Already Making Bookish Rules for the New Year

I’ve really got a lot out of setting goals with my reading these past two or three years since jumping into reading regularly. I can confidently say that I like goals, I enjoy a good list, ticking and crossing is fun, and challenges are a mixed bag in practice but, at the core, usually well-intentioned and often worth a try as there are usually some sort of gains at the end regardless. I say all this to remind myself that my first ever official book buying ban is going to be an exciting, fiscally responsible and fulfilling goal..

How am I planning to go about it? Well, I’m doing the basic “read 5 (books that I own right now*—so this does not include library books) before buying 1” thing.

*New books that I buy after reading 5 from my shelves also don’t count to the 5 required to buy another new one….Yeah, let’s make this more complicated than it needs to be.

I can still read library books in between, but I feel like the time between buying books is going to seem even further away doing that since the books I already own are the only ones that count…

I don’t mind the financial part of it too much and, honestly, that’s not huge incentive for me to try this ban. I don’t buy lots of books all the time and I don’t spend loads on them when I do since I mainly buy secondhand. However, I do get anxious knowing there are lots of unread books taking up space on my shelves.

How long will this madness go on!? Until I’ve crossed all 30 unread books on my shelf off my unread list!

After some careful calculations (of mainly simple division), I worked out that after getting through all 30 unread books on my shelves, I will (potentially) have six new books. Then I can read five of those and then buy one new book. Then I’ll only have two unread books on my shelves to read before I’m able to just read as I buy! (Hahah The impossible, unlikely, but forever-doable-seeming dream.)

° ° °

At the moment, it all feels super reasonable. But, like I said, this is the first time I’m giving a proper go at this. Have any of you seriously tried a self-imposed book buying ban? How did it go?

Do you have any tips for conducting a successful book buying ban?

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10 Responses to Already Making Bookish Rules for the New Year

  1. I love doing these kinds of plans. Started my massive TBR thread back in October

  2. Grace says:

    Good luck with your book-buying ban! I’ve never been successful with them before, mostly because the vast majority of books coming into my apartment these days are ARCS, and when I do buy books, it’s more because I’m supporting a store or organization that I love, so I try not to feel too bad about it. I do want to read more of the books that are currently on my shelf this year though, because I do get stressed out when I feel like I’m not reading them quickly enough.

    • Nicole says:

      Yeah it seems like it’s a careful balance of what works for you/you feel comfortable with as lots of people try book bans for different reasons and with different shelf situations and such. I rarely take on ARCs because I fear it’ll get out of control too quickly for me since I’m a slow reader, but a good bookshop definitely has a certain difficult-to-resist allure for me…! haha I don’t feel bad about buying the books so much as all the unread books freeloading in my house can start to feel oppressive. (“Why haven’t you read me yet!!??” I hear them screaming at me as I pass my shelves every day ;_; ). But we’re a week into January now and I can proudly say the last time I went to my bookshop I just had lunch at the café (which both (a) supports them still AND (b) still gets me more points on my loyalty card to spend later on……..books hahaha). And I’m only one owned-book away from being able to buy a new book! But I’m not gonna pretend it’s not a struggle!! hahaa

      • Grace says:

        I have the same struggle–especially since I just cleaned out my bookshelf and sorted the unread books to make them more obvious. I successfully didn’t buy books at B&N this weekend though, which took tons of self control. I wish I had so much more time for reading.

  3. Adan Ramie says:

    I tried something similar this year, but it didn’t go so well. No matter what we do, my wife and I just keep buying new (and used) books, and mostly ignoring the ones we already have. Good luck!

    • Nicole says:

      Aaah oh no! My changeable tastes lead me to do likewise…. But I’m gonna try to be strong!! >:| Hopefully I’ll make at least a small dent in the pile…!

  4. It seems like my to-read list does nothing but grow. The problem I run into is that I will add a book because at the time it sounds great. And when I go to look for a book to read, nothing really sounds that good. I wish you the best of luck because I am not sure I could do it!

    • Nicole says:

      Hahah yeah, when I’m thinking I’m not sure what to read, my first thing to do is ask/look for recommendations because the 200 odd books on my TBR list always feel like “…hmm meh not feeling like any of these right now..” But when I look for books to cull from it, even though I always find a few, mostly each one is like “Oh, but I can’t take that off the list, it sounds too interesting.” :’) haha
      It’s actually my physical shelf of books I’ve bought but which are still unread that I want to combat, though! They stand at around 30 books, so I think I have a shot at tackling that if I’m determined!?

  5. imyril says:

    I have been trying to get my unread list under control for about 5 years now. I feel like I haven’t really made a dent – although if I look strictly at the unread fiction books sat physically on the shelves (my original goal), half of them there now have been gifts in that period, so I’ve read more than I realise as the overall number of books to read has reduced. It’s still enough to keep me reading for a year if I didn’t pick up my Kindle or buy anything else.

    …if I factor in the unread books on my kindle, on the other hand… well, let’s not do that. ARCs have been my downfall this past year: I get them read, but it means I don’t get other things read!

    Maybe it’s time to start thinking about my 2017 goals…

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