The Compulsive Reader: Why Do You Buy?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Why Do You Buy?

Books are fabulous things in the sense that they are essentially very cheap entertainment, and in most cases, virtually free if you use a library and borrow them from someone else. It's perhaps one of the most appealing things about them.

But then, of course, so many people do end up buying their own books (which is a good thing, especially with the publishing industry in the state it is now!).

My question is, why?

I know that for me, buying books is a compulsive thing--I can't help it. After I've read the book, I want it to be mine forever, and my groaning and overflowing bookshelves are a testament to that. But why do you purchase books rather than renting or borrowing? Does the book have to sound really good, or be really popular? Does the edition (hardcover, paperback, mass market) influence your decision? Does it have to have re-reading potential? Or do you just really like the cover?

Let me know in the comments below, and I'll enter you to win a copy of Savvy Girl by Lynn Messina! Contest ends January 31st, but keep the comments coming as long as you want!


Liviania said...

I buy when I see something that looks really really interesting and I happen to have a gift card or extra money, when an author I trust comes out with a new book, or when I walk into a bookstore.

Ink Mage said...

I actually don't buy that many books for myself. If I do, it usually must be something I've previously read and enjoyed (or the sequel to such) and think I want to read again. If it's one of those, I buy hardcovers. They hold up so much better and smell better, too. :-)

There's only one time I can remember buying a book, especially a hardcover, based on the cover and the description, and it (The Legend of Lady Ilena) did turn out to be a favorite. But that's it. My library system is actually pretty good, and I'm just cautious with what I buy, even in books.

Margay Leah Justice said...

I am addicted to books. To me, there is nothing quite like the experience of holding that book in your hands and getting lost in the world created by the author. And if it's good, I'll want to read it again and again, which is why I prefer to have my own copy.

Anne Shealy said...

I am a bit nutty about buying books. I am a founding member of our Friends of the Library in our small county, but I rarely check out books. I want my own copy! I think it has something to do with the fact that I like to write in books. I love to have pen/pencil nearby so when that one beautiful line pops up, I can circle it and come back and savor it again later.

I'm also nutty about buying books to add to my classroom bookshelf. I don't have children of my own, so one of the ways that I share lit with kids is to stock my bookshelf well. I must find a more financially responsible way of doing so as I spend far too much on my classroom shelf. And, I lose far too many books every year. On average, at least 100 books walk away every year.

I was amused when I saw that you wrote on this topic today as it is one that I've had on my mind a lot lately. I don't know what it is about buying a book, but I like it sooooo much better when it is my own and not one that I have to borrow. I guess this is my way of supporting America's economy.

Alicia said...

I don't really know why I buy - I think once I walk into the bookstore and smell the books I just can't help it! I love pretty covers (I always judge the cover) and I will also buy based on the author, or if I have read good reviews!

stacey @ bookthirty said...

Being surrounded by books makes me feel ultimately rich in profound ways. I also love when I am talking to someone about a book I've enjoyed, and they mention interest in reading it. Poof! I have a copy to lend to them right away. I *love* spreading the wealth that way. :)

Zoe said...

Besides the fact that I love being surrounded by books. I think some of the reasons I buy them are; that I re-read books or part of books that I like and If I get them from a library or friend I can't do that. Its also because my public library doesn't get new books that often, maybe once or twice a year, and sometimes they don't have the book that I want, so its easier to buy it. But I think its mostly because I love being surrounded my books I love and the authors that I love reading.

Diana Dang said...

Actually, I buy more of the Japanese graphic novels than books. I just love the series and every since I seen a huge collection at a family friend's place four years ago, I knew I wanted a big manga collection also.

Alea said...

Until about 4 years ago I would get all my fiction from the library and only buy books I had loved. Apparently that's when I discovered severally discounted books or something? I have no idea, I need to stop buying and go back to the old days!!!

Hillary said...

I buy books when I don't get them free. I buy all books and hardly ever borrow them. I haven't been to the library in years.

Laina said...

I almost never buy books, at least not new. Often I'll buy them at the library for a quarter a pop, but the last new book I bought was Breaking Dawn when it first came out. (Because it would have taken FOREVER for me to get it from my library.)

