Reformed Book Buyer….Apparently

Last year I talked pretty openly about how unemployed has changed me as a reader. One of the big things was the way I bought books. Before this, I would buy books ALL THE TIME — books I’ve never heard of, books I’ve already read but don’t own, books that were recommended, etc. I was just pretty much buying books at an alarming rate and pretty impulsively. Anything that sounded remotely interesting.

I’m not unemployed now (yay NANNYING) but I’ve found that some of this super frugal book buying habits have stuck. And it feels weird? I mean, we aren’t in a particularly GREAT financial situation that would warrant me to buy a lot of books anyways but I would still think some of my former book buying ways would return.

I recently got a gift card for Christmas to Barnes and Noble. I was SOOOO excited to get it. I was like, “omg BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS I can’t wait to buy books.” And then I pulled up the Barnes & Noble website….and I bought nothing. Before? I would have added books to my cart for my gift card amount in 2.5 seconds and bing bang boom…no second thoughts. That order would have been placed. But suddenly I find myself in my mindset of “do I need it?” that I’ve been so programmed to be in when I was unemployed.

My inner monologue goes like this:
Oooh I really want this book. I’ve heard good things. HMMM but I could get it at the library. And (because I am ruthless about culling books after I read them) am I almost CERTAIN that it would be a favorite and I’d want to keep it because MAN I’d hate to buy it if I won’t keep it. I could buy a book that I already loved. AHH BUT I REALLY WANT SOMETHING NEW. But ALL THE BOOKS I ALREADY OWN AND HAVEN’T READ. I don’t knowwww. I CANNOT MAKE THIS DECISION RIGHT NOW.

It is the worst being inside my head. The WORST. It used to be soooo so easy to be a compulsive book buyer.

I’ve just become a more calculated book buyer, I guess. Pickier about what I buy. Discriminate. And sometimes I feel bad about it because I want to support ALL THE AUTHORS but I’ve realized that minimalism and not spending excessively is important to me. And I realize that I support authors and the industry, even if I’m not buying AS much as I used to, in so many other ways — getting books in hands of readers, reviewing here, reviewing on Amazon and other retail sites.

Here’s basically what I find myself buying:

– books from authors I know I like
– books I’ve read as an ARC or library books and consider favorites
– gifts: Sometimes I buy books I really LIKED as ARCs or library books but don’t necessarily want to own (I only own absolute favorites) and I give them to others.
– books for signings — I only do it if it’s a book/author I REALLY love. Previously I would buy pretty much any author that came through. I still GO to the events to support but I might not always buy if I’m unsure.
– books I am REALLY excited about, seem like a guarantee for me to love it and others I trust have said THIS WILL BE A YOU BOOK. (But this isn’t often…all the above things take priority)

Basically gone are the days of just buying books on a whim. I’ve become a little bit of a reformed book buyer as my situation has changed.

The only question is if, once I get a better job and more monies, if I’ll go back to my compulsive book buying habits. Only time will tell, bookworms.

What are your book buying habits like? Are you a compulsive book buyer or are you more calculated?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I got in a bad place during the spring when I was making a lot of money because I was subbing a lot. I would buy books constantly. Now, I’m not subbing as much because teachers aren’t really taking off, so I’ve really had to limit myself. I’m only buying the ones that I know I’ll read and I’m buying them as I plan on reading them instead of just hauling a bunch.

  2. For several years, I had gotten myself into the same frugal mindset. I read books from the library, except for a few autobuy authors. If I loved the book and wanted to re-read it, I bought it – often used, especially if I could find it at the biannual library booksales. (I also bought books on impulse at the library sales, because hey – you can buy a lot 50-cent paperbacks and $2 hardcovers without breaking the bank.)

    Then I got a Kindle, and discovered the Daily Deals and other bargain-priced books. Oops. I’ve become a One-Click queen. Actually, I’ve been reigning it in recently, or trying to, but I do buy books I’ve read and loved when they go on sale for $1.99 or less. I’m a frequent re-reader and I like to have my library with me when I travel. πŸ™‚ But the whole thing has played havoc with my book budget, and I need to make some changes again this year. Somehow…

  3. I don’t even have book buying habits. >_< I'm self-employed so it's very hard to make money and then use it on books when, like, buy things to keep me alive also. Sucks. I LOVE BOOKS SO MUCH. When I do get giftcards or just have to splurge, I basically only buy books I'm SURE I'll love. So usually it's from an author I've previously adored or a sequel in a series I know I like. xD My bookshelf is basically full of series without the first book! XD

    • My bookish OCD wouldn’t allow for that – I’d HAVE to pick up the first book too (but as cheaply as possible, of course) πŸ™‚ R x

  4. I wish I were more frugal. I am such a compulsive book buyer! I do have a monthly budget and I manage to keep that (most of the time).

