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Why do we buy books?


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Yeah, I know, the obvious answer is to read. But I've just bought two books in spite of the fact that I have more books than I can possibly ever read in my lifetime - it seems - and in spite of the fact that I promised myself that I wouldn't buy any more books.

 

So, considering that I'm supposed to be a responsible adult (?) why am I still buying books? :confused:

 

Why do you buy books?

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I think it's something to do with the promise of all that enjoyment sitting on a shelf, just waiting to be picked up whenever the whim takes me.

And because they look nice - who was it said, "books do furnish a room"?

(Mind you, I have enough not to need any more as "furniture"...)

 

I do something similar, to a lesser degree, with DVDs.

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I have the potential to be a shopping addict but lack the disposable income since I gave up work to look after my kids 4 years ago. Since then I have discovered charity shops and as I would be a bit squeamish about wearing secondhand clothes the only thing I buy in them is books. This satisfies my shopping urge without plunging me into debt. My husband goes mad when he comes home to find yet another pile of books but as I would rarely spend more than €20 a time he can't complain too much. If I were to stop now I would probably have enough books to keep me going for the rest of my life.

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I buy books for a variety of reasons - and that does include the fact they look nice and the idea that Minxminnie mentioned of the potential enjoyment sitting on a shelf. Also, I buy books partly because I can afford to and I feel a sense of obligation to the writer to buy the book to encourage them to keep writing. If nobody bought books, nobody would write them.

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Thank you for your replies, all of which I can relate to.

 

I do like my charity shop finds and find that because they are cheap that increases my spending - although I've never spent anything I can't afford (thanks be to charity shops everywhere) - and I do feel that I'm supporting said charities. I've even been known to take books to charity shops so, for me, that's a win/win situation.

 

I also like the potential for enjoyment sitting on my shelf - and thanks for pointing that out, Minxminnie, I hadn't realised it on a conscious level before. Taking that a bit further I also realise that I'd have some sort of panic attack if there was no access to something to read should I get snowed in or otherwise trapped in the house. There is also a certain personal satisfaction in that I have books to cover just about every eventuality, so if the one I pick up doesn't suit me at the time, there is always another one.

 

I think that a house looks positively bereft without books and I'm very fond of mine - especially the all but one of the Barchester Chronicles, none of which are from the same publisher and are even different sizes.

 

I must admit, there is very little that I buy otherwise - outside of the necessities - and I haven't had a holiday in 10 years. I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't pursue a hectic social life and I don't have any other expensive hobbies, although I do do some crafting, and sudoku.

 

I also like the idea of encouraging authors to write and the avenues to explore reading-wise are enormous. I like holding a book, picking it up when it suits me and then putting it back on the shelf having finished it and thus knowing what it was all about. I like the older battered paperbacks and wonder how many people have read them, where they've been and what their story, inside and out, is.

 

What a great hobby - although I have to confess, I find it a necessity.

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I buy books because I want to read them and the library never has the ones I want available when I go there. I also like the fact that I can take as long as I like to read them, can write in the margins and can go back to them months later - not that I do that a lot but I want to know I can. I keep them despite good intentions to sell them off or make space.

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I'm finding myself noddding in agreement with all the posts here. There isn't any one particular reason for me to buy books. Which might be why I buy so many of them.

 

I just want them. Even if I might not have time to read them. I always hope I will, eventually.

 

For me, it's probably the same for bags and shoes. :(

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I do something similar, to a lesser degree, with DVDs.
Now that's interesting, because while I'll buy books that I might not read for weeks, months or indeed ever, if I have an unwatched DVD it feels really wrong. I suppose I see DVDs as a means to an end (to fill an entertainment need), while books are more valuable in their own right.
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Books are such a rip-off these days. I buy ones that look good on my shelf
Well, stop buying books for their ornamental value and buy them for their content - you may find that they aren't such a rip-off.
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I didn't have many books of my own as a child, so the idea of being surrounded by books has always been very appealing to me.

 

I probably shouldn't mention this here, but I'm also a very unreliable borrower! I have a checkered past where libraries are concerned and just don't trust myself any more.