Anonymous said...

i buy when ever possible. even when i was little and totally hated reading i had an extensive collection of books... and i just bought like 14 books on amazon. i usaly buy books that a friend or reviewer recomends, but a cool cover ALWAYS helps :)

Casey said...

for me its when i hear/read that a book is really good. i hate to admit it, but if i dont really like the cover all that much then probably wont buy the book. this is because i sort of have a small display of my favorite book covers on one of my shelves. but i love buying books. its just the thought that i can pick that book up whenever i want and read a page or two or even the whole book whenever i want too. my friends love me for it also. there are some books that i cant keep on my shelves because some friend always wants to read it. i dont really prefer a type of book though.

Meredith said...

I have to either really like the book-as in have read it already. Or I like the author's previous works and will probably enjoy this as well. It could also be that it is part of a series that I own and am trying to complete-of which I have many. Or the summary on the back or inside flap just sounded really good to me. And most of the time, the covers are really nice, too.


Wrighty said...

I don't buy new books for myself very often although I did have to have my own copies of the Harry Potter books. I do buy them as gifts and whole-heartedly support the industry. We have a beautiful library and I use it often, usually twice a week. We don't have a bookstore here anymore (I could spend hours in a bookstore!) and I can't afford new ones anyway. I do buy used ones and love a good bargain. To find a book that just came out last month and only pay 50c is the best feeling! Since I've started blogging I've been busy reviewing ARCs so that has opened up a whole new world to me. I love to see those packages arriving. I've always, always had books and always wanted more. I absolutely am attracted to the covers and that is what draws me in first. There isn't anything I don't like about books. The smell, the feel, the paper, the titles - you all know what I'm talking about!

Vanessa (whatvanessareads.wordpress.com) said...

I buy books because I am crazy about them.
I love having clean, fresh, new-book smelling books instead of old library copies (once I read a library copy of a Sarah Dessen book and it had paragraphs whited-out...).
The books I buy have to be getting good reviews from my YA book blogging friends.
I normally don't care if it's hardcover or paperback, but I love the feel of paperback better. Hardcover means I REALLY want it and can't wait for paperback.
I don't think I've re-read any books in my personal library... I just have so many others to read.
But I love looking up at my beautiful library with the colors of the spines, and think of how amazing each one is.


Thanks for the contest and for asking this question.

Nancy said...

I like this contest for it made me stop and think of why I buy my books.

First of all I must say that I love books. I treat my books as if they are little literary treasures. I have them in my bookshelf, my nightstand, my car, purse...when you see me, you will see a book.

I will purchase a book if I am reading a series and a new book in that series comes out.

I will purchase a book if an author comes into a bookstore nearby and I go to see them. Stephenie Meyer, John Green, Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong are just some of the authors that I purchased books for.

I will purchase a book if I have a gift card, discount coupon or border bucks. Those purchases consist of books that I have placed on my TBR pile and carry with me in my wallet. Hey, ya never know when you might get near a book store.

All these reasons for buying books because I love to hold a book in my hands and get lost in the story created by the author. I love listening to the paper shuffle as I sift thru a book. The smell of the fresh ink intoxicating. There is nothing like a NEW book :)

Genevieve said...

I like buying books because the belong to me. Just me and no one else. With me, I have memories with books. If I love the book I'll read it over and over again. I'll grab the book when I feel like reading it and I don't have to go to a library to check it out. Plus I hate it when books are dog eared or if the spines are cracked. I like it when books look pretty. There's something about the thrill of buying a book and knowing that it now belongs to you.

Kd said...

I love buying books! I have to buy them.. I dont know why. Probably because I love calling that book mine and being able to read it over and over without delay or late fees.

Evertime I go into a bookstore I do not leave empty handed. I usually end up buying alot of books that I sometimes have heard of or just looked really good. My family hates going to the bookstore with me I sometims stay there for hours just looking at all the books. :D

Katie said...

I hate waiting so if I see a book that I want to read I have to get it then, I can't be bothered with hold lists at libraries. Also then I can let friends borrow them and share the joy of reading.