  5. I’m sort of half and half – I don’t buy a HUGE number of books, but I certainly buy enough! I usually only buy books when they’re around Β£2-Β£3 each, or even cheaper, and I get online discount codes, free shipping and cashback where I can. This means I can buy the lovely new books without breaking the bank. Sometimes, I put myself on a small ban – but that’s more because of space and the number of unread books I own than it is finances. I only ever pay more money for a book I know/expect I’m going to love, if it’s a favourite author or part of a series, I’ll fork out for it. I always plan to use the library more, because pre-blogging I only ever gave shelf space to my favourites – rereads, collections and favourite authors only, but now I’ve noticed I’m holding on to more books than I should be. Because I’ve paid for them, I’m finding it harder to part with them. I’m trying to get better at this. We’re all a work in progress with our addictions, right? I think I’d be similar to you at the minute though, if someone handed me a gift card for waterstones, I’d most likely buy something I’ve been lusting after for AGES, or a favourite – it’s special, memorable, and I KNOW I’m going to enjoy it. Right now that would probably be the Harry Potter set with the new covers, I’ve been talking about getting a new set for a LONG time.

    Enjoy your gift guilt free, Jamie! R x

  6. I do sometimes marvel at the amount o books I see book bloggers buy. I’m OCD about having unread books in my house – and even on my eReader. But heck – I’m sure I splurge on other things.

  7. Since I found employment I have been an impulsive buyer, but I am trying to get back to going to the library more. I wasn’t going to buy anymore books until my birthday (in June) but then I found out Holly Black was coming to my local bookstore, so I had to buy her new novel and The White Cat because it’s my favorite novel by her and I don’t own a copy of it. I HAVE TO GET HER TO SIGN IT! I also have this problem where I read a book from the library and I love it so much that I end up buying a copy. I prefer this as opposed to spending my hard earned money on a book that I think sucks!

  8. I had a similar thing happen to me. When I was single and working I literally spent about $300 a month on books. But when I had a baby and ended up not going back to work, of course my husband and I immediately put ourselves on a budget. After 15 years of that (!!!) I finally went back to work, and even though I can afford to go back to my old ways now, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Those lean times definitely teach you what is really important to spend money on, and they leave a lasting impression. So give yourself a pat on the back!

  9. It’s funny you posted this today, when I also chose this day to talk about my compulsive need to buy books. I think that not going back to your old habits IS indeed a good thing. You learned something from being frugal and this is awesome. I hope you don’t go back to those habits, because you don’t need them. As you said, you are supporting authors in so many ways, so you needn’t feel guilty for not buying books you don’t really really want in your shelves. I actually vowed to be more frugal this year, and I really hope to achive it. I could learn from your process, and I hope I get to the same place where you are.

  10. It’s so funny you say this because, strangely, unemployment has made me a more compulsive book-buyer purely because I have more time to spend on Amazon. (And also maybe because my husband is getting a dentist’s salary now, which is more than double what we were making together when he was a student and receiving a stipend from the Army.) BUT the way I’ve been justifying it to myself is that I’ve been pre-ordering new releases that are coming out throughout the year, so I’m not taking the monetary hit all at onceβ€”all told, I’ll probably be spending ~$50/month on books between January and June. (Not a lot of releases that are coming out past June seem to be pre-order-able yet.) I’m also the worst at library-ing, which is something I really need to get better at.

    PS, random question: are you going to BEA this year? I’m thinking about going and it would be awesome to actually finally meet a blogging friend in real life, haha. πŸ™‚

  11. I buy every book. I need them like air. I can’t really afford to buy them all, but I guess I can deal with dressing like a hobo for the love of books. There was a short period of time that I was unemployed and staying home with my little guy. I couldn’t afford to buy any books and I was miserable. I owned about 2,000 books though, so you’d think I was ok reading what I had. I should have been ok, but I wasn’t. It made me depressed because I couldn’t afford new books and I read a lot less. When I started working again, I started buying books and then I started reading more. Buying books is happiness for me. I don’t buy anything else, so I guess it’s not so bad…right?

