Discussion

Owning Books : A Controversy

//I’m typing in my mobile so please excuse the weird formatting or paragraphing errors//


So, I’m going to talk about how important it is today to own books and show them off. I’m not trying to offend anyone, I’m just trying to state the reality. And I accept the reality too.
To be a famous book blogger/bookstagrammer/booktuber/booklr etc etc etc, buying books and showing them, or rather ‘hauling’ them is important.

Note how I use the word ‘famous’ instead of ‘good’ because how good you are as a book blogger/vlogger has no relation to the amount of books you’re buying. But to be famous or be known among the book community, you need to show the people the books you’re buying every once in a while.

And I know and accept this fact, and I myself do the same too. I too buy books and haul them in this site (though I’m not that frequent) and I too watch book  hauls and see what books others buy.

Which is not what I’m here to discuss today.

What I really want to discuss is how all this book buying done by bookish people online has an effect on the people following/reading/watching our content.

I’ve seen this in a lot of cases. And in a few cases, people have written to me too. Watching people online buy/haul/receive too many books makes people insecure and urges them to indulge in these habits too.

And I have felt this too so I know this is universal. When I see a booktuber haul 20-30 books each month, or get super cheap books on BookOutlet (which does not deliver in India) , I look at the small collection of books I have and feel, maybe, a bit sad.
And I’m basically here to help you (if you’re feeling anything like this) come to terms with this.

Now, repeat with me –
No one cares how many books I own, what really matters is what and how much I READ, AND READ AND READ!!!!
I will buy books as per my ability and needs and I don’t care whether someone builds a library in his home or not.
If you buy more books but still I read more than you, then that makes me the better reader.

Honestly, it is up to you to deal with this, but since I went through the same a few months ago, I would love to help.

If you are someone who gets insecure watching book hauls (everyone has been at one point in their life, so do NOT be ashamed), then you NEED to stop watching those videos. If such posts/videos are messing with your brain and costing your wallet, stop watching/reading these posts! Buy cheap books, even if they’re used! Library. Borrow.

No one is going to judge you for the amount of books you have. Let me tell you, that’s the LAST thing any sane person would consider as a basis for judging a book lover.

Set a monthly limit/budget. Decide the amount of money you want to spend each month/week on your books and don’t cross that. Stick to that. It’ll make you feel good.

When adding books to your cart, wait for at least two days before ordering them (unless it is a new release you’ve been waiting for) and at the end of those two days, ask yourself whether you need to BUY that NOW?

Take limited money with you to the bookstore.

And most importantly, don’t feel bad. Just, don’t. And remember, everyone who hauls more than 10-12 books each month, they are not paying full price for most of these books. They are either using discounted websites, or getting free review copies or using coupons.

So accept your situation (like I know and accept now that since there’s no BookOutlet in India, I’ll never get to buy books at prices which are available to most other countries). Try to work out what’s best for you. Mainly, read. That’s the only thing that matters.

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16 thoughts on “Owning Books : A Controversy

  1. Agreed! It’s not about how many books we buy, but that we are reading and enjoying the reading process. I get most of my books now from NetGalley (which are for free). I just need to write a review. This is the only way that I can afford so many new books. Also, I get most of my books from libraries or friends. I will admit that yeah, I’m super jealous when people get so many books, especially ARCs and such. But I have to keep telling myself it doesn’t matter. Great post and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for supporting my thoughts. I half thought about deleting my post in fear of offending people, but then reconsidered and decided to post because this is pretty much an issue in itself. I too hardly buy books. It’s usually from Amazon or used stores, or I just enjoy the books on my Kindle :D

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *stands up and applauds* Thank you for this post!

    I have a friend who has a lot more money than I do and buys books all the time. I don’t go book-shopping with her as often anymore, because it makes me feel kinda lame when she’s buying a stack of books and asking me why I’m not getting anything. I’m a caregiver and I don’t make a lot of money, so I can’t really afford to buy books I don’t love. I’ll read them at the library first, and if I love them, I’ll buy them.

