Kernels of Nonsense, #26: Why Do You Buy Books?

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is a bimonthly feature where I discuss various book and blogging related topics. This week I want to discuss why I buy books and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

As a bookworm, I love buying books. I love having my own mini library and dream of one day having a room full of just books. I’m thinking Beauty and the Beast, but that might be too ambitious. I love sharing what books I’ve acquired in my monthly book haul posts and since I started doing this, I haven’t gone a month without having at least one new book to add to my shelf.

It would be practical to say that I buy books so I can read them right away. And that I buy books because I know I will eventually pull them off my shelves in the future for a reread (I can say that this does apply to many of my purchases, but this is mostly limited to books from series I’ve been reading and obsessing about). Of course that wouldn’t be the entire truth.

Sometimes I buy books and don’t read them for several months. And if I’m being brutally honest, I have a few books on my shelf that have been there for several years. I buy books because there are great deals. I buy them because who doesn’t love 20% off or free shipping? I buy books because I’ve heard wonderful things or because I love a particular author and even though I may not pick it up right away, I feel the need to buy them now. I buy books because I want to own a complete series even though I’ve only read the first one. I buy books because even though I already own a copy, there is something beautiful about this one and it’s not that crazy to own six editions of Pride and Prejudice. Right? And I admit, I’ve even bought a book simply because it was pretty, not because I really wanted to read it. Don’t even get me started on the pretty editions of classics I come across even though I may already own the book.

And although I often visit my library because if I’m honest yet again, I cannot afford my reading habit, I still buy books. I still buy books when I could probably get them from the library. All it takes is a little patience and sometimes a lot of patience, but does that really matter when I have so many other books on my TBR list that I can read in the meantime?

I’ve recently been stricken with the book buying bug (can you tell?) and was contemplating preordering a few books. But it’s June and the books I’ve been thinking about don’t come out until September. Is this too early to preorder books? Am I just buying them to satisfy this urge? What will happen next week when I want more books, but have already spent money on these preordered ones?

It doesn’t makes sense for me to buy more books right now. I have three books checked out from the library and two books I wanted to read a couple of months ago waiting for me on my shelf, not to mention the other books on my shelf I haven’t gotten to yet. And it’s already half-way through June and I’m supposed to reread at least one book this month. I’m booked (pun not intended) for June and yet…

It doesn’t make sense for me to buy more books now, so how do I get myself to say no?

Why do you buy books? Do you buy them with the intention of reading them right away or do you buy them because you just have to have them? Have you ever bought a book, not because you were particularly interested in reading it, but because it was on sale or it was too lovely to pass on? Do you have multiple copies of any books? Why? Do you ever get the sudden urge to buy books by the dozen? How do you say “no” to yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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32 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense, #26: Why Do You Buy Books?

  1. I usually bulk buy books, I buy a lot of books that will last me for a while, then stop buying books (this part is very difficult!) until the pile is significantly smaller, and then buy more. I buy books one because I like owning books, and two because the books I want to read usually aren’t available at my local library, plus I just love the feeling of buying new books!

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  2. I actually don’t buy too many books but when I do it’s either impulse where I absolutely have to have that book right this minute regardless of the fact that I could get it from the library and have heard nothing about it or it’s some kind of cookbook that I’ve gotten from the library before and decided I must own. Plus sometimes it’s just fun to get a big stack of books! Great topic!

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  3. I buy books because, let’s face it, I’m an addict! LOL

    Okay, I am trying to curb my book buying impulse and requesting more books for review, like from NetGalley, which I have just joined. My rule: only request books that I would have purchased.

    But yes, sometimes, the urge overcomes me…and there is no rational reason. Back to the addict thing…

    I have also been purging lately…many books have left my home to go to the library sales…and there are many more. Buying e-books instead of print ones helps me justify the addiction.

    Here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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  4. I have a few OCD tendencies and one of them is completion; so I tend to buy books so I can have an entire set. I rarely DNF a book so I usually continue on with the series if it is one. The good thing is I only buy books that are bargain priced usually (except for favorite authors, their books are bought upon release). I also tend to buy books because I like to reread a lot too. Great post, Alicia!

