The book (buying) stops here…

January 15, 2010

I am a bookgeek, I’m a girl, and I’m giving up books.  Not reading them, now, just buying them.  For a limited period – perhaps a year?  Sounds a little ambitious to me, so I think I’ll take it in 3 month tranches and see how I go!  That may sound pathetically easy to you, but there are some complications:-

a) I’m a book addict

b) I work in a bookshop, and am expected to have a decent working knowledge of newly published books plus the backlist

c)  I help run a bookclub, and write notes for the meetings on my copy of the book, so I can’t borrow it from anyone

d) I live with a book addict

e) Books are my ultimate fallback for gifts – I’m really stuck for gift ideas without them!

f) I’m a book addict…

So what pushed me to taking this rather drastic step?  Two things.  A book (naturally).  My lack of space/money/time.  The book –  ‘Howards End is on the Landing’ by Susan Hill.  In it, she describes vividly her search one day for a book in her home; she searches through shelves, rooms, piles and stacks of books without finding it, but in the process realises just how many books she owns but has never read and really wants to, or rediscovers old treasures that deserve a reread…and I thought, apart from the amazing sounding house, that’s me!

I looked around at the tottering piles of books layering every horizontal – and sometimes in defiance of gravity, vertical – surface, and wondered how many of these books I had or would ever read…  How many were impulse buys, or bought because the cover looked pretty/interesting/must-have in some way, shape or form, or they were super-cheap, or – well, you get the picture.  I’m earning a meagre wage, am running out of space and would like to have some cash to pay debts/day-to-day expenses/travel.  So the book stops here.

In fact, not only am I not adding to my store of books, I’m going to whittle down the amount I possess.  Again, sounds ridiculously simple, right?  Not so much – it feels like I’m abandoning my babies to a cruel, indifferent world!

The first wave of book-divestment isn’t so hard; we’re going to have what Americans call a yard sale in aid of Haiti next Friday at noon, so all the read-once-and-don’t-need-to-keep thrillers are being culled for that.  The majority of these were charity shop buys anyway (but are in good condition, if anyone wants to buy them!) and a decent of portion were the other resident book addicts anyway…but it’s a start.

Anyway, I hope to detail here my trials, tribulations and temptations as I struggle NOT to buy a book.  I promise you this will be a journey full of tears and laughter, thrills, spills and breathless excitement!  Eh, well no, I don’t.  Not at all.  But it may provide the heartless among you with some amusing moments, as you watch a bookgeek girl going cold turkey in a world full of books she really, really wants to buy.



  1. Oh lordy….you’re really doing it?
    All I can say is best of luck. And if you need more books for your book sale I probably have a hundred or so discardables…..*cough* at a conservative estimate.
    I promise not to tempt you with pretty books, awesome books, or so-bad-they’re-entertaining books for the next while.
    One question – does the use of three month tranches mean that you get to have the occasional binge, or are you setting limits to what you can buy during the gaps (Messrs Gaiman and Pratchett etc.)?
    And of course, I will loan you books should your tbr/tbr-r pile seem fallow at any point.

    • I think that, certainly to start with, the three month thing is like the AA motto, one day at a time; hopefully a year won’t seem so daunting when I break it down into smaller chunks. But yes, whenever Terry Pratchett publishes ‘I Shall Wear Midnight’, I’m buying it immediately!

  2. Fingers crossed K!!! a painful way ahead of ye tho….

    • I know, but I have to do something to curb my buying habits. When it gets to the stage that you can’t cross the floor because it’s littered with bags of books, something’s gotta give!

  3. ooohhh was the yardsale *this* friday, like today?? I missed it completely!! 😦 pufmuf!
    anyway, I hear you about the addiction, although mine is sort of under control recently. I’ve been really good with the not-buying thing. If I want to read a new book, I just borrow if off the shop. Easy peasy. No need to spend too much money;)

  4. Good luck, you can do it! Yes, you can, I have faith in your iron resolve in the face of boundless temptation.

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