Friday, January 27, 2017

Why I'm Not Buying Books This Year

Since before I could read, I have been a lover of books.  I love to read them, I love to collect them.  I feel a great comfort in life, knowing they are there.  I suspect this has something to do with the fact that I am the daughter of two librarians.  Well, my mom didn't come to be a librarian until later in life, but she was an elementary school teacher before she was a librarian, and I grew up in a house that had wall to wall bookshelves in the living room.  And they were FULL.  As a young adult, I had wall to wall bookshelves in my spare room, also full.  I was surrounded by books. 

Now that I'm older, with a family and a fairly small house, my space for physical books has been greatly diminished (all I have left is the bookcase you see above, which has five narrow shelves, plus a few small piles here and there).  But that's ok, because I have almost completely made the shift to digital.  Back in the fall of 2009, I got my first iPod touch, and discovered the Kindle app.  Then I discovered the websites that notify you about the free Kindle books.  And I was hooked.  A year or two later I got an actual Kindle and I never looked back. 

Fast forward to today.  I still pick up a few physical books each time I work the library book sale (I serve on the Friends of the Library Board), but really I only read physical books when I'm camping.  There's something so relaxing about sitting by the river with a book and a cold drink, and I don't have to worry about getting sand in my Kindle.

A month or two ago, I was scrolling through my book list, and I took notice of how many unread books I have.  You guys, I have more than 2,600 books/short stories for my Kindle, and I've probably only read a few hundred of them!  Then I thought about how many unread books I paid actual money for - probably only a few hundred of those, and most of them only cost a few dollars each, but if I don't read them, that's money down the drain.  I still get tons of books for free - I get daily emails from Bookbub and pick up the ones that look interesting, plus I get a free book each month because I'm an Amazon Prime member.  And, I realized that most of the time now, I'm reading books I've downloaded from my fabulous library's Overdrive service, and not books I've purchased (free or otherwise) through Amazon. 

After thinking all that through, I made a decision - I'm not going to buy any new books this year (exceptions:  I'll need to buy whatever we're reading in Bible study, and I may pick up a souvenir book or two on my summer vacation, as that's the kind of souvenir I enjoy most. I'll also buy a few books as gifts for children), but other than that, I'm not paying money for books.  No new books, no used books, no e-books, no cookbooks (gasp! that idea just fully hit me).  I'm going to read what I have and try to catch up a little.

There will be times of temptation, for sure - Lisa See has a book coming out in March, but I've already recommended the e-book to my library which automatically put it on hold for me.  I'm sure they'll get it.  If not, it'll go on my Amazon wish list and I'll get it in 2018.  I'm hoping Kate Morton, my other favorite author, doesn't have one come out because two in one year might be too much temptation! 

So there it is.  My no-book-buying pledge. 

Have you stopped buying anything this year?  If so I'd love to hear about it!

1 comment:

Melinda Ott said...

I'm just now catching up on my blog reading, so I'm late to the party here. Anyway, I started reading this while t.hinking, "Karen has NO CLUE how many books is too many books." Then I saw 2,600. Girl, I am in awe of you. I'm at 800-ish (digital and print, but not including audiobooks, of which I have just a few). Of course, I'm still getting new books, even though I am trying to whittle that number down. Now, I don't feel so bad about it since I now know that someone has many, many, many more books than I do!