Why I’m Giving up (Buying) Books This Year

My bookshelves, set up nearly two years ago, missing a ton of books that have been added between now and then.


It’s not like I spend a ton of money on books. I buy them used, usually during mega $2 sales at my local favorite used bookstore. But it’s not necessarily about money. It’s kind of about money, but it’s also about possessions.

I love owning books, and I love owning all the books. But I know I have limitations when it comes to those admirations. I have a very small apartment that already houses four bookshelves. How much more strain can I put on them? Looking over at them now, not too much.

Also looking at them, I know there are books I haven’t picked up since I bought them, or re-arranged them, or re-arranged them again (I do this sometimes often).

If I could live in a big house with just my dog and my books and coffee and my bed, it would be (mostly) wonderful, but I know there are other things in my life I need, like room for living. And right now, I live in my teeny apartment with my wonderful family and I love that a lot. And I’d like to make sure I keep my other housemates loving it, too.

To do that, I’m taking a break from buying books. I’ll purge anything I can live without — I do this sometimes but the pile is always small. But I’ll also make space for other things. This will be hard because I tend to become attached to books: they’re part of me now. How hard will this purge be for me? I don’t know yet.

Do I sound like a hoarder yet?

At least I’ve recognized the problem. Isn’t that step one?

But I’m not giving up reading — who could imagine such a thing?! — I’ll be going through my shelves and reading what I haven’t read or heading to the library. Yes, those still exist.

For a few years I’ve used the Overdrive app to check out e-books and audiobooks from the Broward County Library, both on my phone and iPad. Last year most of the books I consumed were through these formats. I most definitely prefer holding one, but I still appreciate books in their various forms. There are still books I want to own, but I know that not owning them right now is okay, and I’ve accepted that. I’m cool with waiting. I will read what I have and check out those I don’t. Between those two methods, I have no doubt I’ll be making my Goodreads goal this year.

Along with the Overdrive app, I’ll be able to see if my library has a book I’m looking at in stock in various forms with the Library extension for Chrome. It’s already become immensely helpful in showing me if something I really want to read right now is actually there for me to consume.

I can’t turn away a book gift, and friends and family know I have my own wish list for just books. So if someone wants to, they can buy one for me. However, I think taking a break from hoarding all the books will make me realize how many wonderful ones I have with me already. I’m excited and nervous to take on this challenge.

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