Friday, October 24, 2014

Owning vs. Checking-Out: Where Do You Get Your Books?

Usually, I have a policy against buying books. This may seem strange, seeing as how I love all things bookish, but I have two reasons for this policy.

1.) I have no room for more books. Our bookshelves are currently stuffed to capacity (over-capacity, with books piled on top), and since we don't have space in our little apartment for more bookshelves, any new books get shoved in the boxes in the closet, under the bed, or if they're lucky, added to the pile on my nightstand. It pains me that so many of my books don't have a permanent home, and I don't want to buy more books until I have adequate space and housing for them (someday I will have my dream home library...).

2.) The public library. Why on earth would I spend money on a book that I could get for free at my library?

Generally, the only time I break this policy about buying books is when I've read a book that is so good, I know that I will want to reread it, mark it up, take notes, and generally have the book on hand for future reference and referral. The two most recent books that broke this policy were The Gift of Giving Life and Daring Greatly.  I haven't talked in depth about either of these books yet, but they were both so good I asked for them for my birthday. Honestly, the highest praise I can give any book is to actually spend money on it (remember how I hate spending money).

Here's where we get to the story for today. At my local branch library, they have a little shelf set up near the front entrance with books that are available for sale. I used to always ignore this shelf because a.) my general policy, and b.) I assumed the shelf was full of trashy romance novels and dirty retired library books that had seen better days. It wasn't until one day over the summer, when we had arrived a little too early for story-time and I had a few minutes to kill, that I actually stopped to look this shelf over.

And guys, I was totally wrong about this shelf. I mean, yes, there were plenty of trashy romance novels to go around, but there were actually some quality books there as well. Books that were on my to-read list. And they weren't old used library books either, most of them were brand-new. Then I saw the price list: 25 Cents for paperbacks.

Say what?

I don't care how little shelf-room I have at home, how can I pass up a perfectly good like-new book from my to-read list for only a mere quarter?

I can't, is the answer. Since making the discovery of this shelf, I've purchased six books (pictured above, sans The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton which was hiding under a pile of burp cloths on my nursing chair).

Now, every time we go to the library (at least once a week), I find myself perusing this shelf with great attention. They don't always have good stuff, but often enough I find these little gems that I can't help bringing home. This shelf is proving to be a serious detriment to my commitment against unnecessary consumerism.

But if I have one weakness, it is the temptation of a good book.

What's your book-buying policy?

1 comment:

  1. I'm with you. I'm VERY stingy with what I buy . . . not because I don't love buying books (I do!), but because I want our home to be filled with the cream of the crop. The library is for reading and trying out all sorts of books. The home is for keeping the ones you love and will read over and over again.

    Our library also has a cart with books for sale, but I haven't bought anything off of it (yet). My biggest problem (and this is going to sound super snobbish) is that I don't want to own a book that has the library tags still on it. But I noticed yours don't have any library markings (at least none that I can see). Do you know a good way to take them off? Or were they off already? I'd be much more willing to buy if I thought it wouldn't look like a library copy on my living room shelf.

    P.S. I'm in the process right now of turning one of our rooms into a library. It's nothing like the ones you pictured in your previous post, but it's going to be cozy and adorable, and I'm excited to reveal it in a couple of months!