  12. For the past couple of years, I’ve bought pretty much every book that I was interested in reading. (This habit started in large part because my library never got in any new YA books.) But because I am moving in the summer, this year my project is more about culling my collection and reading all the books I already own, not acquiring much more. My inner monologue goes like this: Will I read it in the next six months? If not, I do not buy it. Will this book be worth packing up and moving? Most actually do not survive this part of the test. I can always buy the book later (wherever I move), so there’s no reason to add another pound to what I have to move now.

    I also kept track of every single book purchase I made last year and a couple hundred dollars a month adds up to a large sum for the year. Yikes! This year is about cutting back for me. I probably have enough to read for the next 5+ years without buying more, and I recently plotted out what I want to read month-by-month and realized that I don’t have enough time to fit in all the books I already own to those lists, much less add more to the pile. I do still want to support new authors or midlist authors, so I’ll continue to buy e-books or Audible audiobooks, but will reduce the number of physical books I buy considerably.

  13. I could buy a book that I already loved. AHH BUT I REALLY WANT SOMETHING NEW. <—- THIS. I really struggled with putting together my Amazon wishlist. Right now, I mostly preorder things I know I'll probably love, like the latest installment in a series, but you can't really tell people to get you preorders. It's really hard to know for sure what I'll love, and, much as I want the things I've read and loved, I WANT NEW SHINIES. So I end up struggling to find things.

  14. I am a super compulsive book buyer!! This has lead me to accumulate over 250 print books on my shelves THAT I HAVE NOT READ! This does not include all of the books that I have read. My office has 2 walls completely dedicated to bookshelves, and I still have stacks of books all over the floor. I decided to participate in’s book buying ban challenge this year, and have committed to 0 books this year! FOR THE WHOLE YEAR! Just so that I can get through some of the ones that are just sitting around here waiting to be read.

  15. I’m not a huge book buyer. When I first started blogging, I did get a little carried away and I bought a decent amount. But I’m a librarian. When I go into a bookstore or online, I just feel like I could get it at the library easily.

    And borrowing books from the library is still supporting authors. First, libraries have to buy those books. And if a lot of people read them, then eventually the library might have to replace the item. And of course, libraries have lots of backlist items that physical bookstores often don’t carry.

    I do buy books, of course. But I’m very selective. I’ll buy books by authors I love, or books that I read through the library or an ARC and loved and want for my own collection. And I always buy books if I go to some kind of author event. But otherwise, I rarely buy them.

  16. I used to be a BUY ALL THE BOOKS type of person. It was what I spent most of my spending money on (when I had it). But when I started working in a library, I stopped. It wasn’t a financial thing for me, but mostly a “Well, I could spend money on this other thing because I can get that at work for free”.

    However, I still buy books occasionally. I’ve got auto-buy authors, I was at a Scholastic Book Fair buying prizes for our Summer Reading Program, so I picked up the 1st in a series there if I had read the first from work, but bought the second because I couldn’t wait to read it. I also buy books when I’m traveling, especially on an airplane, because I worry the one time I don’t and I bring something I’ve checked out from the library, I’ll be disorganized and lose it. I’ll also treat myself to a book if it’s my birthday or something.

    I’m way more frugal about book buying now than I was. Plus, I don’t want to have boxes upon boxes of books when I move.

  17. I’m in a similar situation… readjusting to having a little bit (still not a lot) of spending money after a long period of living hand to mouth. But I’ve developed a kind of coping mechanism that helps me spend my book budget, but spend it wisely: wishlists. Whenever I think “I might like to own this” for any reason, I stick it on a wishlist. There’s a special wishlist just for books that I MUST have, too. That way, I can skip the hemming and hawing and hand-wringing over spending that $… instead of worrying about making the choice whether or not to spend at all, I’m using my energy to make a choice about which item to buy.

  18. Having a kindle is a dangerous thing for me. I only really buy physical books that I’ve already read and want to add to my book collection. But with ebooks since I can’t physically see them on my shelf I tend to buy pretty quickly, especially when they are on sale. It’s obviously not good on my wallet.

  19. I think I was pretty compulsive as well but lately I’ve gone through my books to get rid of the ones that have been sitting there for ages without me reading them. I like to take chances every once in a while and buy a book I’m not sure I’ll love but that is rare.
    I also want to be a better book buyer in 2015 by not buying so much and reading all of those books on my TBR pile.

