Thursday, November 13, 2008

Booking Through Thrursday: Why Buy?

Booking Through Thursday's prompt for this week:

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?

There are a few reasons why I buy books, depending on the circumstances of the purchase.
  • I know I love it (or I'm reasonably sure I'll love it because of experience with the author, or a really good review or blurb). If I love a book, it's worth owning (assuming I can afford a copy). I want to have it available for re-reads. I'd be irritated if I had to make a special trip to the library (or satisfy myself with reading off the computer monitor) every time I wanted to read an old favorite. And what if it was already checked out, right when I needed to read it again? That would be unacceptable.
  • They are objets d'art. ;o) I sometimes enjoy just looking over my best-loved books, lined up neatly on their shelves. Even the tattered paperbacks I've had since middle school are collectibles, as far as I'm concerned, though I do tend to put the "pretty" books on display and keep the falling-apart ones on the lower shelves, behind closed doors. Not everyone appreciates the beauty of an old Bantam paperback the way I do.
  • They are souvenirs. (This reason ties in with the previous one.) They can be traditional souvenirs-- bought while on vacation-- or they can be souvenirs of periods of my life (adolescence, college) or even souvenirs of people or events. Looking at, touching, and smelling these books is a trip down memory lane. A library book just isn't the same for me.
  • I prefer to read my own copy. I like to feel free to read at my own pace, taking as much time as I like, stopping for days or weeks, then picking it back up again whenever I want. I don't like knowing that there's a deadline. Also, I just like the feeling that "this is mine" and knowing that I can write in it, take it wherever I like, and so on.
  • Sometimes buying is cheaper than the gas and time to go to the library. If I can get the book cheaply enough (at library sales, for instance), I'll take more of a gamble on unfamiliar titles or authors.
  • I can't (easily) get it at the library. This is actually an issue, sometimes.
And I think that about covers it. :o)