Why Buy? November 13, 2008
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?
Given the title of this blog, it's pretty obvious that I'm a big public library fan. They're so wonderful, I can barely believe they exist: a place where you can go and stay as long as you like, and in exchange for nothing more than a promise that you'll bring them back, take away all the books you can carry.
But sometimes I buy. I have a lot of books, actually. Whenever a favorite author comes out with a new book, that's usually a guaranteed purchase. It does happen, on occasion, that there's a book I really want to read but the library just doesn't have. I don't think any of Jen Lancaster's books are available in my library system, so I bought them. There's also the allure of a bargain: if I see a book that had interested me in the remainder section for $4, I'll usually pick it up.
Having books around makes me feel good. My parents used to tease me that I had "security books" instead of a security blanket. I rarely left the house without when when I was growing up, because you just never know. Even now, I usually bring a book when I'm going to someplace like the doctor or the car mechanic. It sucks to have to sit there and stare into space or read ten-year-old magazines, so I always bring a book. And in some situations, it's better to carry around a book that you own, like when you go to the beach, or if you want to take a bath. Owning books also guarantees you'll never be without something good to read, kind of like keeping a supply of canned goods in case there's a blizzard. If something happens and you can't get to the library, you don't want to get caught out.