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    • DNFing a book you’ve purchased is the worst, I feel like I’m wasting money and even though it hurts, I often finish these. Fav authors and books from series I’ve been reading are the ones I mostly preorder because telling myself to wait is ridiculous because I know I’m going to buy them. Thanks, Summer!

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  5. You’ve said so much of what I would say already that I don’t particularly want to repeat myself. I currently own 4 copies of Pride and Prejudice (one is in an anthology so maybe it doesn’t count) and I really want another nice, annotated one.

    I buy books because I’m a collector, and I collect books the way someone else might collect Pez dispensers. I intend to read them all one day, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will always have books on my shelves that I haven’t yet read, and I’m okay with that. In fact, I like it, because that means I don’t have to wait–I can just get up and grab something new.

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    • No, I don’t think it counts. I didn’t count my copy of Pride and Prejudice that is included in my huge Jane Austen book which includes all of her novels. I like the way you think, considering yourself a collector gives a lot more freedom to yourself when it comes to book buying.

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  6. I love buying books and sometimes that gets me into trouble with my wallet and my husband lol. My favorite store is Half Price Books and they always seem to have good books on clearance so I wind up walking out of the store with 10 books. If it’s a book I’ve been wanting to read and it’s a great price, I’ll buy it. I generally don’t buy new releases because they are so expensive for just one book. I have multiple copies of Gone With The Wind, Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park and The Wheel of Time series. Those are some of my favorites so I love collecting different editions.

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  7. Ah, I have so many books that I’ve bought and planned to read ASAP but it ended up just sitting there as more new books come in but I don’t really mind because I just love the feeling of having a whole bookshelf or 2 just to myself, a collection of the books that kind of represent my tastes and my thoughts. I guess it’s just comforting too when things get crazy and you need some place to remind you who you are. Plus, some just look so freaking pretty 😉

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  8. All of these things apply to me except for owning multiple copies. I technically have two copies of the Giver but hope to give it away in a giveaway one day. I just prefer owning books to getting them the library. I have also found that I kind of love annotating my books. So I like writing in them. Granted I don’t plan on writing in each book I own, but I feel like I just enjoy writing in them and maybe someday a person will borrow them and see something I’ve written and it could start a discussion. I don’t know. I personally love the idea of owning all the books. Even if it may never happen, I enjoy book collecting. It makes me happy. I buy books when I can afford to and have the money to so I don’t feel ashamed it about. 🙂

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    • Book collecting makes me happy too. It isn’t possible to own all the books, but we can certainly try! I love my library because it gives me a chance to read a book before I buy it, and if I end up loving a book, then I go ahead and buy myself a copy.

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      • I definitely see the merit in libraries and I used to use them avidly. So avidly that I would only read library books and had a gigantic TBR of books I owned. I think that the books I don’t love or want to come could go to my library or used bookstores in hopes of finding a better bookshelf.

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  9. Here’s the problem – while I don’t mind reading eBooks, if I read something that I absolutely adore, I MUST have a print copy of it. There is something very permanent feeling about a print book. Of course, I can’t resist buying books in print, especially when they’re on sale and they would cost me more if I bought them as eBooks. But I am trying to buy less books and I’m also trying (mostly failing) to get rid of books from my shelves that I know I’ll never read or didn’t particularly like.

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  10. I buy books for every and all reasons that you listed. I have a whole room for a library in my house and unfortunately I have nearly 400 books that I haven’t read yet… Yeah, I like to buy books when they appeal to me or are on sale, but I don’t get around to reading them all. And I’ve inherited a bunch of books…. And I get free books from church sales, library giveaways and The Book Thing, which is an entire free book warehouse in my city. So I have a ton of books that I need to read.

    Luckily, I’ve been reading almost exclusively ebooks lately, so I haven’t added to my physical reading pile. And ebooks are usually cheaper too. But, if I love a book, I want a physical copy to display or get signed.

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    • That sounds like a dream! I’ve love to have a single room devoted to books and having so many you haven’t read yet is like having your own personal library. I’d probably do the same thing if I had the room, but I try to be a little bit picky because I don’t. Ebooks are very convenient, but I like owning a physical copy of a book too.

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