  20. I used to be a compulsive book buyer as well, and finances also changed that for me. Even though I’m more financially solid now, I haven’t returned to my old habits. I really do enjoy going to my library and perusing what’s available. I don’t have to worry about space for my books, and I don’t have to worry about wasting money on something I don’t like! I’m actually happier now with using my library. I do have a weakness for buying books at an author visit to have signed, but I do try and stick to what I know I will like.

  21. I’ve been seeing this around… people holding up on the purchase of books. It’s interesting!

  22. I’m the same as you! I had a really well paying job for the longest time and any book that caught my eye I bought. It was ridiculous that when I had to move I counted over 300 unread books on my shelves in addition to all the ones I did read. Then I had to quit my job due to some family issues and worked a few part-time jobs so money was really tight. I almost completely stopped buying books. When I got my current job even though I make more than my part-time job I’m still not back to where I was at a few years ago. So not sure that has anything to do with it but I am still much pickier about what books I buy. Like you I’d hate to spend the money on a book and end up hating it. It also doesn’t help that every bookstore in my area closed down. So I can’t even really browse or skim through the book before making a decision. I do miss the days when I could buy books indiscriminately but my wallet is happier with the pickier me. lol.

  23. I do the same thing you do, as far as my “criteria” list! I didn’t buy a lot of books in college/post college because I couldn’t afford to- I was also reading a lot more adult books then and they’re so much more expensive! I tried to use the library a lot or ask for gift cards. But once I got my current job a few years ago I went a little hogwild, especially with preorders. I liked getting the best prices, and coupled with the explosion of books I found from twitter and reading blogs, it was a lot. I’m frugal by nature so I would still feel bad, especially when I have so many unread. So I’ve really slowed down and am more deliberate with what I pick for the reasons you mentioned. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a gift card and talk myself out of using it! Argh.

  24. I have been doing the same thing! Twice a year, from my mom, I get a B&N gift card for $150! I get so excited and usually I will walk into a B&N and end up spending the gift card PLUS SOME in one shot! And now that EVERYONE I know knows I love buying books this year for Christmas I had $250 worth of B&N gift cards! I walked into a B&N several times and walked out empty handed! What is that about?? I’m not sure if it’s because I know the mountain of books I have waiting for me at home that deserve to be read before I add to them? Or maybe it’s this whole “turning 30” thing is getting to me more than I want to admit? Or I’m trying to be more responsible with my money since 2014 I must have spent close to $1,000 in the amount of books I purchased! You don’t think it’s possible? Oh yeah it is!

    So here I am with a little over a hundred bucks left to spend at B&N and what I’ve decided to do this year is make a list for myself of books I’m really anticipating coming out this year and book signings coming up as well and whenever those dates come around I’ll make a trip and just buy that one book.

    This must be what growing up feels like! How depressing! But how filling as well, when you stop to think about it, the less books you buy the closer you get to actually making a REAL dent in your TBR list right? Mind is holding steady at around 400!

  25. Such a great post. I feel the same way.
    I bought and bought and bought and still I can’t get my To Read pile down. So what did I do? I stopped buying, started using the library and concentrated on review ARCs. I only buy books now when 1. I’m going to an author’s signing, 2. have a gift card or 3. want a book for the series that I LOVE or it’s by a favorite author. For instance, I know I’m going to buy the fourth book in the Raven Cycle series, or anything by Maggie this year. Or the last book in another series I’m reading because I KNOW I want to keep it forever and maybe re-reaad. but everything else? library. πŸ™‚ I think that’s a great change and it’s positive, it keeps clutter back and it saves you money. right now I”m saving for a trip to Europe !

  26. Last year I was so bad at just buying books for the sake of it – I mean, I LOVE receiving post especially if it’s books, even if it’s books that I’ve ordered myself. Is that weird? But since mid-November I haven’t actually bought ANY books at all, because since November I’ve only really been reading ebooks, because I just have SO MANY review ebooks to get through for this year.

    So there is literally no reason for me to buy any physical books – I’ve got HUNDREDS if I want to have a read of a physical book, but otherwise it’s just going to sit on my shelf, unread, like the hundreds of others I’ve bought before it. It makes me sad, because I love reading paperbacks and hardbacks, but since most of my review copies these days comes in e-format, I have to read on my Kindle. So, no book buying for me, boo.

    I’ve got a few books on my Amazon wishlist, but before I buy any more books I’ve really got to get stuck in to the ones I already have.

