In lieu of an Advance Excitement at a Glance post for November*, I wanted to discuss one particular book buying habit I’ve formed over the past few years. Some might say it’s an addiction, others a compulsion. I personally think it’s a product of working at a bookstore + a literary agency + blogging all happening roughly at once. Nice discounts, free ARCs, and the need to share enthusiasm with the world. Alexa talked about this before, how once she entered the blogging world her book-buying habits amped up.
Well, I’ve definitely noticed this issue in my own home. You know you have a problem when your TBR bookcase is starting to double-spine and double-stack. It’s like solving a really difficult Tetris puzzle when trying to cram one more newly acquired book on there.
There’s a word for that. “Tsundoku” is a Japanese word for books you buy but don’t read. I’d like to point out that I do read books off my TBR bookcase, but the number packed in there is roughly a book a day for about a year.
Why do I buy so many books?
Because the jackets promise greatness? I don’t know! I think a large part of my compulsive buying has to do with my knowledge of the industry. The whole “when you see it, buy it” philosophy in retail rings so true with bookstores. Unless it’s constantly selling as front- or mid-list, the majority of new releases will end up in back-list and have to be ordered online or from the warehouse. I don’t want to do that. Call me lazy, call me crazy, but I do not like waiting for books!
But why do I buy books when I know I don’t have the space for them? It’s not easy for me to part with books, read or unread. If I don’t enjoy a purchased book enough to keep it, I automatically donate it or resell it. The books I keep are ones I want to read again, books that meant something to me at a certain time in my life. They’re like photo albums: full of memories. So when an unread book is on my bookcase, I’ve already read enough reviews about it, read the jacket enough throughout the year to confirm my potential enjoyment, that I have difficulty weeding those out, too.
Why do I collect editions?
Many of you already know I collect Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and all the Austen novels. I’ve started collecting Kate Morton, The Night Circus, Laini Taylor, and Anne Blankman as well. When a book means something to me — I love the series, I enjoyed the writing, I read it at a time when I absolutely needed that book — I will look up other editions. If any of them are attractive, I tend to start buying them and creating lists. It just…happens.
Brontës and Austen are classics. They’re brilliant works of fiction, and each mean something to me that other classics do not. And because they’re classics, there are new editions from every publisher imaginable all the time! If I’m on the hunt for an excellent hardcover, a rare copy, a particular imprint, or a unique printing of one with illustrations, I will turn it into a game when I walk into bookstores (chain, used, rare, independent): which edition will I find today?
Recent publications with varying focus. Sometimes publishers have such different ideas on what the cover of a book should look like that I can’t help but agree with all of them. Night Circus is an excellent example of this. The hardcover and paperback US editions are different from one another, but still have that black, white, and red theme. Look at the covers around the world and they all carry that color scheme, but focus on different aspects of the story, while still using a paper-doll-esque look. It’s so intricate and exquisite! I want them all!
Harry Potter. Need I say more? There are so many cool editions from all over the world! My bank account would cry if I collected them all, so I mostly stick to US and UK editions of anniversary sets, cool covers, or neat illustrations.
What about galleys and completed copies?
My purchasing habit when it came to reading an eARC was rather simple: if I really enjoyed it, I would buy the physical copy when it came out. About half the eARCs I’ve read ended up on my bookcases. That’s a lot of hardcovers!
But what about physical ARCs? I came across this issue shortly after attending BEA. Several of the galleys weren’t in their final editing stages, so having the final copy would be great. But then again, the essence of the story is still there, galley or barcoded copy. Why not save money and keep the galley as is, start a collection of that (in a weird way)? Then again, support the author and buy the finished copy, right?
What do you do after you’ve read an ARC, galley or digital? Do you even buy the final edition at all? If you buy the final edition, do you wait another year or so for the paperback? Or, if you’re even more of a bargain hunter, do you wait to find it in a used bookstore or at a heavily discounted price? (Can you tell I’m trying to figure out what I should do with my galley ARCs? *wink*)
What do you do?
How do you make your purchasing decisions? Do we share similar buying habits? Are our thought processes similar or vastly different? Leave a comment and share your thoughts! Part of me wants to know I’m not the only one, and part of me wants to fling myself into another’s method to form a new
and healthier purchasing habit!
*In case you were interested, I’m looking forward to the publication of Da Vinci’s Tiger, Dangerous Lies, and Until We Meet Again. Have you read these? Which books are you looking forward to in November?