A lot of people say that reading books and buying books are two entirely different hobbies.
I’m very fortunate that I have access to several (online) bookshops and I live close to many secondhand shops that allow me to buy most of my books cheaply (this hasn’t actually been possible for me for several months, but I’m hopeful it will be again at some point this year). And, given the current state of things, I don’t have many other expenses. The closest I get to socialising is thanking the delivery driver through the window as they leave parcels on the doorstep!
It’s quite easy for me to buy books. Much easier than, say, actually reading them. It’s also quicker – you don’t need a lot of free time to press the checkout button on your Waterstones cart. Over the past year, I’ve grown a considerable pile of unread books, based on the false assumption that I can read books as fast as I can buy them.
And whilst I can lie to myself that I don’t have too many books, my shelves can’t: the way one of them is beginning to bow in the middle is evidence enough that I have two options: read more books (and unhaul the ones I don’t love) or stop buying books. Since no extra time is going to be magically appearing during my final year of university, I am turning to the second option. But, I don’t want to cut myself off completely. There are a few new releases I’m very excited for, and I would like to keep supporting authors and bookshops in some way.
So, I’ve come up with a system to reduce my physical tbr and my book buying habits that I’m going to trial on a 6-month basis. In June I’ll see how well I’ve stuck to it and maybe keep it up for the rest of the year.
My Book Buying Challenge: Part 1
I make impulse purchases. That’s the first thing I need to stop if I want to reduce how many books I buy this year. Whether it’s a sale, a compelling review or an Instagram unhaul, I can be found buying books. Not only do I not need more books, but it also means I don’t end up buying the books I really, really want to get. Buying any new and expensive release feels extravagant, but apparently my brain has no issue with making several “bargain” purchases that probably add up to more than the alleged extravagant purchase anyway. This adds up to more books (and more money!) in the long run.
So, I am simply not going to feel guilty about buying new releases.
This is not as counter-intuitive as it sounds! I’ve created a list of six 2021 releases that I am very excited about and would really want to buy or pre-order, but would usually feel guilty about. And I can buy them, whenever I want. If I’m having a bad week, I really want to buy a book or one of them is being released soon, there is a book I can buy.
But, that’s it. Only these six books, which are:
- I Think I Love You by Auriane Desombre
- Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
- The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
- One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
- Bookishly Ever After by Lucy Powrie
- A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Roseanne A. Brown
And, just as a side point really, I won’t be buying any of them from Amazon.
My Book Buying Challenge: Part 2
I need to stop avoiding my physical tbr. I don’t do it on purpose. There are just other ways I can read, like Netgalley, ARCs sent for review (unsolicited or requested by me), library books and Scribd, that mean the books I do read don’t necessarily make my tbr go down.
Firstly, I’ve deleted my Netgalley account and stopped my Scribd subscription (for now) so I can’t impulsively request ARCs or read ebooks and I’m reducing the number of ARCs I accept for review. I still have my library app but it is for audiobooks only. This way, I can pretty much only read the books I own (excluding ARCs).
And secondly, I’m giving myself an incentive to read the books – more books! But again, on a smaller scale than I’d buy books normally. I don’t need an incentive – I’m looking forward to reading every single book on my shelves – but I do think it’s a good way of limiting my book buying. I’ve made another list of six books that I can buy whenever I finish 10 books that are on the physical tbr list I created on the 1st Jan 2021 (books bought or received after then don’t count towards it). This is based on my reading an average of 10 books a month. In theory, it’s one book every month.
The six books I’ve decided I can buy are:
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
- If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
- The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
- The Sound of Stars by Alechia Dow
- Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
- Blank by Blank (in case there’s one later in the year I decide I’d really like)
If I stick to this, properly, (and read exactly 10 books each month) I will reduce my physical by 60 books. I will then increase it by 12 if I buy every book I’ve mentioned above, reducing my tbr overall by 48 books in 6 months.
I honestly can’t decide if that seems like a lot or not very many at all. What I can say is it’s definitely a big decrease in comparison to last year, where it was practically a read one buy one system (if not buy two!).
Now it’s time to see if it works!
Are you setting any book buying challenges this year?