Saturday, October 9, 2010

GULP - Is There A Book Buying Ban In My Future?

Ok promise not to laugh but I've had some pretty serious conversations with myself this week that's left me feeling queasy and looking for the nearest brown paper bag to breath in. I love reading. I love the way that I can pick up a book and be pulled into an amazing story where I don't have to worry about all the different responsibilities I have. I can take that much needed breather and relax so as my life has become more and more stressful, books have become a vital part of maintaining my sanity. I share this only because this week I was putting away my recently bought books and found myself completely overwhelmed by just how crazy my book buying has become. Looking back over the last year especially, it's pretty obvious I've developed the habit of "Belinda you're stressed? Go buy a book" and I finally had to admit that maybe I need to do something about that. I took a quick look today and estimated that I could stop buying books and still have enough to read to last me another year. To me that's just crazy and so as much as it causes me anxiety (I'm finding it hard to breath as I type this) I think I need to have an intervention. (click on title)

While looking on Twitter and visiting other blog sites, I've seen others talk about being part of a self imposed book ban for a variety of different reasons. I remember thinking "Good gosh you'll never catch me doing that *click on purchase as I buy another book on Amazon*" but now I think  it may be the answer to my problem. So how the heck am I going to do this without passing out with withdrawals? I think I may have an idea.
I've tried dieting on and off for years. If you're like me, there's that one temptation that is fine to eat in little bits but eating it in moderation is impossible. So when you go on a diet, you vow you'll give it up and go cold turkey, using sheer will power to break the habit. You do fine for a while but soon you start getting the cravings and start thinking more and more about it until you find yourself binging hard, diet be damned. Next thing guilt comes beating down on you, whispering that you're a failure and that you should just give up. With the taste of temptation still in your system, you agree and the diet's abandoned until you jump back on those scales and can't ignore the extra pounds. Back you go through the vicious cycle and honestly it gets exhausting. I heard the advice given to those caught in this dieting trap that instead of completely cutting the temptation out, learn to use moderation and use it as a small treat. This way you still meet that need but also honor your goal to diet. Judging by the shakes and heart palpitations I feel thinking I need to book ban myself, I think I may need to apply that principle here and look at my options. Whatever I decide to do, I'm looking at the time frame of a month because isn't that how long it takes to break a habit? So here's what I've come up with:

1. A complete book buying ban for a month - This would be the painful cold turkey option for me that I think will reduce me to a blithering idiot. *chuckles as I write this because I just realized I'm talking about books here* I know I could do this but my fear is I also know the very second that month is over, EVERY book I saw that month will instantly be bought and to me that just defeats the purpose.

2. A limited book budget for a month - I was actually doing this for a while. My hubby and I sat down and figured out a reasonable book allowance per week. This could very well be the answer so I conducted an experiment this week and it was pretty successful but I know myself - I'm the Queen of Justification. It won't take long before I'll be making excuses why I NEED that extra few dollars to buy a book and how I couldn't possibly be expected to choose.

3. Pre pick what I'll buy each month - There are alot of really cool books due to be released that I know I'd want to buy and that are the HAVE TO HAVES that will be read the second I get them. If I look at what's coming out that month and decide ahead of time, hopefully it'll stop all the impulse buying I do and prevent the never ending pile of unread books I have from growing. Thing is, what about those spur of the moment finds? LOL I hate having to choose.

4. Sell / Swap already read books - I think this option makes me just as sick as the complete ban one. The idea of getting rid of my books isn't appealing in the least but my thought is I can put them on PaperbackSwap or take them to Bookmans. I've done this before in the past as a way to get rid of doubles and books I didn't like. Thing is I like all the books I have now and have no doubles so if I do this, it'll be with cherished books. Am I really prepared to do this?

