Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Confessions of a Chronic Book Buyer

Here's the thing. I have a little problem, that's actually become a pretty big problem. I have too many books. I'm pretty much addicted to them--more specifically, I'm addicted to buying them. And yes, I do read them as well, but the real thrill is purchasing them. I get so happy when I have a brand new (or even new to me) book in my hands. There is so much joy and possibility.

But the thing is, no matter how much I enjoy reading, I can never keep up with the pace. Books are everywhere in my apartment. EVERYWHERE. I need at least two more very large bookshelves to even begin to address the issue.

There is also the issue of money. I do not want to even begin to think about how much money I have spent on books.

I have been trying to cull through the excess of reading material. I currently have a large box of books behind my couch that's waiting to go to Half-Price Books. I'll make a little money back from them, but it's quite minimal.

I need a plan to keep my obsession with buying books from taking over my apartment and depleting my wallet.

My first strategy is to go on a book buying hiatus and to (gasp!) actually read the books I already have. My book shelves are like my own personal book store. Opening a new book is exciting whether it's been newly purchased or not, right? Although I always have the intention of reading a book when I buy it, sometimes I'm already in the middle of a book (or 4) at that time, and so it waits for a little while. Then, often, I'm in a different mood by the time I get around to it, and so I move onto something else. But it's a wonderful gift to have books all around me to choose from when I need something new to read. Still, there's the ever-present allure of something REALLY new to read.

So my next thought is to supplement with the Public Library. Libraries are lovely places. I love them, and just checked out a few books this morning. But I love writing in my books, and libraries tend to frown upon that. I also like the share my books with others, and to go back and reread passages here and there. So, while libraries are great for some books and to satisfy a lot of my book lust, I'm still going to have to buy some books.

Here is where I automatically log onto and start clicking. I'm beginning to have moral qualms with them (that post forthcoming). I am currently exploring alternative online options. I love browsing at Borders and Barnes and Noble, but they are not cheap. Coupons and rewards cards help, but it's still a lot. Half Price Books is great, but it's very hit or miss if you are looking for a specific title.

I'm going to try to severely limit my new book purchases for a while, as that is the only real solution to not having so many books in my home. Of course, I will always want to be surround with good books, but there is a limit to the total tonnage a one-bedroom apartment can hold.

Do you buy too many books? Any tips for me on how to curb my addiction?


Lauren said...

So glad I am not the only one! Sometimes I think I am going to bury myself alive in books! I bought a Kindle. It's not exactly cheap, but it's a HUGE space saver and most of the Kindle editions are slightly cheaper than paperback. Now I only buy the ones I want for my "collection" or that I know I will read again. Between my Kindle (for the new stuff) and the library, I can get everything I need!

Katie said...

I had a mini-binge in Half Price Books myself this week! I was so excited that they had two titles I was looking for that I threw in a third!
Most of the time I'm pretty good about not buying books because I already have plenty to read at home. And I only go to bookstores when I'm looking for a title that I already plan to buy, so that's helpful. That and I'm really cheap, which I don't know if that's like a personal trait you can cultivate or what. ;)

Carolyn said...

Oh honey... I hear ya. You know what really helped me? When I had to move and realized that I needed to get rid of about half my books. Eek! I also realized I was buying for the sake of reading, but maybe not evne books I loved. Since moving to NYC, I check out books from the library like a madwoman. But I only end up purchasing ones that I truly love and know I will want to open again. It's amazing how much money I've saved and how much better I feel! Also I now try to buy them used whenever I can.

Caitlin said...

Lauren-I do see a Kindle as a huge help in the space department, but I don't know if I could give up paper books! I'm really trying to use the library more, but the book stores keep sucking me back in!

McB-My problem is that I use bookstores as a pick-me up when I'm having a bad day. And then the temptation!!!

Carolyn-Moving did force me to get rid of a lot of books the last time, but I wasn't going nearly as far away as you, so I wasn't force to pare down quite so drastically. I know it would be so good for me, but it's so hard to let go! Hopefully, at the next move, I"ll be able to do more! I'm glad to hear that it feels so good!