Book Buying Habits

Quirky'sReadsI’ve seen a few posts on book buying habits (Tara put it well in my opinion! As did Jamie) and I figured I’d do the same.

To Purchase or Not To Purchase?

I’ve always been a bit weird when it comes to book buying. I think it’s due to the fact that growing up, I lived on a very small island that didn’t have a single darn bookstore. So this meant that whenever I wanted to buy something I had to beg my parents to purchase it online and save up my cash to give it to them (I didn’t have the credit card, they did) and then ship it to The Bahamas which involved hassling Customs and finding an International Mail service that had a US address and shipped to The Bahamas. You see how long and convoluted that sentence was? Ugh, just thinking about shipping books makes me cringe. This meant that on the odd chance I was in the USA, I spent all my money on books, which also meant that I had to choose the books very specifically. Trips to the USA were a golden opportunity and nothing sucks more knowing you had a chance to buy a good book and ended up with a rotten egg. So I developed an insanely complicated buying system that I still sorta use to this day. Now, I have student loans from my MSc and I have rent and support some family members so buying a book is still a luxury item (I might get to this into another post, as though books for me are like groceries, completely necessary to my vital existence, it’s still a luxury good).


Before I read anything I read nearly every review I can get my hand on. As a teen that meant looking at Amazon reviews on my parents computer. I also took whatever newspapers I could find and read reviews for stuff. Now, in the present day I do this but only really pay attention to reviews by friends with similar tastes or bloggers that I greatly respect.


Be it from a library (the one on my island was super good) or a friend, and I still use this method 95% of the time to this day, read the book and if I like it, buy it! If I don’t like it, well, I didn’t pay for it so OK. It’s entirely legal because the books are coming from bought sources so the writers still get their due and if I like it, they get extra love!

Cover Judging

This was more applicable when I was in the UK or made an odd trip to the USA, where if I was contemplating buying a book without previous research I judged that book hard by it’s cover. If the cover was up to snuff and the synopsis in the back seemed good, well, odds were if I could spare the cash it was bought. I so judge books by their covers.

Genre Affiliation

I’m such a creature of habit, whether at the library or Waterstones or Barnes and Nobles, I always make a beeline for my favourite genres. This means that if I’m feeling lucky and willing to gamble on a book there is a high chance that it’s a YA, Nonfiction or Fantasy book.

2015 Rules

I know this comes off a bit whiny, we’re all broke, I know, but I’ve developed an insane coping mechanism to slowly and steadily feed my book habit. I just bought 3 books the other day (Saga Volume 4 and A History of Color in Art are 2 of them! The other is a cookbook, a girl gotta eat right?). A few bloggers are on a book buying ban this year and I’m wondering if I should do the same? As it is my 2015 Book Buying will follow a few rules:

  1. Do not buy sequels, either buy the entire series (and only if you love it) or just find it in the library or with a friend (I want to move to the UK again so, series are highly impractical to lug around).
  2. Books to advance your career/knowledge and nonfiction are perfectly OK and do not need to be agonized over.
  3. Do not use your savings! If you don’t got it, wait.

How do you contemplate your purchases?



About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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18 Responses to Book Buying Habits

  1. jessmlamb says:

    It’s a serious concern! I’m attempting to do a no book buying year and it’s already brutal. I normally do the same thing you do–borrow it, read it, and if I love it buy it. I’m so light on shelf space that it’s hard to buy without knowing I love the book.

  2. I’m actually pretty good at not buying brand new books. When it comes to charity shops though, I tend to go in there with reckless abandon – I mean, £0.50 for a book that I’ve wanted for ages?? How can I say no?!

