Booking Through Thursday- Why Buy?

This weeks Booking Through Thursday poses this question:

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?

In a perfect world, I would buy every book I read.  I love owning books, having them safely ensconced on my bookshelf where I can pluck them out to read and re-read at my leisure.   There’s great satisfaction in having a houseful of books at my beck and call as a safeguard against some time when I might be “book-less,” a fate worse than death for this ravenous reader.

Alas, we all know this world is not perfect.  After 50 some odd years of book buying, there’s less and less room in my old house to contain them, not to mention, less and less money to go round the budget.  So over the past few years, I’ve developed a much more discretionary view of book buying.  I purchase books I’m likely to read again;  books I know I can pass on to at least one other person among my circle of book lovers; books that will inspire me in my own writing endeavors. 

I’m an appreciative and regular user of my local library system, which allows me to sample many more books than my meager bookish allowance could ever do. 

So, once again I find myself traveling the middle of the road on this question, a place you’ll find me most anywhere in life, looking for balance between two extremes. 

I borrow.

I buy.

I read.


17 thoughts on “Booking Through Thursday- Why Buy?

  1. I don’t have a well-stocked library to gleefully borrow books. I don’t like used books either. I’m like you: I’m running out of places to house my books. I don’t think that’s a bad problem to have. Happy BTT.

  2. It must be great, though, to look back on your collection spanning 50 years and see the books you’ve read over that period? But I am like you – I make careful choices when I buy books to be sure that I’ll re-read them and that they are someone useful.

  3. I would love to be able to buy more books and support the writers I enjoy/respect/admire. I do buy a lot of books, either in ebook format or in paper, but my budget just won’t allow more.

    I adore libraries and borrow many books, casting my net broadly through genres, authors, and subjects. I certainly borrow more books by writers I might not agree with, but whose voice I’d like to hear. All of my nonfiction purchases came from borrowed books that I wanted to keep…either to support the author, or because it was a book I badly wanted to loan to others.

    Many of the books I read aren’t available through my library system…even those I’ve borrowed in the past and want to re-read. Those I buy and hoard like a dragon’s booty.

  4. I admire middle-of-the-road types! 🙂

    I purchase and borrow too. There’s something communal about using the library, and you can be extravagant and walk out with a huge pile without paying a cent. It’s a lovely thing.

  5. 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.

  6. I’ve moved quite a lot in recent years, so I’ve tried to strip most posessions, including books. So, I can relate to the “less room” bit, but I’d replace “house” with “suitcase.”

  7. We visit the library twice a week, and borrow lots of books! Yet, we have shelves full of books at home. I can’t resist books in the store; they are such a treat to buy for myself 🙂 As I said in my post, it’s my only vice 🙂

  8. I am in the middle too. Lately I have been fortunate though because now that I am staring grad school in the eye, my husband finally gets that I am actually going to need all these books. As a Literature major, this gives me almost free reign! Love it.

  9. I mostly buy books because I live in Japan and it’s hard to get my hands on the books that I want to read. Also, I want to support writers and small presses as much as possible. But my house is full of books and my husband is always complaining! I love books – the feel of them, the smell of them – but I’m starting to thing that electronic readers like Kindle aren’t such a bad thing, at least for some books.

  10. This is my first time to comment here, but I have been reading for awhile now. I enjoy your blog so much.

    I just had to comment on this post because of something I stumbled upon yesterday. Let me preface this by saying that I ADORE libraries and I check out 95% of the books I read. However, yesterday while in Walgreens, I came across a small shelf of hardback books that were 2 for $10. I couldn’t believe that price! They were current authors, and I found and bought 2 books that were on my TBR list. It made my day!

    So, for you book buyers, check your local Walgreens. You never know what you might find.

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