Why I Don’t Buy Books

I love books. Apart from the food court, I will most likely be found in a bookstore. I’ve always found that the worlds contained within books is more fascinating than my real life!

But I don’t buy books.

Okay, so slight correction, I buy books but very rarely. Compared to most bookworms and bookstagrammers, my bookshelf is sparse. While I will spend time wandering around bookstores, I’m less likely to actually buy anything. It’s even more rare for me to preorder a book that hasn’t even come out yet.

But why? Why do I refrain from hoarding all the books?

As an immigrant, my parents weren’t able to buy me a lot of things. I grew up wearing clothes that were never quite right, owning bags and things that weren’t “popular.” I was old enough to appreciate all of the things that they did spend money on, actual necessities. My parents never treated themselves to a night out because they were trying to build a comfortable life for me and my sister. As such, they never bought me books. Physical books (no ebooks then) were, and still are, a luxury. So to get my reading fix, I would go to the library. My parents were more than happy for me to get a free library card and read as many books as I wanted (as long as it never affected my studies, which it obviously did, since all I ever did was read … but that’s for another time).

But seriously, when a new book comes out, the first thing I do is go to the library and put in a request for it. Chances are the library has already purchased it and I can put a hold and get it ASAP! This has always seemed like the most economical way to read. Even now, I am a poor Master’s student and I have to penny-pinch; the library is a great way for me to read books but not blow all of my hard-earned cash. Another benefit is that you can borrow multiple books at a time! Not everyone can buy multiple books in one go, so this makes the library a great option.

Biggest bonus of going to the library? If you don’t like a book …. YOU CAN RETURN IT! That’s right! Most retailers don’t allow for exchanges of books, or if they do, it has to be within 14 days. But with a library, if you don’t like the book, you just drop it in the return box and forget about it! It’s a win-win for everyone.

Another reason why I don’t buy books is that I’m rarely in one place. Except for my high school years, I have never been always at home. I like to travel, and sometimes education takes me to a different place. Trying to bring all of my books with me is just not feasible. Right now, the few books that I do own are in a big brown box in the basement, and no one is reading them or giving them any love. But just imagine if I had whole bookshelves worth of books! They would sit on those shelves, gathering dust!

One of the biggest reasons I am picky when it comes to buying books is that I rarely reread books. There are some books that I will go to multiple times like the Harry Potter series or the Narnia series. But for the most part, I finish a book and am done with it. When I buy a book, it means that this is a seriously good book that I plan on rereading multiple times. I never want it to leave my side. I WILL SLEEP WITH IT AT NIGHT! You get the point. If I’m going to spend $20-$30 on a book, it had better be worth it!

Also, now we have e-books. Many of my problems are simplified because of them. E-books are cheaper than physical books, and much more convenient for travel. I am still picky with my e-books in that I will only buy the ones that I know I will re-read, but I don’t feel too bad if I don’t end up rereading, either. The only negative of ebooks is they don’t look great in bookstagram feeds … but I’m working on that!

Of course, I want to support authors. I understand that the way they make money is by getting their books sold. I don’t want anyone to feel like I am telling them to stop buying books! And like I said, I do buy books on occasion. But I only buy the books that I feel are worth buying. These are the authors whose work I love, and I show my support by buying their books and rereading it FOREVER.

But enough about my habits … what about yours? Do you buy books right away?

Are you a fan of pre-ordering? Or are you a careful spender?

Let me know by commenting ๐Ÿ™‚


0 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Buy Books

  1. I mostly read library books too! I only buy books that I have read and know I love or will want to read again. The only few exceptions are 1) that I will buy books I haven’t read at a thrift store if they’re only a few dollars, and 2) I have preordered books, but only when I’ve read a lot of that author’s work and loved the majority of it. I will eventually have a small book collection though, because I like having them to show off! It’s like displaying part of my personality in my home. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I also make an exception when it comes to super awesome book sales. Recently, my university had one where it was $5 for a bag that you can fill with as many books as you want – so that’s a steal for me! I rarely pre-order, unless it’s part of a series and I already love/have the other books in the series. My other problem is that when I buy books that I haven’t read before, I tend to not read them because I prioritize books that have deadlines associated with them (ARCs and library books). Thanks so much for sharing and I hope your collection continues to grow!

  2. I definitely get not buying books if you don’t reread a lot. I do buy books, but only really if they’re on sale or I can get them cheaper than usual; rarely do I buy full price. I also unhaul books I don’t like fairly often, and only keep the ones I know I’ll reread. I wish I could visit my library more, and I’m making it a goal this year to do so, but it’s in such a busy part of town, I get super anxious driving down there. Ebooks and the Overdrive app are serious lifesavers, though!

    1. What is unhauling? I don’t think I’m familiar with that! Yes, it can be really hard to get to the local library, and I definitely struggle with it. Having overdrive is so amazing because of how quickly I can access books!

