Monday Musings | Book Buying Habits

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I guess it comes as no surprise that my book buying habits have changed over the years, but as I was celebrating a great find at the library (yes, I’m a nerd), I wondered if everyone has a list of criteria that determines whether they buy a book or not. Or, more realistically, what those criteria are.

When I  grew up, the books I “bought” were the ones I successfully convinced my parents and relatives to buy for me. When I started having a (small) allowance, I was very picky when it came to actually biting the bullet and buying a book with my limited funds. At this point in life, I mostly bought books that I had already read but loved. But once I moved into my own place and started my first “grown up” job, there was no stopping me. I started buying books that I really wanted to read immediately, regardless of price and format. Well, let’s just say that that kind of buying isn’t sustainable and now I’m back in the “pull back” mode of buying where I have to really think carefully about the books I’m buying as I’m running out of space.

So, I normally follow a set of guidelines when I decide whether I want to buy a book: a) how badly do I want to read this book? b) do I want to read it right now? c) can I buy this as an e-book instead? d) might I find it in the library?

I find these guidelines have served me well so far, and when I see an anticipated read at the library, it’s extra exciting.

Do you give yourself any guidelines when deciding whether or not to buy a book? How have your book buying habits changed throughout the years?

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13 thoughts on “Monday Musings | Book Buying Habits

  1. Patty @ Bookish Wanderlove says:

    I do the same thing! Especially with the hike in prices for books. If it’s one of my most anticipated releases then I’ll bite the bullet. If not, I check the ratings for it on Goodreads and look to see what my friends rated it. If it’s an average 3 star then I check the library.

  2. nannygrannie says:

    Yes yes yes! My mom is a librarian and therefore I’ve always been a library nerd. I often wait months to read a popular book – but sometimes find great ones in thrift stores for under $5. Win! Very very rarely can I justify buying a new book for over $25 just because I may hate it 😁 awesome blog post I really enjoyed it

  3. Reg @ She Latitude says:

    I’m actually like you in that I’m in that ‘pull back’ mode when it comes to books. I guess for me it’s just that usually I can get what I want in the library, and it feels like I’m throwing money if I buy those books?

    I do buy books, but nowhere as often as other book bloggers do, I think – I’m very conscious of my money and generally try to spend as little as I can. With other things like clothes or food, for example, I can’t really get them for ‘free’, so those I buy.

    My habits have definitely changed throughout the years though! After I started working I guess I kind of realised how difficult it is to get money, so I’m more of a saver now. 😛

  4. Cherry says:

    Oo this is interesting! I think my book buying habits have changed similarly to yours. When I was younger the only books I owned were the ones given to me as presents, and then in college I would occasionally splurge on ebooks. But now? It’s like nothing else matters except having that new release and buying every book on my tbr >.< it's really bad. I've been trying to curb my book buying habits as well. For now I'm only buying books that are a) highly anticipated sequels, bonus if there's preorder swag b) buddy read/book club reads c) I must read it now. But otherwise I'm trying to read the unread books I do have xD Book Outlet is my kryptonite though haha.

  5. Naomi says:

    I always check the library first. Why buy it if I can get it at the library? Beyond that, I think about how badly I want to read it, what others have said about it, whether I think I might get more than one read out of it (by me or by a friend), whether or not it has come from a small press because I am more likely to want to support those ones. Sometimes, I’ll buy big fat books, so there’ll be no due date to have it back to the library. And sometimes I go for reference or non-fiction for the same reason.

  6. cricketmuse says:

    I’m a library shopper as well. Living in a small house with limited shelf space definitely defines my buying of books. I do like to buy books for gifts. My grandkiddo has crates of books, a nine year strong library from me buying books for her all through the year since she’s been born.

  7. Love says:

    I’m a library first person, but if I like the book I try to make an effort to buy it in order to support the author. After moving several times, with a couple hundred books, I try to only buy hardcover because they hold up well against the stress of moving.

  8. Leah @ Books Speak Volume says:

    I find that if I buy a book and don’t read it immediately, it will sit unread on my shelves for months, so now I only buy a book when I desperately want to read it right now. This keeps me from buying multiple books at a time. I’ve also been utilizing my library I stand of buying books lately, figuring that if I really love a book I can always buy a copy later.

  9. Andi M. (@estellasrevenge) says:

    I’ve been actively changing my buying habits, and I was really proud of myself yesterday for foregoing a purchase in favor of checking the library’s website. I almost always forget, but yesterday I remembered, put the book on hold, and I’m next in line. Wooohoo!

  10. The Paperback Princess says:

    I went to the bookstore yesterday and didn’t buy anything! So proud, hahahaha.

    I find that my book buying habits ebb and flow. At certain times it seems like I can’t help but buy piles and piles of books – books that I’ve been looking forward to, books I’ve meant to read forever that are on sale, books that everyone has been talking about etc – and then I go through periods of time where I really use my library. Probably because I have piles of books that I still need to read, hahahah.

    It really comes down to space doesn’t it? At the same time, there are few things I think are worth spending the money on and books are definitely one of them! And since I don’t read e-books at all, my options are: buy or borrow?

  11. Incessant Bookworm says:

    If I liked the first book in the series (such as Outlander) I’m more inclined to purchase a paperback (i’m still frugal with how I spend book money!). I’ve been scouring indie bookstores, goodwill, and library book sale events for good deals. E-books I gave a try, but my eyes were not thanking me for it 😦 I’ve recently got into audio books that I borrow through MP3 and listen on a run or on my commutes into the city!

  12. Shaina (@shainareads) says:

    I think I’m a much more cautious book-buyer than most… I really feel like I need to have a “reason” to own a book rather than just check it out from the library.

    That being said, this often goes out the window when it comes to books on sale for my Kindle. I actually had to unsubscribe from services like the Kindle Daily Deals and BookBub deals because I knew I’d end up spending money—even if it’s a small amount of money—on books that would just gather dust. Maybe I’ll read them someday, it’s true, but I know I definitely don’t need to own all of them!

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