    Also, sorry for not commenting in FOREVER. Trying to get better with this blogging and studying malarkey ❤

  3. writersideup says:

    If I had money and more room, I’d still be buying more books. I’ve purchased many over the years. The variety is pretty wide, too. Picture books are my greatest weakness, though MG and YA novels are a close second. Many books I own due to finding them in the sales annex, too 🙂

    My TBR is way too long and my life will never allow for all the reading I want to do, whether the books are owned or borrowed. The realization of my dire lack of time, money and space has REALLY tamed my buying habits, for sure. Still, there are SOME I know I won’t resist! lol

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      Yah.. when you face the lack of time, money and space you learn to truly select what you want to spend your time and money on. Awwwe, you collect picture books? That’s brilliant. I think graphic novels are my new weakness as well.

  4. Pingback: Weekly Recap| Jan 10-17, 2015 | Oh, the Books!

  5. I’m really intrigued that you bought a book if you had already read it. Did you reread very often and so buying a book you know you love was a good reread investment? I don’t reread so if I had a limited book budget I think I would save it for books I really wanted to read but couldn’t get from the library ya know? I grew up with a bookstore quite accessible though so I’ve never had to really confront the idea of just not being able to access a wide selection of books all the time D:

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      I reread very often. I think of my library as my curated personality. To show someone my books is to lay my personality, hopes and wishes bare. So if I like it and I feel like it is a part of me, I get it. I also believe in supporting work so if I deem it good, I try to support who I can! I rarely do impulse buys… which included the ASOIAF series. .. I do that sometimes, if I liked book one or two, I’ll buy 3 without reading it.

  6. Dana says:

    I’m actually really good about not buying books. I dream of floor to ceiling shelves filled with books, but at the moment I probably own 20-30 physical books (this includes books for school). My parents have always emphasized careful spending even though we have enough money because they were both immigrants from Vietnam. I feed my reading habit by borrowing library books, downloading via Overdrive and buying bargain ebooks.

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      Yah I’m the same way. It’s good to learn how to use a budget though so things aren’t has difficult to figure out when you’re older. I appreciated that as a teen. I can’t wait till the day I can get whatever book I want though *_* Ultimate freedom!

  7. Nicole says:

    I love this post! (In a totally non-biased way). I buy a lot online and keep books in my shopping cart for LITERALLY, like, a month(??) before I convince myself it’s OKAY to buy them because, after all, I didn’t spend anything on clothes even though I budget for clothes spends monthly and I REALLY, REALLY needed new boots….hahahah :’)
    I am forever on edge about the fact that I don’t read fast enough and so don’t like buying new things to just sit pretty on my shelf waiting for me to get through the stuff I’ve been spending AAAGES getting through… And considering how little I re-read, I often feel like it’s a waste of money to buy something I might not love…

    I’m seriously considering doing the read 5 before I buy a new book thing (I know some people do read 10 before they can buy one, but that’s way extreme for a slow reader like me… I mean 5 is a struggle). Thing is, it’s not like the books are going anywhere. And I read soooooo few (…no?) contemporary titles so it’s not like I have to beware of other people reading them first and giving away spoilers or anything. Why not just wait? siigh.

    Oddly, I have found that compiling my TBR on Goodreads curbs my spending in a way. The more lists I can make, the less desperate I feel about having to buy the books before I forget about them. With a list, it’s always there for me to refer to and reassess and not feel worried about the fact that I don’t have it with me….Hard to explain. It’s similar to putting stuff in my shopping cart, though!

    • Claire (BWB) says:

      My amazon cart is like 23+ books deep and I slowly start deleting. I’m loathe to even spend gift cards because, what if I buy something I don’t like? THAT WAS A WASTE OF A GIFT CARD!

      • Nicole says:

        EXACTLY! You know the struggle. This is why I hoard gift cards until they’re almost expired and I’m forced to just choose something. But unless it’s a totally frickin’ MAGICAL experience, the loss of all that “potential” (the potential to buy one thing or another thing and choose objectively perfectly) always feels a bit like “this was great but…could I have chosen…even better???!!!? somehow???” hahah
        I’ve shaved down my TBR though: trying to make it easier when it comes to choosing.

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