Start a Personal Book Buying Ban

I have more books than I can read. I may have more books than I can read in my lifetime. I’ve done the math: amount of pages I can read in a day divided by the approximate amount of pages I have on my bookshelves. At the time I assumed 100 pages a day. I was 20-something and my life was different then. Now, depending on the book I’m reading and how obligated I feel to finish it or how much I actually like reading it… I may read 20 pages a day.

I’ve been better at limiting the fiction books. I finish them and take them to the secondhand bookstore. There, I can trade several books for one new (unread by me) book. This works well as long as I keep taking books in and don’t buy too many new fiction books at the big, shiny bookstores. Of course, the fresh, unread by anyone, books from the bookstores are tempting. Not only are they newly published but I can give myself the excuse of reading with a latte at the bookstore.

Non-fiction books are another story. I buy more than I need. Always thinking I will read and study them and use what I have learned. Good intentions. But, I end up with a lot of books I’d like to read sitting on my bookshelves. I have to work at not buying more non-fiction.

One thing I have learned is to know what I already have. Including which edition. I really get annoyed with myself when I find I have bought the same book twice.

4. The TBR is your friend. Treat your TBR like a pop up bookstore. Don’t agonize, just pick one. But here’s the trick: if you don’t like it, move on quickly to the next book until you find one that scratches your new book itch. The problem with the TBR is that it can feel like a chore, whereas a new book is thrilling. So don’t force yourself to stick with something if it isn’t working. Keep plowing through until you hit on one that you can’t put down.

3. Review your shelves and donate books you no longer need. This sounds counterintuitive, but it reduces the TBR and provides a visceral reminder of how much privilege is implied by the idea of having to work hard not to buy something that many people consider a luxury, in comparison to medicine, food, or rent.

2. Reorganize your book shelves. Maybe according to date, or color, or some other funky scheme. Or at least dust them. I guarantee you’ll have a new appreciation for what you already own. And it might pique your interest in a forgotten, unread purchase, or send you down several miles of memory lanes with old favorites.

Source: 10 Painless Ways to Stick to Your Book Buying Ban

4 thoughts on “Start a Personal Book Buying Ban

  1. This is a subject that applies to me as well the subject, not just books but belongings as well.

    I am from an older generation when people did not have near so much stuff, books which are the subject, but stuff in general as well. I think books, which are the subject, weigh on your being. Yet there are so many that sound good, and that one should have or would like to read.

    Seems to me the library was the answer. At least it did satisfy me years go you chose what interest you, read it and took it back. Owning books, was seldom although I do have yet in my possession and know just where it is a book my Dad bought for me one day when we where out for a walk. A big picture book and the story of Heidi. I have years ago read it and read it and read it and now just treasure the memory and the day and that little kid and her Dad.

    • I don’t use the library. Mainly there is the problem with having a short time to read the borrowed books. I do like to read a book knowing it isn’t borrowed too. If I dog ear a page I don’t have to feel bad or wonder about being fined when I return the book.

  2. I always have a problem with my books. I buy many of them, but I don’t have enough time to read them. Libraries aren’t for me, because I just hate being in a library and knowing that the book I’m going to read isn’t mine. That’s weird, isn’t it? I’ve never met a person who hasn’t borrowed any book from a library. I haven’t. I’m not proud of this, quite on the contrary, I have a strange bewildering feeling. Sometimes, I feel so ashamed of my buying books obsession… It’s so painful to acknowledge that you’re not perfect. I hope you understand me.
    In Christ,
    Samantha

    • None of us are perfect. As soon as anyone could become perfect they’d be perfectly dull, lacking a few mistakes to laugh about.

      I do like buying a new book too. I still like the smell of them, especially noticeable the very odd time I spend the extra to have a hardcover book. I miss the days when books came out as hardcovers and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

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