My name is Haley, otherwise known to you as Fangirl Fury, and I am a self-proclaimed book addict. Like most of my fellow book addicts, much of my free time is spent reading books and reading or watching content focused on literature. Like most of my fellow book addicts, Barnes and Noble is my happy place (also the place where my credit card feels most right at home). Like most of my fellow book addicts, I dream of owning a home with enough space to have a Beauty and the Beast-sized library. However, for me, it would most definitely take some time to fill up this library because of the fact that I don’t buy every single book that I read.
I understand that not every blogger buys all of the books they read either. Lately, especially over on Booktube, there’s been a larger push for everyone to take out books from their local libraries and participating in the services most libraries have to offer. Yet, one of the biggest “critiques” of the Booktube, bookstagram and other book blogging communities is how these communities contribute to what I refer to as “bookshelf envy”. For example, most Booktubers use their bookshelves as their backdrop in videos. For many viewers, including myself, we watch these videos featuring such beautiful and often enormous bookshelves filled with the latest YA releases. By the end of the vide, we wish for those bookshelves to become our own. I admit that almost all of the books on my main bookshelf are Booktube recommendations (in my and Booktube’s defense, these recommendations turned out to be some of my all-time favorite books/series). Thus, “bookshelf envy” tends to pressure some readers, like myself, into buying more and more books. For me, I fight off this pressure by reminding myself that I don’t need to buy every book in my to-be-read pile.
The first reason contributing to why I don’t buy every book I read is practicality. I own three bookcases with maybe enough space in my room to put in a fourth, which will likely happen in the future (my third bookcase was looking pretty roomy until I came home from Book Con with 18 books). As a reader who reads seventy or more books a year, I simply don’t have enough space to store every book I read. Attributing to my book practicality, I’m a college student, and not only am I a college student, but I’m a pretty close-to-broke college student. Call me a walking and talking (or is it blogging in this case?) meme, but I am a broke college student whose bank account isn’t large enough to support weekly shopping trips to the bookstore (my wallet and I have agreed to once-a-month trips if we’re behaving well). I’ve estimated that if I bought every book that I read, even online where books tend to be a bit cheaper than in stores, I’d easily be spending at least $80 a month that I don’t have right now. One day, I’d love to have a career where I could walk into Barnes and Noble without a care in the world.
With not buying every book I read comes the fact that I am lucky to have an incredible county library system. My library system allows me to easily go online and reserve a book and more often than not, have it in my hands within two days. I admit that my local branch is a bit slow with latest releases, but it only takes one extra click to get a book from another branch. While it seem contradictory to how I’m saying that I try not to buy a lot of books, I also love for the library for used book sales. My library typically holds day-long sales a few times a year, where you can go into a conference room with tables filled with books for less than a dollar each. The books are mostly donations alongside some books the branch is looking to take off their own shelves. Additionally, my library always has a table out everyday in the entryway with used books for sale—it’s how I acquired Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give you the Sun for fifty cents. A few weeks ago, I purchased six books for $1.25!!!
Lastly, I don’t purchase every book I read because like every reader, how will I know if I’ll enjoy a book if I haven’t read it yet? I know that sounds very obvious, but I admit to tailoring my TBR pile and the books that I do purchase to ones that I am 99% sure that I will enjoy. When it comes to books that I’m a bit skeptical about, what’s the point in buying them when I can almost always get them from the library? I know from time to time there will be books that I won’t enjoy and if I’m really not into a book that I’m reading, I am not afraid to DNF (did not finish) almost immediately. I never feel guilty about DNF’ing books that I borrow from the library, but I do feel some guilt when it comes to DNF’ing books that I bought because it feels like a waste of money to me.
By no means am I shaming readers or my fellow bloggers who buy all of their books. I wish I could buy every book I read, but for me, it’s currently not an option. Whether every book you read comes from the library or Barnes and Noble, it doesn’t matter how you immerse yourself in the reading world, as long as you’re enjoying the ride!