Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Buyers Anonymous

While reading the fabulous book 84, Charing Cross Road, I discovered this quote:

"It's against my principles to buy a book I haven't read, it's like buying a dress you haven't tried on..." p.44

When I read that, I knew I'd found a kindred spirit.. As a general rule, I never buy books I haven't read before. There are exceptions - most of them books in a series I HAVE to read as soon as they come out (Harry Potter, Twilight, probably Catching Fire). I am extremely particular about what I own. Almost exclusively, the books I read come from the library (shocking, I know). However, after reading lots of other book bloggers' habits, I realize I am pretty alone in this practice.

I have been thinking about my reasons for only buying what I've already read.
-First, I already know it is worth buying. I know this book in hand will be something I want to read again sometime, share with others, and save for my children to enjoy.
-Second, I am a stingy person. I hate to admit it, but I don't like to spend money. It makes me feel queasy. Don't get me wrong, when I walk in a bookstore, I want to buy lots of things, but there is that stingy, penny-pincher inside me that says, "Look at that price! Maybe you should just wait." I want to know that the money I spend on a book is worth every cent - no surprises.
-Third, my husband is still in school, so we really don't have a lot of money to spend (even if I let myself spend it). I think that perhaps if I had some unlimited funds, I would go wild with it. Maybe.

What type of book buyer are you and why?


  1. I'm with you on this one. I rarely buy a book without having read it first (series no included). I think it's too "risky" and hate wasting the money :)

    It always surprises me how many people own hundreds of books they've never read.

  2. I'm with you there too. I read before I buy because I feel it's an incredible waste of my money if I buy a book and then don't like it. Argh.

    I do mooch books I haven't read, though... but I don't think that counts.

  3. Totally depends for me. If it's really cheap, I'm liable to buy it either way.

    Full price, though, I had better know for a fact that it's gonna be good!

  4. KT and Melissa, I am so glad to know I'm not alone. Who wants to waste good money on something that might suck?

    Britt, that is true. I need to shop more at used bookstores. It turns out, the cheaper it is, the more likely I will buy it even if I haven't read it. I haven't read Dust of 100 Dogs or The Penderwicks, but I just bought them at a used bookstore. Hm...

  5. Since I have HUNDREDS of review books sitting around, I've TRIED not to buy anything new. Unfortunately, I love new books - the covers are so shiny, the pages so crisp, they smell so GOOD - so sometimes I can't resist. I do try to buy books only when I have some kind of discount. Then, I generally buy books I know I'll like. Sometimes, I buy ones I THINK I'll like and sometimes I'm disappointed - check out my latest blog entry to see what I mean.

    It's fun to hear everyone else's book-buying habits. Very interesting!

  6. Susan, I love new books, too. I will usually only buy new with discounts and coupons. Or birthdays and Christmas presents :) I definitely don't have the problem with hundreds of review books (right now, I have one)!

  7. I am the same! I like to own books that I will read over and over again. I hate having books on my shelf that I know I won't ever read again. I also hate buying a book I haven't read and been disappointed by it. That actually happened recently. I don't normally do that, but I must have been feeling frivolous that day.

    So I only buy books that come from authors that have never disappointed me (if I haven't read it yet), or books that are in a series that I must own.

    I try to pinch my pennies, because I can't afford to buy books by the masses. However, a little splurge every now and then boosts my spirits.


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