Today, Booking Through Thursday asks:
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?
This is a good question. Although I most often borrow books from the library, I do buy books occasionally – usually used, but sometimes new. It is the one thing where I don’t feel too guilty about being a consumer. I love to see books sitting there on the shelf and know that I have opportunities at my fingertips. Perhaps I like this in part because I grew up in a house that has bookshelves in every room, some of them packed with double rows of books. Many of the books were ones from when my parents were younger, even their college textbooks, and I loved just browsing through the shelves and knowing all these different books were there. (Of course, I would often complain that I couldn’t find anything to read and end up at the library 🙂 ). It makes my home feel homier to have books in it. I have also daydreamed many times about a dedicated room for books, a library, in my home. It would have built-in floor-to-ceiling shelves, a fireplace, comfy chairs and sofas, soft rugs, and maybe a desk for when I want to be more “studious”.
What prompts me to buy a particular book? I will sometimes buy a book I have already read, if I know that I will want to read it again and I just feel that it is “worth” owning. When browsing at a used book sale I am more likely to buy something on the spur of the moment, even if I’ve never heard of it, if it just catches my fancy. I have also been known to buy a book new off of Amazon when I was not willing to wait for it to become available at the library – in particular, I did that with The Omnivore’s Dilemma earlier this year.
Once I own a book, it will take a lot for me to get rid of it. I still have all of my college textbooks – I never sold them back to the bookstore after the course was over like most students did. I like having that record of what I studied, even if I will never read many of them again. Even books I have read only once and am not that likely to read again, if I own it I am unlikely to get rid of it. I feel that there is always a chance I will want to read it again, and I could regret giving it away, but I am not likely to regret keeping it. However, I actually have empty space on my shelves right now (due in part to keeping some books at my parent’s house) so perhaps I would feel differently if I were running out of room. Still, I think I’d be more likely to buy another bookshelf than to get rid of books.