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Why I Buy Books

June 27, 2009
tags:

books I've bought

I used to use the library all the time and rarely bought books for myself.  I would buy books for others, but felt like I read books too quickly (and rarely re-read them) to justify spending the money on them.  I’ve always enjoyed owning books, though, and would always say that I would buy lots of them if money was no object.

When I started this blog a year ago, I was thrilled to make contact with publishers and authors and even more thrilled when they sent me a book.  As my relationships with some of these authors, publishers and publicists have grown over this past year, I’ve come to realize that they can’t continue to write and publish books if no one supports their efforts financially.  Of course I knew this before, but when a publisher told me their profit margin is very small, it occurred to me that my purchases could make a  difference.  I think I’ve bought more books this past year than I did in the 25 years prior to that!  (I bought 2 today!)

I appreciate the fact that not everyone can afford to buy books, especially with our current economy.  If you can’t afford them for yourself, why not give them as gifts?  A cookbook and a kitchen gadget would make a great bridal shower gift.  I love to give board books for baby gifts.  The possibilities are endless –  be creative, and support the publishing industry if you can.  They need us now more than ever!

My Friend Amy believes in buying books, too.  She and Lenore are hosting a book drive for Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart.   This is a wonderful opportunity to show the impact bloggers can make.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2009 7:19 am

    Great post, Kathy! I have had my eyes opened to the plight of authors and publishers in the past year and I have really started to buy more new books. I do use the library because I’m unemployed, but if there is a book they don’t have I really don’t hesitate to buy it new. I also have heard that the UK libraries pay royalties for books I take out each time, so that makes me feel a little better.

    When I do get a job, I plan on buying more books as well. I really want to support the industry.

  2. June 27, 2009 7:35 am

    I’ve never been a big library user–something about having to return the book in 3 weeks didn’t work for me (I guess because I’ll buy a book and it will sit on my shelf for a year before I pick it up). I do feel like I’m doing my part to support, but mostly I just like being surrounded by books. 🙂 And I love lending them out (to the right people who will take care and return).

  3. June 27, 2009 7:37 am

    I’ve also probably bought more books since I started blogging (and getting “free” books from publishers) than I did before. I love buying books as gifts too.

  4. June 27, 2009 7:52 am

    Each book purchase supports an amazing amount of people: author, editors (usually at least 2), proofreader, publisher, agent (and sometimes indexer, permission researcher, legal department). Think about it — each $12 purchase is stretched at least 6 ways.

    Buy books!!!!

  5. June 27, 2009 7:54 am

    I’ve always been a buyer of books (sometimes even professionally!) as well as a heavy library user. I’ve bought new books from the “big” stores, independents, and book clubs. I’ve bought tons of used books as well. Now that I’m blogging, I’m receiving free books and ARCs, but I still buy new books! All the “rewards” programs that I participate in provide me with gift cards to bookstores. My friends and family know that gift cards to bookstores are No. 1 on my Wish List for gifts. And speaking of gifts – you’re so right, Kathy! Books alway make great gifts! I don’t think I’m buying less books since I’ve been blogging — I just think more of what I am buying is for other people! Great post, Kathy. I must say, I am very interested in the book Amy and Lenore are supporting – I’m sure I’ll be a buyer!

  6. June 27, 2009 8:40 am

    My collection of books is mainly comprised of gifts and used books (look brand new, though) from library book sales. However, my contribution is that I purchase books as gifts ALL the time! I do on occasion purchase books for myself (just bought one yesterday), but it’s not a regular occurrence because I already have so many on my TBR Shelves. Your post is a good reminder, though.

  7. June 27, 2009 9:19 am

    I love buying books, too. Despite the fact that I never seem to get around to reading books I’ve bought for myself (my own fault, usually! LOL!), I haven’t stopped. My reasons are a bit more selfish than yours. For me it’s more than just the paper and cover. It embodies that whole world and the experience of traveling there through reading.

