I’m giving up on buying books.
He indicated in the recent update that this was the post he was most embarrassed by, but methinks he judges past-Matt too harshly (of course sometimes our past selves are just jerks).Personally, I don’t think the earlier post was embarrassing, and it made some good arguments. Well, at least arguments that I agree with ‘to some extent’. In my view, it is not necessary to buy *every* book you want to read. In the interests of cash, space, and marital harmony, I think being selective is a good thing.
So I approach my book acquisitions in categories:
- Books that I don’t need to own: This is the biggest category. I need to be selective, and if I can, I will avoid buying a book if I answer no to both these questions: Will I re-read it? and Do I feel I *should* buy it?. Many of these are classics – well known, well respected, well reviewed books, or alternatively they might be books that are a step or more outside my preferred genres and that I’m not willing to drop the cash on in case I don’t like it. I don’t feel any obligation to purchase these – indeed in regards the classics, I figure the author doesn’t need your cash (either being rich or dead). For these, I hit friends, relatives and libraries.Examples include Capote’s In Cold Blood, Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I put Harry Potter in this category too, as I’m sure JK will struggle on without my money.
- New/newish authors I want to support: As a wanna-be writer, I do feel a moral obligation to support other authors, particularly new authors. Where I find out about a book that I think I might be interested in, I look for reviews, then provided I see more of what I want to see, I will purchase that book to give the author a shot. It’s not really a gamble, as I research pretty thoroughly.Examples include Lauren Beukes The Shining Girls/Broken Monsters – a double pack purchase based on a brief review of Broken Monsters by Stephen King
- Collector-holism (or my name is KT and I have a problem): I admit it – I occasionally get obsessed and collect things. These things I am compelled to purchase, with very little reference to any of the logic I applied above. I have a plastic tub full of old role playing books (seriously full – I have no hope of lifting it) some of which have seen very little play (Dungeons and Dragons 3 & 3.5 ed and almost all the ‘Wraith the Oblivion’). I am collecting the Black Library Horus Heresy books, and have the entire Dark Tower series (including two copies of a book I bought twice, because the cover of the first one didn’t match the others I had). I’m not buying or reading any of the Game of Thrones Books until the whole series is finished, at which point I will just buy the lot as a boxed set (I love boxed sets).
These are the most troublesome category, and the most difficult to justify/control. I try to resist more than I used to, but its not always easy.
So how do you manage your book purchases? Are you are lover of second hand novels, or does the pristine binder of a newly printed tome hold more appeal? Do you still support your library (FYI – libraries are great for kids books and kids toys)? Do you have ‘go to’ authors that you simply must buy?
On a health related note, I think the fever is finally cracking, so I hope to get back to more creative activities tomorrow! I’m conscious that I’m falling behind on the Friday Fictioneers (it looks like a hell of a challenge this week)!