5. Screw the intervention and BUY BUY BUY - Oh this is so tempting but even I have to admit an intervention is needed so I'm going to flick the little book buying devil off my shoulder and try not to listen to it. Ugh this is desperately the option I want to choose. *takes a deep breath and refocuses*

I know how crazy this whole post is and even I'm laughing at myself but I really think it's something I need to do and this is what I've come up with. So this is the part of the intervention where I need some help from you guys. Has anyone else had similar experiences they feel comfortable in sharing and of how they dealt with it? Is there another option I haven't thought of that you think might help? I appreciate any advice you might have.

Happy reading !!


Kate said...

Well what works for me is that I try to only buy books that I can't get from my library, and I have two branches near me so between the two libraries they normally have what I need. The other reason to buy a book is if it's already part of a series I'm reading. The final reason I'll buy something is if the hold list at the library is ridiculously long, but again my library is pretty good about ordering multiple copies so I don't have to wait very long for those new releases. I'm always quite happy with myself when I read a ton of library books and think about all the money I've saved by not buying them. As of right now my unread books total to 31 (including three books that are on order from B & N). I'm doing my best to not buy anything else until I've read those 31 books. Best of luck! I understand the temptation to buy a lot. I love Half-Price and always stock up when I go there. :-)

Kate @ Literary Explorations

Tiger Holland said...

Bless you for trying! In my case, the only thing that has slowed down my extreme book-buying addiction is having a bunch of books I /have/ to read for review. If I have ten must-review books in a stack, it makes me focus on them instead of on going out and getting fresh ones. Most of my books come from ARC tours and they have deadlines, which is even better for making me attend to the task at hand. :-)

Misha1989 said...

I totally sympathize with you. I have no self-control too. I end up buying books every week! Right now I have 75 books yet to be read and yet I don't stop.

TheBookishSnob said...

You guys don't know how much it mean that you replied. I was so worried people would look at me like I was crazy !! Who ever heard of a book lover complaining about buying books right?


See I thought of that too (didn't put it on my list though)Problem is I live in an itty bitty town and my library is a little sad :( Due to budget cuts, they tried charging a fee to borrow books (it was like $50+), they cut back hours and sadly, they stopped the interlibrary loans. I kinda figured they don't have the money anymore to get new books but I'm going to go look on Monday (if the libraries opened) You never know right?


That's a good thought. I do have books that HAVE to be read first for reviews. My problem is I just add the bought book to the end LOL


I am so embarrassed to say but my TBR pile stands in the hundreds. It's why I need to get my book buying under control. I see a book I like and I buy it, regardless of how long it'll sit on my shelf. I have a book I bought a year and a half ago that's still sitting on the shelf :( *sigh* I really don't have good impulse control either.

Thanks for your advice guys :)

Pris said...

You are not alone. My TBR pile is also in the hundreds. I, however, do not (think) I have a book buying problem anymore. I haven't bought a book in months!! This is, firstly, because we don't have extra cash handy. But mostly, because I just AVOID bookstores (real or internet!). I even avoid the library! If you don't hear about new books, how can you buy them? One day you will see them, and buy them, and read them... but hopefully you will have bought enough time to get through a few (hundred?) books off your shelf! Also, I can not stand the thought of getting rid of any of my books... hence I try to satisfy myself with them!
There is one problem with this system... I still borrow books from friends... so my TBR list is not getting smaller much faster, but at least I am saving money!
This may not help... but good luck anyway!!!
See a bookstore? WALK ON BY!!!! :)

Bookangel said...

My local library is very limited, so I don't even bother any more. I'm like you, I could stop buying right and have plenty to read for the next year. I try not to buy when I don't have the money. But if there is a sale (like last week on B&N) it is a little hard to resist. I have a bigger review pile as well, so it's been I awhile since a read a book from my personal pile. One day I'm going to get ahead! said...

I feel for ya... I had to go with the almost completely cold turkey ban... I only buy books that I absolutely cannot get in any other way or that will be read by more than one family member...
My tbr pile has shrunk and I've started reading more arcs online at and actively pursuing contests for books i want...