      1. Unhauling is essentially getting rid of books via donating to a library/selling to a used book store/etc. The opposite of hauling, which is acquiring books!

        1. Ahhh I see! I do a bit of that, too, where possible! Passing books along is such a great way to spread the love of reading ๐Ÿ’•

  3. When in elementary/middle school I would go weekly to the library and get at least 10 books. I definitely need to start that again, I’m sure my wallet will thank me!

    1. Hahaha I used to smuggle books from my school library because my parents didn’t let me read fiction during the school year! Now, I don’t even have to visit the library because I can just use the Overdrive app to borrow books!

  4. *laughs* I just bought 4 books today and tuesday I ordered 7. *smiles sheepishly* in my defense the books I ordered were off Amazon and I was using my vouchers and the books I bought today were at a knockdown price and I’m a magnet for sales particularly when books are involved. Although it does mean I have a duplicate of the first book I’m not overly fussed, I’ll either do a giveaway at some point or give to my friend hehe.

    That aside though, I don’t actually buy books a lot. Like…it’s gotten worse cause of college meaning when I go into town and on my lunch break there’s book shops stationary shops but otherwise I don’t buy books all the time. I do hoard them though. I own 250+ books by now it’s a collection that’s been built over time. Unlike you my parents and grandparents could afford to buy my books, I do use the library though. I’ve always been an avid library user, also I’ve never moved my house. Where I live is where I grew up and I’ve yet to move…so my books are safe and are on their shelves all happy.

    I’m not a fan of preordering books…not because I don’t want to but because hardbacks are a big no no for me. And usually you have to wait until the paperback is released a few weeks later, so I don’t preorder only in rare cases do I. My parents though always knew what I was doing, being an only child with parents who were working hard at home. I could have gotten bored very easily. But well…my mum had started a mini library before I was born for me soooo I didn’t have much chance ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. I think that many of my book buying practices have been influenced by how I’ve been raised and my circumstances growing up, and I’m sure you can also say the same for your habits! Ultimately, as long as you can enjoy reading, I don’t think it really matters whether a person buys books or not! I also rarely preorder – but how come you don’t like hardbacks?

  5. This post speaks to me on a very deep level! I agree with everything you said. I always get my books from the library unless I know I’m really gonna like it or I have a gift card to the book store!

    1. I’m so glad you liked this post! It’s something I used to feel really embarrassed about because I always wanted to be like everyone else. But I like it now. I think it makes me a lot more picky when it comes to reading and it also makes me a better critic, which is something I can apply to my reviews! So happy that it resonated with you, glad to know there are others like me!

      1. Exactly!! And I feel less bad if I don’t finish something / I don’t feel pressured to finish it because I haven’t spent money on it. I can just simply return it with no worry ๐Ÿ˜Š I know what you mean though BC for a long time I felt like I was less of a book worm because I don’t have a huge shelf of books, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that that’s okay too! It’s whatever is best for you!

        1. Right?! Or you can renew it (which is my current problem right now since I’m renewing books but not reading any of them lol) and yeah, honestly, I know that if I had the money and space I would probably spend it on books. But I don’t. And that’s totally fine. There’s nothing wrong with not buying books and honestly, what’s the point of buying every new book right away without actually reading to see if it is worth buying? The last thing I want is to buy for the sake of buying only to read the book and absolutely hate it. I mean, yeah, donating is an option, but I still spent $20+ on it and that is going to rankle me for a while!

    1. I’ve just recently gotten into audiobooks and I love borrowing them from the library through Overdrive! I think that I would like to buy books if I was in the right position for that, ie. making enough money to afford them and having enough space to keep them!

        1. Yes! I’m so glad I found out about it and that my library system is connected to it! It makes life so much easier for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha, thanks! I think that people just assume I must own a ton of books because I love to read so much and they’re always surprised to find out that I don’t. I also have a friend who used to tell me that I’m only truly a bookworm if I own a ton of books… growing up, that bothered me a lot! But clearly that isn’t true ๐Ÿ˜›

  6. I have never pre ordered a book to buy, but like you I ‘pre ordered’ plenty of library books. Your parents sound lovely and so caring, I’m sure you have learnt / are learning plenty from them. If I am going to look for general books to buy, (not a particular one), I will browse charity shops, where books are much cheaper and you also donate your pre loved ones to them. I do buy books sometimes, but I’m definitely more of a charity shop / library book girl.

    1. They can be a pain at times, but I have never held it against them that they couldn’t give me what other kids had; they did the best they could and have always been there to support me in my goals, which is what matters the most! Yes, I do the exact same! I only buy specific books if I loved them enough that I will be rereading them, otherwise charity shops and discount stores are the place to go!


