thing for me too. I prefer paperbacks but sometimes it's so hard to not break down and get the hardcover. That's when I should really use the library, so i can read the book NOW but buy it later in the format i want!