    It used to bother me a lot, but then I noticed how often books fly on and off her shelves, and how few she actually reads all the way through. In the end, I’d rather have a library of dearly-loved books than get stacks of them every month only to give them away or sell them within the year because I got bored. She may buy more books than I do, but I fall in love with more books than she does, and I’d take that any day! :)

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  3. It does seem like there’s an unspoken rule that, to be a book blogger, you have to have massive bookshelves full of wall-to-wall books. Bloggers are talking all the time about having no more space in their houses for books. And that’s fantastic for anyone who has that many books! But it doesn’t make anyone less of a book lover or book blogger for not having many physical books. So I’ve just never let it get to me. I mean, I’d like to have more books just because they’re pretty lol, but there should definitely be more love out there for us bloggers who don’t own many physical books!

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  4. I actually don’t feel like I buy a lot of books, but I have been pretty steadily creating a collection, so I guess … I DO get some from my Secret Sister and I’ve gotten others for review (lots from things like BEA and RT). So my bookshelves are now kind of stuffed. But I don’t feel compelled to buy. Most weeks you’ll see only a couple books on my “Book Haul” section of my Sunday Post – and none at all this week!

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  5. I set my identity as a reader long before the internet was invented, let alone book blogging. I read so much that I’d have to be incredibly wealthy to buy all the books I read, so I long ago committed to using the library instead. My bookshelves hold photo albums, hiking guides, a few classics, some essays, and a few dozen library books. While I greatly admire beautiful, full bookshelves, I don’t need to own them in order to be a reader.

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  6. Some days, I think I’m the odd person out in our book blogging community. I rarely step foot in a bookstore or purchase hauls of books from online companies. And that’s not because I receive a ton of ARCs either. I might get two or three in an entire year, if I’m lucky. The thought of spending money on books is kind of anxiety-inducing actually. They are pretty expensive. Even in America, so I don’t even want to think of how expensive they are in other parts of the world.

    When I see book hauls, I am not overcome with the urge to indulge in overspending on books. Instead I have just wonder things like “do they have their own bills that they pay yet” or “I wonder what their credit card limit is” or “have they been stockpiling bookstore gift cards” or “how do they even afford that”. The older I’ve become (I’m in my late-twenties now), the more stingy I’ve become. It hard for me to justify spending money on a book that I can borrow for “free” from the library (“free” in quotations because of taxes and all). I mean, it’s May, and I think I’ve purchased ONE book this year.

    I suppose it also helps that I don’t own any bookshelves to display all of the glorious books. I keep the books that are most dear to me (in a box in the coat closet) and the rest get donated to the library at the end of the year. Why hold on to something I’m never going to revisit or share with my future family?

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    1. I really like your approach towards this. The one thing I’ve noticed ever since I’ve started spending on books is that I obsessively think about money. I’m always thinking about ways to save so that that can be used in buying a little more books. And that has just been eating me and stealing my mental peace.
      I’m 16, I don’t even have a part time job (youngsters in India usually don’t) so all I can rely on is the pocket money I get from my parents. And it seems like the more I have, the more tensed and crazy I become to save money to buy books.
      Till last year, my school was just 5 mins away from my home and I used to get very, very, less money as compared to now. Yet, earlier I used to spend money more freely on food and things I like without this constant headache about saving for books. Now that I have more money, I’m always just thinking how to cut down the usage all the time. And it’s really crazy and something I’m trying to improve.
      I too, when I watch people haul excessive books, wonder the same things. Who pays their bills?

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      1. Ah see…when I was 16, the only money I earned was from doing chores around the house. I would actually save all of that money up specifically for visits to the book store, and then I would easily spend $60…$70 on books? I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing though… at the age of 16. You usually don’t have bills to pay at that age (I didn’t at least), and it’s the first time most youngsters are earning money. I always thought of it as an exercise in money management because you have to save your money for the end goal– a stack of books. But, this was also ten years ago, and book blogs and book hauls were not popular. I didn’t have that PRESSURE to save and spend money on books. It was pure luxury at the time. It’s interesting how media, even something as positive as bookish media, can make us feel pressure to behave or spend money a certain way in order to feel apart of the community.

        For me, it becomes mind-boggling when a person is older because they do have responsibilities like paying bills or mortgages or putting food on the table. I just don’t understand how they balance it all.

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        1. Yes. The only real expenditure I have to incur is traveling and the rest I try to save so that I can buy books. I also try to save a small part each week and add it to my “savings” – in case I need money anytime in emergency and also for birthday gifts for immediate family members. And I too see it as a money management practice kinda. Ik things will be way different when I’m older, but as of now, this is how things work for me. And well, the constant efforts to walk (which is a crazy idea in Indian summer) instead of taking a rick and spending even that small amount of money.

          Liked by 1 person

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