  27. “I’ve just become a more calculated book buyer, I guess. Pickier about what I buy. Discriminate. And sometimes I feel bad about it because I want to support ALL THE AUTHORS but I’ve realized that minimalism and not spending excessively is important to me. And I realize that I support authors and the industry, even if I’m not buying AS much as I used to, in so many other ways β€” getting books in hands of readers, reviewing here, reviewing on Amazon and other retail sites.”

    ^That paragraph pretty much exactly describes my book buying logic currently. I went through a bad spell of impulse buying when I was a bookseller with an employee discount but now that I am not surrounded by books I feel like I can be a bit more rational about it and take a step back before I say “I must own this!”

  28. I was the worst about book buying, and it’s possible I’m still not great. I used to go book shopping ALL THE TIME. I wouldn’t necessarily go to Barnes and Noble, but I’d go to Half Priced Books and various thrift stores because I would find books I thought I needed in my collection. And when I’d walk out spending $50 on 6-7 books I felt pretty good about my choices (though we will not talk about how many of those I’ve actually read. They’ve basically all been in boxes for the last year…). Once I got a job at the library though I realized just how many books I could get through there (and since I was a library employee YAY no fines!). Of course I would check out a bunch and then not read them, but that is not the point. I really started to realize just how much I could get FOR FREE. Sadly, once I left that job (my dream job! ohhhh how I miss it) and moved away from my hometown area I went back to buying books a bit (because the library here is kind of sketchy) until I literally had no money. I think I’m doing pretty good now. I really try to pay attention to reviews and who is saying what. I follow a lot of people that read similarly to me so I know I can trust them (you’ve recommended some great ones for me too! thanks!) and then I read the synopsis and then debate. I think I’ve only purchased 2 books within the last couple of months for myself, and they are books that I know I will love (because I really do need to read the prequel to Throne of Glass…obviously). It’s so hard though, because I love to own books that I adore. So when I check them out and love them it pains me to return them. However, being as broke as I am I have to prioritize. And though it may not be this bad, I do always think about if I’d rather have that book or food for the next couple of days. That really puts it into perspective. It’s still super hard, but I’m trying.

  29. We are one in the same Jamie! I use to be just like you but find lately I know I need to be choosier about my book buying habits – stay at home mommy and all. I have one author that I am a diehard fan of and have loved since highschool and I will buy any book she puts out because I know a) I will love it and b) I will re-read it for sure at some point in my life. Luckily for me, she is crazy popular and I can usually score her books second hand. Since I discovered my love for YA a few years back it’s been a little tricky to make sure I am buying a book I will love. My usual go-to is library first and then second hand and if all else fails and I can’t find it anywhere else and I really really really wanna read it, I’ll bite the bullet and buy it and cross my fingers I love it!

  30. I am definitely a calculated buyer! First, because I’m a college student and every little penny counts. And second, because I’ve sort of indoctrinated myself into only buying books that I really truly like and would enjoy re-reading since I was little. I am a library girl all the way! I would definitely love to support all the authors and all the books, but sometimes you have to cut back and just indulge in what you treasure. Ah, cheesy but true I’ve found!

  31. As of the last few years I am completely electronic so it has made it easier to hoard books. I had a large collection of books for my Nook……then switched to an Ipad and started using the kindle app so everything in .epub had to be converted and I had to store both copies because what if I needed the epub for some reason and… now I have 40 gigs of ebooks.

    Lately, though I am sporadically impulsive. If a series is on sale and it looks good I might buy it…. knowing good and well I probably won’t read it. It’s more likely that someone on GoodReads is reading something that sounds good so I add it to my Wish List. And then I see it on sale or something and grab it. I am not as impulsive as I was before but it’s to the point where I set a budget and try not to go over it, otherwise I am just drowning in books.

  32. I have that mental dialogue all the time with all kinds of purchases. But one thing I tell myself to make it stop: I’ve never really regretted a purchase. if it’s a book I bought and didn’t love, chances are I know someone who might love it more and I can make it a surprise gift.
    Use that gift card already! Otherwise, you might find it still in your purse 6 months from now, or worse, lose it.
    Enjoy whatever you buy!

  33. I am actually currently planning a very similar post.

    I have always been on a limited book budget. My parents were on a low income and until very recently so were my partner and I. So I have always had to be frugal and that has limited what I can read.

    My go to had always been the library or charity shops. Neither of those have immediate access to new releases.

