Today’s Book Blogger Hop question is: Do you buy all your books? If yes, do you keep them all? If no, where do you source them?
I buy almost none of my books. Virtually everything I read comes from my local library. I’ve said for years that I could never afford my book habit if I had to actually pay for my books. Last year I read around a hundred books, and it was a serious drop-off from most years.
Shall we run some math? I’d guess at least a third of what I read last year were audiobooks, which are typically more expensive than print ones. So let’s say I got really good used book deals on the paper books and spent an average of $5 per book. If I went the ebook route, I think that’s still realistic. Audiobooks, I think we have to say $15 to be even faintly plausible. So that’s…[calculator on my phone]…approximately $1,000. I could buy a signed L. M. Montgomery book for that. Let’s assume that a decent number of those paper books were new books I had to buy at higher prices, call it a $15 average for the paper books too, and we’re up to $1,500. And remember, I’ve typically read twice that many books. Some are coming off of my own shelves, especially when I’m reading at a higher quantity, but I think we can still conservatively say that a typical year of reading, if purchased, would cost me around $2,500. That’s most of a trip to England, right there.
So. I do not buy the books I read, and I remain eternally baffled when book-loving friends tell me they don’t have a library card. I ❤ my local library.
What books do I buy? Well, occasionally I wind up at a used bookstore or a library (!) book sale, where I buy books very cheaply, and usually get old favorites or fill out collections I have parts of. I rarely buy more recently read books, although I will on occasion go back through my favorite books of the year and decide if I need to buy any of them. What actually happens is that I tend to think, huh, I should buy those three…and don’t get around to it…and add on a few others…and finally when I get an Amazon gift card or something I buy a batch of books at once. I’m currently in the “I should get around to that” phase for several books I liked very much in the last couple of years.
The thing of it is, I have to really love a book or an author to buy said-book. I add that author caveat because I do have some authors for whom I basically buy everything, even if the individual book is less beloved. I own The Golden Road, and a lot of middling Edgar Rice Burroughs books. Outside of very select authors, I don’t buy books I haven’t already read and loved. The only recent books I was buying unread and preordered were the gorgeous Fairyland series.
Despite what feels like very little book purchasing, somehow I still have four tall bookcases and not much space on them. But that’s a lifetime of accumulating books–a lot of childhood books have passed on out, but I still have some. I haven’t counted in a few years, but I’d guess I own between 700 and 800 books. Which is only four to five years of reading. So.
Do you buy the books you read? If not, do you utilize your library, or get them somewhere else?