Book Chat – Buying Less Books & Reading My Own Crap

One of the biggest problems I had as a book nerd in my teenage and college years was that I loved to buy books. I mean to the point of hoarding. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a lot of books, but as I’ve joked about my “Shelf of Shame” it really is one of those things where I get super frustrated with myself. So I decided to make a conscious effort the last few years: cut back on the book buying. It just started to make sense, but then a new problem arose.

The Dilemma: 

I work at a public library. When I get to process the new books I am like a kid at Christmas with excitement. I was already a heavy user of my library even before getting the job, but I found myself getting this rut where I kept taking out books, reading them, and then not reading my own stuff. “It’s for the circulation stats!” I would tell myself, but it didn’t help my massive pile of personal books. In March I devoted myself to reading all the books I’ve had out from the library (and at the time of this post I am down to two left) because in April I am putting myself on a ban for a little while. The only thing I won’t ban myself from is new comics and manga since I read and return it fast enough. But book books? Yeah, I need to control myself.

The other issue is ARCs. I love my ARCs, I love reviewing books for you guys, I love sharing stuff I am enjoying as well. I admit, this one likely won’t stop, but I do need to work on balancing the ARCs and my own reads better. What I am going to try to do again is do one ARC, one personal read and try to keep the back and forth going. Sometimes an ARC is not what I am craving, so I may just slip into reading what I want.

Trying to Find a Solution:

If I am being honest, I would say 2016 was the year I really did start to reduce my book buying and stick with it. I still buy books from authors I love to support and one of my goals is to donate ARCs I’ve kept and replace them with a legit copy. Because money can be a real tight thing, sometimes you have to get crafty. One thing I love doing is book trades, which I have a select group of people I trade with and that has been a wonderful thing. It’s allowed me to give away books I know I won’t read again and in exchange get something I want to read. However, it also adds to the pile.

One thing in 2017 I am doing different is giving myself specific reading challenges for the year and each month. In my goals journal I’ve given myself a few broader goals for the year:

  • Read 200 books
  • Read ten Non-Fiction books
  • Read five 500+ page books
  • Complete/Catch-up on 10 Series

I find recording what I read base on my challenges has been very helpful. It allowed me to visualize what I have on my shelves that need to be tackled. It also just helps is planning some of my reading for the month. I have managed to complete my reading goals for the first two months without trouble, but we will see how things go throughout the year. I always try to keep my goals every month even though sometimes it’s very difficult. Still, I try to stay positive!

Where To Go From Here?

Frankly, this is the larger question I ask myself. One of my goals is to read my own stuff and down-size my books. I have ideas on what I plan to do with the books I don’t want to keep, and I’ve weeded and pruned my collection down to stuff I still want to read. If I can continue to use my library less (which I love so hard) and keep reading my own stuff, I’d like to think that once my husband and I are ready to downsize that my collection will be much more manageable.

Here’s hoping I can stick to this plan. It’s going to be tough, but I really need to keep at my Shelf of Shame and focus on reading what I have. I hate not being able to support authors financially, and I do try when I can (or instead encourage my library to buy it so others can enjoy). Cutting back on things you love to spend money on is hard, and given the amount of money I have spent in the past? I feel like I have a lot of work to do.

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