    Now my partner has a good job and I can buy books but I find it very hard to allow myself to spend a lot on them. It’s habit to hunt down bargains or go without. One that I am working on easing back on.

  34. I feel like I could have written this post. I’m the same way, crazy inner dialogue and all. When I started blogging and my reading tastes started changing and evolving, I was like BUY ALL THE BOOKS. I couldn’t really afford it, but I did it anyway. It was a compulsion and I couldn’t seem to help myself. Everything that looked good, that people were raving about, books by friends, favourite authors, etc. Then money got tighter and tighter and I had to slow down and then basically stop. Money is limited, space is limited, and I have a bad habit of buying books and then not reading them, especially since I get so many review books that I feel I need to read first (although that’s something I’m working on this year). Now I always think hard before buying a book. Can I get it from the library? Is the ebook way cheaper? (I do buy a few ebooks here and there, but rarely spend more than $2.99.) If it’s something I REALLY want, can I wait until it goes on sale, or happens to be a Kindle Daily Deal eventually? Is it something I’m 99% sure I’ll love? Is it part of a series I love? Is it by a favourite author who has never failed me? Even if it falls under some or all of these things, I still tend to wait these days, just because I know the money could (and should) be spent elsewhere, plus it’s not like I don’t have 1,284,283 other books to read in the meantime. I get what you mean about wanting to support authors, but you definitely do that here on the blog and on Twitter by talking about books, recommending books, etc. Now that I’m used to not buying many books, I can’t really see that changing…unless my financial situation changes A LOT and I have a giant dream home with a massive library. πŸ˜‰

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer

  35. I actually don’t buy books. This is pretty much because I’m fourteen and my parents don’t think it’s smart. they see the amount of books I get in the mail and I think they cut me off entirely. It isn’t all that bad, though. My school has a great YA section for their library πŸ™‚

  36. You should have seen me last week trying to decide how to spend a $25 Amazon gift card that I received at a friends Halloween party. I thought I knew what I wanted but once I got on there it was like this huge internal debate over if I needed or not. Or if there was something else i should get that was cheaper. Or if I should get a multitude of things instead just one thing. Eventually, I decided to go with my original plan and bought the audiobook of As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From The Making of the Princess Bride by Cary Elwes along with a bookmark. I still felt a little guilty about my purchase because I was spending so much at one time which is not something I usually do but at the same time I’m pleased with what I decided to get because I know that I will enjoy it in the end.

  37. As soon as I got a job, found The Book Depository and started following book blogs I started spending stupid amounts on books. I used to have to be quite selective with what I bought because books I wanted to read were about $30, which I couldn’t afford to splash out on all the time. I find now that I have money to spend on what I like, I enjoy the books less. When I had to limit myself I would really take my time in thinking whether or not to purchase a book. I’ve decided that this year will be year of the library for me. I re-joined the library last year and only got one book out so I really need to utilise it more. The amount of books I’ve given away to a specific friend is ridiculous. I’m definitely hoping to cut back this year.

  38. I know exactly what you mean. Money has been tight for my wife and I since we had kids. It has made me buy fewer books all together and instead we spend a lot of time at the library. Maybe one day I will go back to buying more books but for now I’m happy only buying my favorite authors.

  39. My mom won’t let me buy a lot of books, and I just really don’t have the space, so that limits my spending! But if I could go to the bookstore everyday to buy books, I know I’m going to end up broke. And I’d hate myself for it, because I’m a penny-pincher in every shopping endeavor except for books. I just can’t resist!

  40. I’m the same way when it comes to buying books. Both because of financial reasons and because I simply have no space for books on my shelf unless I know I’ll love it and want to keep it. At least gift cards don’t expire and you can always save it for something you know you really want then impulsively buying the first things that catch your eye! πŸ™‚

  41. Jamie, I love when you write these posts! It always makes me pause and really think about my buying habits. When I was working at a used bookstore, I bought pretty much anything. Even though I wasn’t making very good money, the books were so incredibly cheap!! Then I moved for grad school and I have 8 boxes of books that still have to be sent to me. Now that I’m in classes and have to read 4-5 books a week, I use my library so much again. It’s made me hesitant to buy books again! I’m always like, well I could get it from the library instead. Of course, I do backslide occasionally. Like yesterday when I bought $35 worth of kids book under the somewhat legitimate guise of classes. It’s not bad to be frugal in book buying! I commend you in your reform, but I hope that you’ll still allow yourself to get books you’re excited about even if you don’t know for sure if you’ll like them or not!!