    Great post, Kathy! I am looking forward to Amy and Lenore’s book drive. You can be sure that I’ll be buying at least one copy. 🙂

    • June 27, 2009 9:28 am

      We love to buy even gift items at little independent bookstores just to support them. It’s so much more than books in a book store – it’s the ambience, the opportunity to scan what’s out there, the care they take in selection, and in making displays to educate us on good choices, etc. I have found great books by going to the section “Our recommendations.” I love bookstores and hope I can always spare something to support them! Great post!

  8. June 27, 2009 10:15 am

    I use the library as much as I possibly can but that doesn’t stop me from buying about 4 books a month. Just the other day I bought 2 books for my husband at B&N and I ordered 1 for him and 1 for my son online. I love giving gift cards to bookstores as gifts. I’m very sympathetic to the publishing houses but most especially to the smaller ones that have to compete against the giants. That’s why I like to review books from the little guys as much as possible so that in some small way people will become more aware of those books that are fantastic but the advertising $$$ are slim.

  9. June 27, 2009 10:38 am

    Nice post. who can argue that the book industry is not worth supporting? 🙂

  10. June 27, 2009 11:18 am

    I love buying books, I like to own them. I buy atleast 50-60 books each year. And they are mostly brand new too, so there is a direct profit to the publishers 🙂

    I guess, we as reviewers and bcoz of our contacts with the publishers and the authors know very well how small the profit margin is.

  11. June 27, 2009 11:23 am

    I only give books as presents to nieces and nephews. I love to buy books!

  12. June 27, 2009 11:31 am

    What an eloquent post, and what a necessary one. Books are, to my mind, beautiful objects—fluid and alive, provocative, and I’ve always loved owning my own, buying them as gifts, stacking them about me as I work. Authors and editors and publishers depend on souls like you. Thank you so much for this.

  13. June 27, 2009 11:36 am

    I completely agree – buy, buy, buy!

  14. June 27, 2009 11:39 am

    I have always been a book buyer, for others as well as for myself. I just love to be able to hold them and know that they are mine to be loved. One reason I don’t use the library much is because I have a habit of buying. There are worse vices than books, so I don’t feel bad for spending the money. As a teacher, I know how important it is to have books in the classroom, which is another reason I own so many, some in multiple copies. Being able to support authors, pubs, bookstores, etc is a plus to my habit!

  15. June 27, 2009 11:47 am

    I know I’ve bought more books since blogging than I did before… though I’ve always been a bit of a book-buyer.. *cough* verging on hoarder. But I became aware of how important book purchasing is for everyone (publishers, authors, and readers, as well) last December when I read Josh Henkin’s email about how declining book sales may end up limiting our choices in books available to even read.

    Unfortunately, our Waldenbooks went out, so Walmart is my only new-book store now. I recently made my first online book purchase, but it’s not the same as touching/smelling/lingering in a brick-n-mortar store, not to mention no sales people or fellow customers to chat with and get recommendations from.

    Thanks for another great post, Kathy 😀

  16. bookslistslife permalink
    June 27, 2009 1:25 pm

    I don’t buy many books any more. I get a lot through paperbackswap and I make an effort to use our library as much as possible. since I don’t have much reading time and my income needs to spread a million places, it doesn’t make sense for me to buy books so they can sit there. I understand your point and I’m glad that there are people who can buy books, but *right now* it’s not something I can do.

    (ps, got a new avatar thing!)

  17. June 27, 2009 1:46 pm

    Interesting post!
    I buy most of my books, too. Well, this spring I decided to borrow a little more and buy a little less, since my budget is smaller, but I still buy more than 75% of the books I read. I love buying books as gifts too, and I do every time I can. It’s my little way of trying to participate!

