Opinion Pieces / The Latest

Not Buying Books in 2017: an update


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Spring is sprung. Well, not really since there has been a cold snap and some out-of-the-blue snow. I am hoping that Spring decides to come back soon. I am in some serious need of sunshine and warm weather.

It has been almost four months since I decided to give up book buying (with the exception for university books and presents for people). To date, I’ve had to break the rules twice. Once for a book club book that I couldn’t find at any of my libraries, and the second time has less of an excuse and is more just because I really wanted the book and couldn’t get it anywhere else.

So while some might say my two slip-ups equal failure, I am actually pretty impressed with myself and my progress. To be honest, I thought I would be going crazy without new books. However, when I told myself that I just couldn’t have all the books, I started to look more at my local libraries for what they had, and changed up my reading habits. I found myself reading books I would usually never pick up otherwise and some of these books have been really amazing, like Big Little Lies.

Not buying books in excess has taught me some things about myself:

Firstly, I own a lot of books already, that I still need to read and I have really been enjoying ticking books of my TBR list that I own. I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I also love that these books are not just collecting dust anymore.

Secondly, book buying like any other purchases can be used in counterproductive ways. Sometimes, I would buy books when I felt down or lonely, and being an expat missing my native language and culture, I can tell you that would happen a lot.

Rather than just buy something to try to fill the gaps, I try to read and appreciate what I have when it comes to my book collection.

Thirdly, reading will always be a part of my life. I thought that without reading the up-to-date releases that I would be out of touch, but the truth is that my local library has a lot of great new-release books and buying into the consumerism of the book world, or any other industry for that matter, is not always the best way.

Fourthly, books are a part of my life, but they are not my life. Many people assume that because I love books it is all I know and love. And while I care greatly about books, they are not the total sum of all I am. It has helped me look at other loves and hobbies in my life and see a range of joy.

Lastly, when I purchased these two books, I really deliberated over the buy. Previously, I would have bought them without too much thought. However, now I am checking the libraries and second-hand stores first before I jump into buying a brand new book. And considering that it was Earth Day yesterday, buying pre-loved books or using a library is not a bad way to go.

So whether this is a failure or a half success, I cannot be certain. All I know is that I’m still sticking to my book buying ban as much as I can.

What are your reading challenges this year? Do you have a book buying issue? Have you gone a year without buying new books? As always, share the reading love.

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2 thoughts on “Not Buying Books in 2017: an update

  1. I agree with your points. Being near a decent library has been a godsend for my reading habits (and my wallet) and so far this year, I’ve only purchased the new Sarah J Maas book that’s coming next week, as I can’t wait to read it, haha. Totally get the thing about buying books when you’re lonely, especially when overseas. It’s an expensive addiction!

    • I think libraries are really under-used around the world. People also often don’t realise that they can also request their libraries to buy books for their community.

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