  42. Nope. I borrow my books. When I buy books, they are extremely cheap and come from the library book sale. Of course, it breaks my heart when I get some questionable stains on a book and I have to decide whether to get it or not but if it’s from a series I know I love, I get it without question. I usually buy books when I HAVE TO HAVE THAT BOOK or if it’s from a gift card and even then I use the money from the gift card TO BUY THE BOOK THAT I MUST HAVE IN THIS MOMENT.

  43. I used to be a HUGE book buyer! Spent who knows how much money buying books- more than I probably would be able to read in a given year. But then my company downsized and now that I have found a job, YAY!, I took less pay which means I am more frugal. So I am trying to read the books I already have and visiting the library more often. I am actually working on a list this weekend of books that I want to get from the library and start reading πŸ™‚

  44. I’m in that sad place that you were in a year ago, unemployed! Like you I thought it wasn’t going to last very long and I’d be swimming in money and would be able to buy myself all the books I want. So much so that for the first few months of unemployment I carried on buying like a crazy book person and so now a year down the line I now have a maxed out credit card which is due mostly to books!
    My saviour at the moment has got to be review books which I am very lucky to get from some great authors. This way I am able to keep up with what’s current without having to spend the money. I do visit my library quite a bit too, but they don’t have anything recent, everything is at least a year old, and so sometimes I have to wait months for a new book I was very excited to read to become available to me in some way.
    I have also become an expert with amazon kindle sales and free books and I will happily spend hours scrolling through all the not so great books with the hope that I will at some point find a hidden gem, this has happened to me a few times and has been great.
    I’m always entering giveaways too, with the hope that I can win a new release and not have to wait until next Christmas to be bought it as a present!
    Hopefully by this time next year I will be in the better position that you are now in and will actually be able to buy myself a book if I want it, but I will still probably spend hours scrolling through the kindle sales! They are just so good! πŸ™‚

  45. I try real hard not to buy books randomly because it will spiral out of control very quickly. (I work in a bookstore *squeals*) Unless it is a book that I absolutely have to have right now that I cannot borrow from a friend or library I will wait to purchase the books I want. I try to only go out of control twice a year during a really good sale! Each out of control purchase is supposed to hold me over until the next one. BUT the amount of books that I own and have not read is starting to be a problem… I don’t like getting rid of books unless it’s a duplicate copy that I somehow acquired.. whoops! I just need a room for my books. Forget a huge closet for shoes, I need more room for all the books!

  46. The same thing happened to me when I was unemployed. I really cut back on my spending and that meant utilizing my library more and only buying a book that was a favorite or that was certain to be a favorite. Now I’m employed again, but I definitely still go back to those habits. Although around the holidays I bought a bunch from Book Outlet. I used to feel guilty about not buying a lot of books because I really wanted to support the authors, but then I realized like you said, that I support them in plenty of other ways. Just getting the word out about their books supports them. I don’t always have to buy a book to be contributing. So while I think I have relaxed a little since becoming employed again, my frugal self still comes into play a lot. I think it’s a good thing though. I was spending a ridiculous amount of money on books before.

  47. omg i used to buy SO MANY books because they were cheap or through “deals” because i want a massive library but um, moving so much has taught me NOPE STOP BUYING BOOKS YOU WILL NEVER READ, EVEN IF THEY WERE CHEAP! i’ve had to cull so so so many books over the years, it’s nuts. maybe one day when i have a PERMANENT place to live, i will finally have a proper library but til then, i am still offloading books…:/

  48. I go through spurts of buying ALL the books and then not buying anything. I am currently in a buying mode. Like you, I only keep the ones I truly love, but that does not stop me from bringing them all into the house in hopes that I love them. I’ll admit my style is not the most frugal approach, so I wouldn’t say that anyone should mimic my spending habits!

  49. My buying habits have… maybe gotten out of control. I FILLED my bookcase. I mean yay? But that’s also not really a good thing haha. I have waaaay too many unread books. I love keeping my favorites on my shelves and I am TOTALLY okay with that but I’ve really been trying not to buy more new books that I haven’t read yet until I catch up on what’s already on my shelves. I just cleared some out that I didn’t think I’d read or enjoy and I made room for some other books. I really want to try to read at LEAST one backlist title per month, hopefully more! And lately the only books I’ve been buying have been ones I need to fill in series that I already read and loved. I actually don’t really feel the need to buy more NEW books, especially with the ARCs I have sitting on my shelves too. Oops.
    I still have a $50 B&N gift card from Christmas and I don’t know what to buy! This is now a very, very important decision!!!