  18. June 27, 2009 2:52 pm

    This is a wonderful post, Kathy, and you raise some good points. My switch over to buying books came at a time when I was working long hours and the libraries in town weren’t open when I could use them. I fell out of the habit of using the library as a result. Now, I buy way too many books, but I do take comfort in the fact that I am supporting people in an industry I value.

  19. June 27, 2009 3:10 pm

    Great post. I am a book buyer also. I confess that I haven’t ever consciously done it with a view to supporting publishing companies or authors. I just love to buy books. So I think it is great that you posted this to create awareness.
    And while I love the books that I get from publishers to review, most of the time if I want a book, it is not one I just happened to get or request for review. I also do shop competitively though, as I do like to buy a lot of books and I have to justify my spending more and more in this economy.
    I don’t shop on line much because of my impatient for books nature. As for the library, I love a visit to the library and I do check out books, but I am not always patient enough to get on a list for one that I want. So I use that as my device when I have blown my book budget, not to mention that I love the vibe that runs though my blood when I enter a bookstore or library. (so invigorating, I get in there and I just want to plow through pages of words)
    So I am off to buy the final book in the Twilight Series. Again great post… I am thinking I might start adding purchased books on my Mailbox Monday.

  20. June 27, 2009 3:49 pm

    Even though I’m a librarian, and as a cataloger I get to handle nearly everything that comes in, I still buy more books than I check out. I just want to have the book as my own, and I want to be able to pass it on (if I can bear to part with it – one look at my bookshelves would tell you how un-generous I really am!)

  21. June 27, 2009 4:11 pm

    I buy lots of books. Whenever I tell anyone that I buy books they raise an eyebrow because I also receive a lot for review.

    I also buy multiple copies of books I really love. I only wish I could do more sometimes to help sell books by authors I love.

    I also don’t discriminate on where I buy books. I buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, indies, etc. I mean Monday I went to Vromans and walked out with 4 books!

  22. June 27, 2009 4:51 pm

    Great post, Kathy. I’ve only recently started using my library more, but I prefer still to buy my books to add them to my home library. I don’t re-read many books either, but I love having them around the house. They all hold memories that I enjoy reflecting on.

  23. June 27, 2009 5:13 pm

    I can’t say that I buy all that many new books for myself, but I love love love to give books as gifts. Somehow there’s less guilt involved for me when I buy new books for other people instead of for myself. Maybe it’s because I know if I buy a book for myself it will sit here unread among the masses, and I probably shouldn’t have bought it anyway because when would I get to reading it? But yes, when it comes to holidays and birthdays, I love to buy books for anybody I think will read them, and I’ve got a nice knack for convincing the less book-obsessed to buy new books for themselves, too. Sneaky, no? 😉

  24. iwriteinbooks permalink
    June 27, 2009 5:39 pm

    This is such a great point. I have always been a book buyer rather than a library patron. While I have recently started supporting my library, more, I can not stop buying books. I think it’s just physically impossible. My problem is that I tend to abuse my books with dogearing and highlighters and stickies and I’ve found that the library doesn’t really like that. ;O)

  25. June 27, 2009 6:51 pm

    I buy lots of books as gifts too! I love Amy’s idea about book lovers helping Beth and I hope a lot more show their support this week!

  26. June 27, 2009 8:55 pm

    Kathy this is a great post. I have always been a book buyer. I do borrow from the library mainly for Michael. For me anything new you wait months and months for so I got tired of waiting and would just go and buy it.

    Honestly since I have been blogging for this past year I have noticed that my book buying has increased alot. I figured since I was getting free books it was only fair to support the authors etc.

    Books make great gifts and if your never sure then there is always a gc from the book store.

  27. June 28, 2009 11:42 am

    Great post!I’ve always been a book buyer. I still frequent the library quite a bit but there are times when I have to own a book (or two or three or four!). I love giving books as gifts, especially to kids. They get much more use out of books than toys, in my opinion. 🙂

    My book buying has gone down in the past months, but that’s something I want to change!