    It’s only recently that I’ve started hoarding book and it’s tough because I legit don’t buy anything else to compensate. Books are so freaking expensive and not all those which I want are available at the local bookstores. Not to mention the libraries are outdated and crap ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

    1. I used to save all of my money for books. But now that I live away from home, I need to spend money on groceries and clothes and rent … so buying books is a real luxury! Aww it sucks that the library is outdated for you, that can make it so tough ๐Ÿ™

  8. I used to buy books all the time! But since I got into reading e-books, I’m planning to stop buying real books and support them by buying virtually instead. (Although there would be exceptions like you’ve said.) I also sold some of my old books because like you, I don’t reread. I wish we have a better library system here in the Philippines. It would definitely save me a lot of money!

    1. I’m lucky I’m in a place with a really good library system but I have family in other parts of the world that aren’t nearly as lucky and have to rely on bookstores or other places for books. Ebooks are definitely the way to go these days in terms of accessibility and cost!

  9. What an interesting post!

    I do actually buy quite a few books as well as preordering frequently. Although I usually end up returning quite a few books.

    Yes ebooks are great! As is the library. Sometimes I feel that in the mist of all the arcs and great books, we forget the library exists. I go to my library quite often. Usually the latest release that I have my eye on is there.

    I totally feel you on returning! I honestly feel like a spend most of my reading year seeing what Iโ€™ll return next to the bookstore. And itโ€™s so exhausting! With the library itโ€™s much easier.

    Lovely post โ˜บ๏ธ

  10. That was really interesting to read!

    In my country, I’ve big doubts that I would be able to find even more backlist books in English and for my current life, having a deadline of when returning the book would only stress me out much more. Sometimes I pass days whitout reading. But I get that for some people is actually something good.

    So, I usually prefer to buy physical books but I pose myself a ban because I don’t want to spend too much. I usually can only rely on Amazon and Bookdepository for getting books with low or zero shipping cost but the price is still high. So I try to buy only when I need to.
    Also, I’ve to say that in my country I’ve the possibility to re-sell a book on my own, so if I really disliked something there’s always a good change to get back part of the money.

    I usually don’t pre-order because:
    – I would never get the book in time
    – I spend double.

    1. I think that it’s all about the way a person chooses to buy books. I find that if I buy a book and it’s the newest thing out, I will most likely take a long time to read it so it is better if I don’t buy it and just read it from the library or online first. Thanks for sharing how you go about buying books!

  11. I love your post, Vee! I must agree–I didn’t buy many books until the past few years.

    College actually prompted me to buy more books, academic and for leisure. However, I’ve been pretty careful with the books I’ve bought because I too am picky. I don’t want to purchase a book that I had mediocre feelings on when I could have spent the money on a book I shall cherish forever!

    My problem is BOOK COVERS.

    SOMETIMES (not always) a cover literally haunts me to buy it until it’s within arm’s reach. It’s a problem. While I do try to keep my purchases minimal, every now and then I’ll buy a book or two on a whim. Sometimes via pre-order (but this isn’t something I do often.)

    1. Hahahaha I definitely get it about the covers! There are some gorgeous covers out there but the story inside is not always the best. That has happened to me enough times that now I proceed with extra caution when there is a book with a super pretty cover. What I do is when I find a book that I actually really want, I find the prettiest edition of it and buy that!
      I honestly don’t think I’ve ever pre ordered a book…. at most, I’ve done it maybe 3 times? It’s usually because I already own the other books in the series because I love it so I want the final installment!

  12. I agree, I would love to be able to support authors more, but I can’t afford to buy too many books, so my shelves are definitely more sparse than what I’ve seen on Instagram and blogs of other bloggers. But I do my best to help out authors by reviewing and promoting! And hey, when we request books at the library, that helps authors too ๐Ÿ™‚ Btw idk if you were being serious about sleeping with your books, but when I was rereading HP recently, I literally brought whichever book I was in the middle of and put it next to me in my bed each night, so I actually did that, haha.

    1. Yes, for sure, reviewing and borrowing library books is still showing support for authors! We gotta do what we can, right? Haha and I was VERY serious about sleeping with a book at night! Sometimes, when I’m tired and about to go to bed after reading a book, I’ll just put the book beside me in bed and it’s almost like I’m snuggling with it ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ

  13. Iโ€™m totally with you on borrowing more than buying!! When I was younger and didnโ€™t have a care in the world, Iโ€™d spend my majority of my time buying books. But now that Iโ€™m grown with bills to pay, I canโ€™t afford every book I want to buy, so Iโ€™m glad my nearby library and Overdrive (which Iโ€™ve become obsessed with!) exist. Great, great post, Vee!

    1. Yes, now that it’s my own money I have to spend, I’m a lot more careful with what I spend it on! Books are worth reading but not all books are worth buying! Overdrive is my favourite source for books and I’m so glad I can access it!

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