  50. I’m supposed to be doing, you know, work, right now. Because I am at work. But instead I’m browsing your blog. Don’t tell anyone.

    So, there is nothing like having limited funds – and having to do things like pay a mortgage and buy food with those limited funds – to suddenly give you a whole new outlook on book buying. In my case, I am in a predominantly French language Province, so finding English books in the library is not an easy feat. However my local library got a little bit better in the last couple of years, so last year, and the year before, I started reading books at the library. If they didn’t have a book I really wanted to read, I just kept it on a wish list to check back at a later time.

    And that worked pretty well, and I found that this year, with gift cards AND enough income to keep that house over my head and buy fun things, I still don’t buy books as often. I also took the last year to cull books big time in the house. We (husband and I… mostly I ;)) had over 1000 books in the house, and really? I wasn’t going to reread all of them. Nope. So I have been very picky about buying books with those gift cards. And now that I did buy books, I am going to read them before I return to the library and take out more books. Because other stuff in my life added to the book depression and I haven’t been reading as often as I normally do either.

    I think a lot of us, who have been part of the book reviewing/blogging life for so long, eventually hit a breaking point where we realize we don’t exactly NEED ALL OF THE BOOKS. As much that little voice inside my head tells me I do. πŸ˜‰

  51. I used to buy way too many books, especially when I first started working and earning a decent amount of money. I would visit bookstores on a regular basis, snapping up anything that would catch my interest or that I’d heard good things about. But in 2013 and 2014, I started getting much more selective about what I bought, and for two reasons – my overwhelming TBR pile and learning to be frugal. These days, thanks to the Picky Pledge I have going on with Hannah this year, I’m actually being really good about not buying books without really considering whether or not I should! It seems like being a reformed book buyer is becoming a thing for sure πŸ˜‰

    • What is this Picky Pledge! Tell me more!

      Obviously me having to change my spending habits in the past two years was due to getting laid off so not really a conscious decision to NOT spend more but like NECESSITY because it was either BOOKS or FOOD? And I’m sure Will wasn’t going to be okay with me using money we didn’t have to buy books. I wrote about how unemployement changed my book buying habits a year ago basically and, when I went to go use that gift card, it was crazy how in a years time I had REFORMED and didn’t even realize it. With the nannying gig I’m certainly NOT rolling in the dough but my situation changed a little bit PLUS Will got a new job…so I COULD have started buying more books. So it was this crazy realization to me to realize WOW these habits stuck. Sometimes BAD things do help you learn good lessons…that become better habits. Things I didn’t even REALIZE. Just being smarter with money in general…I could also say I’m a reformed makeup and clothing buyer as well. I used to accumulate and accumulate without even paying attention really and hitting a really scary financial point just made me realize what all I could go without and how I could STILL enjoy the things I love…but in a different way (ie library not buying ALL the books). Now I value the books i DO buy even more.

      I also do think there comes a time in every bloggers life where it’s like WOAH MUST STEP BACK. For me, I never got to that point on my OWN because UNEMPLOYMENT happened, but I’ve seen a lot of bloggers start blogs and start going CRAZY buying books (this was me…blogging made me triple the books I owned in less than a year..I went CRAZY) and then a couple years in you are like AHHH okay I need to reevaluate my life choices bc LOOK AT ALL THESE UNREAD BOOKS.

  52. My book buying habits are… not too bad, I think. I don’t need to have ALL the BOOKS just because ohmygoodsuchaprettycoverWANT or just… because of hype or something…. (I know this might be a bit…. shocking coming from a “Book Blogger”, haha), and will only buy books I know I’ll love. Of course, there is always a chance I might end up not enjoying it, but it’s a really, really small one. I know what kind of books I love as well as have some auto-buy authors that rarely disappoint πŸ™‚

    Though… when I started blogging, I started with WANTING all the books and entered ALL the giveaways but NOT anymore… So I guess, I’m a reformed one, too. πŸ˜€ I can imagine that it’ll be hard TO keep to your decision, so – GOOD LUCK!!


  1. […] seen a few posts on book buying habits (Tara put it well in my opinion! As did Jamie) and I figured I’d do the […]

  2. […] Jamie is a reformed book buyer… apparently. […]

  3. […] have to admit I have very much started buying books this way! Find out what I’m talking about in this post. What are your habits […]