  28. June 28, 2009 12:52 pm

    I’ve not been much of a library person myself, not because they aren’t useful but more because I think I’m just *that* selfish and I need that instant gratification. I like that I don’t have to wait for a book to be available and I like that the book is mine after I’m done. Sometimes I’ll re-read and other times not but I just love the look of my book case all filled up and looking back at me. It’s a fabulous feeling.

  29. June 28, 2009 2:43 pm

    I’ve been a book buyer for most of my adult life. Like Literary Feline said in her comment, once I was working full-time, the library became incompatible with my own schedule. Besides, I never know how long it will take me to read something or when I’m going to want to read it in the first place. I’ve come to like the feeling of being surrounded by dozens of potential “next reads” in my very own house.

    I basically started buying books for myself for convenience, but I’ve always been one to buy them as gifts. I hadn’t thought much about the benefits to the industry until recently, but it seems like we all come out ahead. Great post, Kathy!

  30. June 29, 2009 8:20 am

    I use the library for the kids, but I tend to buy books for myself (and gifts of course!). Like you, I’m buying more books since I started blogging.

  31. June 29, 2009 1:35 pm

    I think it’s really important to keep buying books even if you can only afford 1 a month. It’s the only way to help an author’s sales and I think it’s so important to support that. I do buy a few for myself probably every month and I buy for gifts. You can always find some really good bargain books too. Great post Kathy.

  32. Carol permalink
    June 29, 2009 4:06 pm

    Great post. I don’t buy books for myself very often. I’m a library user and on a tight budget. However, I do buy them for my daughter, because I think it’s important for her to own books. I’ll buy them for my husband once in a while too, because there’s no way of knowing how long he’ll take to read something. I also buy them for gifts all the time and encourage my daughter to buy them for her friends when she’s invited to parties.

  33. June 29, 2009 5:26 pm

    I’m with you regarding how your book purchasing has picked up in the past year. I finally decided that I don’t drink (well not that much any way!), don’t smoke, don’t stop for a coffee every morning, nor do I have any other expensive hobbies or habits. So I finally decided that I deserved to buy books. This way, I’m able to pass along the books to other people I think will enjoy them. I still use the library for audio books and some reads but several times I have found myself wishing that I had bought the book.

  34. June 29, 2009 5:59 pm

    an excuse to buy books! thank you!!

  35. July 1, 2009 1:21 am

    I don’t often buy books new. I have bought a few books that ended up being terrible so I am very choosy with my spending money now. I buy books that I loved and will reread(Jane Austin comes to mind) or books that are from an author that I love(like Ian McEwan). I’d like my money to go toward the kinds of books I’d like to see more of. I turn the saying “You get what you pay for” on its head: I am willing to pay for what I want to get, what I love. If we are willing to pay for garbage then the publishing community will keep publishing garbage. Demand nothing less than quality and you will receive quality.

  36. July 1, 2009 1:36 pm

    I am so glad somebody else “gets it”. I feel so alone sometimes. Lol! But..you hit it on the head. One of the reasons I continue to buy books even though I have received several for review, is to support the authors that I like. I’ve been known to receive an ARC, love it, and then buy the final/published version. I can currently afford to buy books and so I do. I imagine there will be a time when I can’t afford it, and I’ll use the library at that point, but for now, I enjoy buying them.

  37. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 1, 2009 7:06 pm

    In the past year I have purchased less books for myself, but my gift buying of books has exploded. I try to only buy books for gifts and am successful probably 75% of the time. I do make an effort to buy my favorite authors in hardcover when they come out.
    Great post.

  38. July 3, 2009 9:53 pm

    I really do need to buy more books…I will show this to my husband (as well as the other posts) to justify it when I get in trouble!

  39. July 7, 2009 1:18 pm

    I’ve been buying more books than in the past, but with the economy the way it is, I don’t have too much money to spend on them. I do love buying books as gifts, though.

    –Anna

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