I'm sure the librarians around here won't notice that! :ssh:

 

If someone has lent me a book and I've really enjoyed it, it's a wrench to give it back and I usually end up buying it for myself. I do reread books, so it's important to have them just there, when required!

 

I wouldn't keep a book I hadn't enjoyed, those ones get parcelled off to a charity shop.

 

My favourite, favourite books occupy two special shelves in my living room, where I can see them all the time, big geek that I am! :D

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When I first saw this thread I thought my reply would be that I am addicted to books. And this is true, I absolutely love books and just have to be surrounded by them.

 

Then I saw your reply Ottilie about not having many books around during childhood. My parents did their best but with four children, not much money and paper being scarce after the War, books were definitely a luxury.

 

I practically haunted the travelling library every week but hated having to give the book back on its next visit. So thinking about it maybe that's why I surround myself with books and buy more even though like many I probably won't have the time to read them all - but I am certainly trying.

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I think libraries are amazing but the reason I don't spend much time there is for the same reasons that have already been mentioned. I like not having a time limit to read in - I can't imagine how the library would have reacted to my taking four months to read Amercian Prometheus (if they had it in the first place) and I seriously doubt they would have allowed me to keep it. It's a wrench to give back a book that I've enjoyed and, most of the time, the library doesn't have what I want to read anyway.

 

Then, of course, I have books just because I want them. I do like to look at them on the shelf, too. I wonder what the ones I haven't read are about and am satisfied to see the ones I have read because I know what they are about and intend to read them again.

 

*I'm glad I started this!*

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MOH always asks me the same question, although it's more like, "Why do keep buying books?"

 

He thinks I never read them and he is partly right (although I'd never tell him so). My bookshelf is overflowing with TBR books (as is everyone's here) but I still keep buying them and every three weeks I visit my library. Being a library borrower does mean I hardly ever pull a book off my TBR shelves to read but still I buy them.

 

I love the books sitting on the shelves, waiting to be read, each one thinking "pick me, pick me" when I'm browsing through them. (OK, does that make me weird?)

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Well, stop buying books for their ornamental value and buy them for their content - you may find that they aren't such a rip-off.

 

Obviously I buy them for their content, but they are still a rip-off. I tend to haunt the library :) At least classics are cheap.

 

Anyhows, you can tell a lot about people from what books are on their shelf :)

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Anyhows, you can tell a lot about people from what books are on their shelf :)

Possibly, but you can tell a lot more by what they've actually read ;)

 

MOH always asks me the same question, although it's more like, "Why do keep buying books?"

:D Mine too. I've bought 12 books over the last few weeks, ready to take on holiday, but as hubby has righly pointed out, there's a weight limit on our luggage:o
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I have recently started using our local library a lot. It has a good range of books and I haven't had a problem renewing books that I haven't finished. It would only be an issue where someone had requested the book I had. And that is where our libraries in Rotherham Borough Council work well. It is possible to request a book from any branch (online if preferred) and they usually arrive in a couple of days. As I go to the library every week with the kids (we avoid the Thursday afternoon kiddies singalong) it is easy to pick up my books as well.

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I can't imagine how the library would have reacted to my taking four months to read Amercian Prometheus (if they had it in the first place)

 

Seriously it shouldn't be a problem if you keep renewing the loan which you can often do on the internet now using your library card or by phone...I think sometimes they have an upper limit e.g. 1 year, but these things aren't really set in stone...

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Seriously it shouldn't be a problem if you keep renewing the loan which you can often do on the internet now using your library card or by phone...I think sometimes they have an upper limit e.g. 1 year, but these things aren't really set in stone...
I can honestly say that I don't know for sure but I get the feeling that if I was allowed to renew at all it would be on the basis that nobody else had requested it. So, since I bought the book I'm free to take as long as I want (I didn't plan to take four months that's just how long it turned out to be). Time limit is something that does deter me from borrowing from the library, I must admit. Who wants to hand back a book that they are in the middle of or renew on the basis that nobody else has requested it?
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