Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Why Buy?

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or
get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m
betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your
house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at
least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually
own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why
shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

Well, I'm a librarian. At any given time I have about 50 books checked out, waiting for me to read them. (Some of those are things I've picked up for family members, but still.) I also currently have 514 books that I've bought in my room, exact number courtesy of LibraryThing.

This happens for several reasons:

1) There are some books my library doesn't have. When I see a book that just looks sooo good and calls to me from the shelf at the bookstore and I KNOW I would have seen it if the library had it, I just HAVE to buy it. (Why I'm even in the bookstore when I have so many other books to read is a discussion unto itself.)

2) If I've read a book from the library and loved it, I mean really loved it, when it's the BEST BOOK EVER, I have to buy it and keep it so I can read it whenever I want, and no other people can get their grimy paws on it. Also, I have paralyzing fears that the book might go out of print and I'd never be able to find it again and the world would have lost a thing of beauty. Or the library might sell it and I wouldn't be able to remember the title.

3) Which leads nicely into my last point. I buy a lot of books from the library book sale. Friends, a lot of books. This is partly because they're dirt cheap and I just can't resist, but also I'll see a book and think "Wow, I'd like to check that out," but then I realize that I CAN'T! It's in the book sale! So I buy it to read eventually since it's dirt cheap.

And there you have it. The three best reasons to buy books, in addition to checking them out at the library.

Find more responses to Booking Through Thursday here!


  1. You don't have to justify yourself to me. LOL!

  2. I’m always buying books. I buy them because I want to have them, period. I like to maintain a history of my reading over the years. There are so many good literature out there that have been overlooked by readers that after the first, or second printing they will go out-of-print. I’m always buying and preserving what I enjoy reading.

    Library usually has long queues for new books. My local library would have waiting list long before the books are dispatched from the distributors. I usually check out books that are low in priority of my list and buy the ones I want.

  3. I love using my library. Even if I have to place my name on a list to wait, that's no problem as there are so many books to read. Here's my answer.

  4. Library book sales are great. Do you get to buy first, working at the library, or do you have to wait and buy with the public?

  5. bluestocking: Must be the terrible guilt I feel myself... ;)

    matt: I envy your funds.

    smilingsal: Good for you, and ditto on what you said about the Bible and dictionaries etc.

    book lover lisa: If I happen to be working when we put out books I can take a look before they go out. Also, my coworkers know what I like to read, so if they happen to notice something when I'm not there they grab it for me. But in general I shop with the commonfolk. :)


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