Jamie @ The Book Junkie's Bookshelf said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog on Friday!

I've done cold turkey book bans and I found once I started reading books that really held my interest I didn't really miss buying books. I did a book buying ban for the months of July and August and in those 2 months I only broke my ban for 1 book. I consider that pretty good in my book.

I have also taken to adding my books to goodreads swap and bookmooch in an effort to lower my numbers. So far I've been doing really well. I've taken the attitude of "if it didn't rock my socks off" it needs to find a new home. Cause the way I see it if I get rid of some of my books I will eventually have room to add new "rocked my socks off" books to my shelves.

My TBR pile isn't even a pile...It's a mountain. I have an overflowing bookcase and an under the bed box full of books....Plus books just lying around in piles. I've got a year+ worth of unread books that I've bought.

P.S. I'm following your blog now!

Rikki said...

Some girls did a Book buying ban in September and it worked quite well for most of us. You might want to have a look for #TBRmonth on twitter to see our posts.
Or have a look at Bella's blog (she hosted the event):

Evanne said...

Sympathies, since I switched to ebooks at least the groaning shelves don't show. :D

AngelGoneMad said...

I tend to borrow a lot of the books from my local library because I can't afford to go out buying all the series' that I want to and it's a great way to test-ride a book out before buying. I have read the Night Huntress novels by Jeaniene Frost via the Library and now I am getting them for my Christmas, so it means I know I like them and will re-read them at some point and now they will be in my collection as of Christmas Day (thanks to my lovely sister).

I tend to have a problem with impulsive buying also, especially if I am feeling down. I think at the time buying new books (or other pretty items) will make me feel better, well they do for a little while and then I mentally kick myself for doing it. For instance I told myself I would NOT buy Torment because by sister had Fallen and at some point she would be buying it so I could just borrow it from her, but hey ho I wasn't feeling too great last week and went into the shops and bought it. Now I have the book (yet to read) but now I have to get Fallen to complete the series collection..I coud have avoided doing this if I just had a little more patience.

As for how to overcome these problems that you (and I) are having, I think the best thing to do is to budget it weekly. I have told myself that I am to buy no more than 3 books a month. It has worked so far as I have books coming in from library and other books still to read so I am probably not going to buy any more books until at least November once I have caught up on everything I have at home (I don't think I will manage but I am willing to give it a try).

I like your idea of budgeting. I think it could work well for me and it seems by your IMMB that it worked for you this week. I think you should stick out the budgeting for a few weeks and see how it goes. If it's unberable then I think you need to look at another option (by kidnapping authors until their publishers swear the will send you free books each month) LOL!!

Honestly I don't think I can think of any other solutions except from what you have already thought of. They sort of cover all the bases. But if you come up with any more, would love to read about them.

Naomi aka Supernatural Bookworm said...

I am SO with you on this. Our reading habits are so huge that the wallet just can't keep up with them. I almost exclusively get my books from my library. On the downside, well, I am hardly ever reading new books, so I'm about 3+ months behind the blogging world. But I try not to let it bring me down! A good book's a good book, no matter how old it is. Your library might be tiny, but there could be some hidden treasures in there. I hope you do check it out. Either way, you are not alone! I'm glad you brought this up :)


Tyhada said...

Oh my, I don't think I could go an entire month without buying a book. I think it would drive me crazy!

Angela said...

One of the things I implemented (mostly because my TBR is pretty much out of control) is that for every 2 (or you could do more) books I read, I can buy one.

It's not helping a whole lot with all the free books I find for my Kindle, but at least I'm not paying for those!

I also try to budget. I look at what I desperately want, and let myself buy that on release day - no matter what (because let's face it, I'm going to anyways). But everything else goes onto my 'to-buy' list on Goodreads. And I buy it when I can. Which is why I love the 'Waiting for Payday' meme...because that list just keeps getting longer and longer. LOL