Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thursday:Why Buy?

This week’s BTT topic:
I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

Oh, my goodness – what a question! I suppose right here is where I insert the history of my life-long love affair with the written word, and pursuit of the book as object of desire.

OK, don’t worry – I’m not really going to do that.

Why do I buy books? I buy them in order to read them, of course. But I buy them in order to have them, too. I think it’s the repressed librarian in me – I just love the idea of books on shelves. My shelves. The promise and implied possibility that all those volumes represent. I guess that’s also at least part of the reason I have so much trouble getting rid of books.

Why don’t I borrow from the library? Well, at different points in my life I have been more of a library patron than I am now. I love libraries and I love borrowing books from libraries. Unfortunately, our local public library isn’t one of the best I’ve ever encountered. And at the moment I don’t have access to a university library. And since I’m lucky enough to be able to afford to buy books (for now, anyway – although that was not always the case), I’ve gotten used to indulging my book passion in bookstores instead.

And I guess that passion is just something that grew up with me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t own books, beginning with the cloth and board books I had as a tot. And I’m really hoping there will never come a time when I don’t own books. That’s a possibility that’s just too scary to entertain.

20 comments:

  1. "repressed librarian" - I can identify with that! I secretly yearn for the day when I can have one room in my home for books and then I can categorise them by genre and alphabetise them by author... Sad? I don't care! :D

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  2. I've worked in a library, so I'm no longer repressed. You know, those books get dusty! And, back in the days before air conditioning, they'd get moldy; I live in South Florida. So I don't keep so many. I do buy some, though and love them. Here's my answer:
    http://bookcritiques.blogspot.com/

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  3. Of course, why didn't I think of it - I buy books to read them! I used to borrow many more than I bought - I used to be a librarian. Now I buy more than I borrow and I love seeing them on the shelves and deciding which one to read next.

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  4. My librairans her in Blaenau are wonderful - more like friends. They order me books I want, share new finds with me, and are always cheerful and helpful. Not at all repressed! ;0)

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  5. It sounds like many of us have similar thoughts on the BTT this week!

    I can totally relate!

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  6. Your point about loving books on your shelves reminds me of their esthetic appeal. I didn't mention it in my answer, but it's true... There's just something about books on shelves, my shelves!

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  7. We have a small branch of a large library system close to us. I usually have to put a book on hold and have it delivered to our branch. More often than not, they come at a time that's not convenient for me, so I find it easier to buy the books I want.

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  8. It seems like we are split into two groups, the libraries and the book buyers. I mean most of us do both but we're split by what we do more. At least we all get along!

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  9. The library next to me is dinky small and has next to nothing, I do believe it has more audio books than anything aside from Children's books. But I LOVE to buy my books and "collect" them, of course reading them.

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  10. I know what you mean about being scared of the day when it's impossible to own books. *shiver*

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  11. I'm always buying books. I buy them because I want to have them, period. I like to maintain a history of my reading over the years. There are so many good literature out there that have been overlooked by readers that after the first, or second printing they will go out-of-print. I'm always buying and preserving what I enjoy reading.

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  12. My worst nightmare is losing my eyesight and not being able to read. I love my books and, I'm sorry to admit, they are all in alphabetical order by author, so I can find the book I'm looking for immediately:)

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  13. Books call to be possesed don't they. I hate giving them back to the library. Besides, we don't have a very great library system here either.

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  14. I agree with your sentiment about books. I've always had them and I will continue to own books. I do enjoy going to the library at times, but my books are my babies!

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  15. haha! I love to own books...books, books, books!

    It is so neat to own them.

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  16. I worked in the library in junior high and high school as an elective. I love the peaceful order of the shelves. My personal library is not so orderly, but someday it could be.

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  17. Living abroad gives me a good excuse to buy books, since there isn't much selection in the way of English books in the libraries. Bookstores are sometimes better stocked. When i'm a bit down, the thing that cheers me up most is to wander into a bookstore and buy a novel, even though i know i could get it cheaper online. My luggage tends to be weighed down with books whenever I return from a trip home or to the UK. Luckily, i have a sister who is a librarian as well as a quilter. She often sends me book and fabric care packages.

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  18. I have always loved books. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  19. Yes, I can't imagine a time when I don't own any books either! Scary is the right word...

    I have not been able to BTT lately and only managed the ABC list of favourite books

    I tagged you for it - hope you'd post your list!

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