Welcome to Day #2 of the April A to Z Challenge, where participants are challenged to create a post every day (except Sundays) corresponding to the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If you’d like to learn more, hit the badge on my sidebar.
I’ll be posting about bookish topics each day of the challenge. Here’s today’s post about BUYING vs BORROWING BOOKS:
I’m a big fan of libraries, but I like to surround myself with the books that I’ve enjoyed. Books are definitely comfort objects to me, and I have bookcases in every room of my house except for the bathroom. All of them are filled to bursting! In one of my previous career lives I worked at a large chain bookstore and my employee discount allowed me to add so many great titles to my home library that I never would have been able to afford otherwise.
It’s been more than 12 years since I left that job, and these days I’m borrowing more books from the library than I’m purchasing. According to my Goodreads account, of the 28 books that I’ve read so far this year, 24 have been borrowed from the library. I’m lucky to have a great public library in my area that carries the majority of books that I want to read. Loan periods are for three weeks, with the option to renew if no one else is on the hold list for that title. I usually have at least five books checked out from the library at any one time—right now I’ve got eight library books at home.
I still buy lots of books–it’s just that they’re the ones that sit on my shelves while I’m trying to get the library books read before they need to be returned! When I do purchase books, I’ll generally try for a used copy first, but I’m picky about the condition—I don’t want books that are soiled, torn, or look like they’ve been run over by a truck. I’ve found over the years that I want to own books that I’ve particularly enjoyed—it’s not uncommon for me to borrow a library book and then later purchase a copy to keep. I’m a big re-reader, and I just never know when I’ll want to revisit a book that I’ve really liked!
I buy lots of used books from abebooks, which is a sort of online clearinghouse for thousands of used bookstores all over the US and even some in Europe. This site makes it incredibly easy to compare the prices and conditions of just about any title—even out of print books. I’ll often wait until a book I want to own comes out in paperback—then I’ll go online and can usually find a nice used hardcover copy for much less than the price of a new paperback. Granted, you take a risk when you buy used books online, but I’ve only been disappointed a couple of times over the ten years or so I’ve been an abebooks customer.
If I can’t find a used copy of a book I want to own, then I go with Amazon or the local B & N. I really only buy new if I just CAN’T WAIT for a book to come out in paperback, or if it’s a book by one of my favorite authors. I’ll also buy new books if I feel like splurging a bit–there’s not much that’s more fun than going to the bookstore, wandering around to see what catches your eye, and then leaving with a pleasingly heavy bag of books!
How about you? Do you usually buy or borrow the books you read? Where do you do your buying/borrowing? Please share!