On Reigning in My Book Buying Addiction

As I mentioned earlier this week my boyfriend recently lost his job. While I am glad for the saftinets unemployment provides and the excitement of new opportunities around every corner there is still a lot of fear and stress in our house. We’re both looking at things we can cut back on, and ways to spend our time that don’t require doling out the dollars. 

One of these cuts will be my books. You all know I love books, but you may not have known I buy most of my collection. Despite being a librarian, my place in a special collection doesn’t give me extra easy access to popular fiction. I also find that as a voracious reader my tastes and eagerness for new releases tends to mean I am on a waitlist at my public library for months on end or beginning my library to pick up a new title by a little known author just so it can circulate to just me. As much as I advocate for libraries and their use I am not exactly a leader by example. 

This is saying nothing of other book formats. Sure I love a good codex. I want to own my favorite books for the sheer beauty of cover art and fat pages. But I also love to read in a variety of ways. Audiobooks get me through many workdays.  I love my Audible subscription (which I am keeping) but I also love buying audiobooks on sale. My library is a little out of control and I am finding myself confused as to how I own so many books that I have such little interest in listening too. Clearly there is room for cutting back here but I am not good with silence, and the idea of jumping back into the world of podcasts during the Coronavirus outbreak and the US Primary election is just too much. 

I have a similar problem with ebooks. I always have a book going on my Kindle. I’m a light sleeper and more nights then not I spend an hour or so in the middle of the night reading by the soft screen of my Paperwhite. The idea of having no reading material readily available for in bed reading makes me anxious. This on top of the portability of both my Kindle and the phone app brings me so much joy that I don’t quite know how to move forward. Library holds do take forever. My public system doesn’t support e-resources as well as a physical collection, but the costs of buying them for myself adds up. 

I am of course starting by eyeing my own personal backlog. The Audible library, my Kindle collection, and of course my physical books, which live on two floors of my house between 5 rooms and countless bookshelves. As a mood reader I am finding that I own so many books that sound amazing, but not right now, in the fall, or the summer. They sound like a great read for when life is less stressful, or that I should save it for the next time I am on a roadtrip or need a book for a flight. I’m trying to break this mood reading habit so I can still enjoy my favorite pass time while cutting through my backlog and saving money but so far I have resolved myself to library holds. 

Yes. Despite my complaints about wait times and lack of electronic resources I am getting a lot of use out of my library. I had 4 holds come in at once and I am paralyzed by the act of needing to read so much so fast both before my mood pasts and before my time with these items end. 

I guess what I am saying is that my book owning addiction is a work in progress. I know I am not alone in my love of owning books, in my mood reading, or in my want for more comprehensive libraries with shorter wait times. 

Readers, I need advice. How do you cut your bookish spending while still enjoying all of the books?

11 thoughts on “On Reigning in My Book Buying Addiction

  1. Sorry to hear about the financial worries 😦 I went through something similar a while ago and — though it wasn’t fun — it was a good opportunity to think about purchasing patterns. I feel like I’ve embraced a much more minimalist (and happier) way of living.

    I use my public library religiously — which is about a 10 minute bike from my home, and easy to link into other errands. My library also has an amazing online system, with (1) the option of reserving new releases months in advance (= near the top of the list), and (2) ample e-books and audiobooks that stream directly to my phone.

    – My neighbourhood has a number of little free libraries
    – I swap books with colleagues and friends
    – There are online repositories (like Project Gutenberg) which have lots of free books
    – Fanfiction! You’d be AMAZED at some of the amazingly high-quality work out there!
    – I’m a big re-reader, so frequently return to favourite books that are on my shelf
    – I live in a rich university town. Second-hand stores are a great place to find cheap, gently-used, and almost-new releases.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do like buying books and having my own personal “library” but I also really appreciate using free resources available to me to read plenty of books. I couldn’t buy every single book I want to read otherwise I’d be bankrupt immediately! Here are some things I do, which you might find useful:

    I am able to use my library to borrow e-books and audiobooks, which is really helpful.

    I also read and review books via NetGalley, which means I get access to newer books without having to buy them on publication day.

    It’s also worthwhile asking people you know to see if they have any book recommendations / books you could borrow from them.

    Also, keep an eye on places such as the Amazon Kindle store / authors’ newsletters & Twitter accounts. They often have deals and promotions where some ebooks will be completely free to download, either via Amazon or signing up to a newsletter. I don’t do this as often, but I have used this in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I rely on overdrive for new books. Recently I bought a library subscription for the Nashville, TN system. It’s quite a deal because it’s only $10 per year and their wait time is lower than my local system (which serves a larger area) and their selection is hands down better. I’ve looked in to buying in to other libraries, but most are around $50 per yr. Are there any nearby library systems you can buy in to?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve heard that Houston’s is good (I think it’s $40 per year). But a friend said Nashville’s is still better (and much cheaper). The only problem, as of when I bought mine (about a month ago), you have to visit a branch within Nashville’s system in person :/. For me that was an 1.5 hr drive. You could try calling directly and see if you can convince to let you do it via snail mail ?


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