It’s only recently that I learned to control my book buying impulse whenever I walk into a bookstore, so I thought of sharing some of the things I swear by to avoid regrets, unnecessary expenses, and book clutter! I also have a simple flowchart to follow that you can download and keep in your phone the next time you find yourself walking into a bookstore 😉
Not a Need, but a Desperate Want
Just gonna be 100% transparent here, books are not a need as far as living expenses are concerned. They’re great and all, but I can’t eat a book or wear it (no matter how hard I try). I learned this the hard way when I bought 30 books in a span of a month–averaging out at buying 1 book PER day–and felt so guilty about not reading them because I could’ve used it for food, clothes, or other things I could use at home.
Brand New vs Secondhand/Pre-loved Books
There’s nothing wrong with buying secondhand books! Sometimes you can get a title you want in good condition for more or less $2.
It depends on the country, but there are a lot of book thrift stores in the Philippines. Personally, I go to shops like Booksale, Bookay-Ukay, and Biblio more often than other stores. If you have a suki book thrift shop that you religiously go to, comment them below!
For those who are privileged enough to have nice and updated libraries, try the alternative of borrowing instead of buying.
The good ol’ barter system exists in the book community! Since ARCs cannot be sold (and here’s why), a lot of people trade them for other ARCs. The same can be done for FCs (finished copies or books that have already been published).
The only disadvantage I see in trading is the shipping costs. If you’re from the US, it is most likely very easy for you to trade ARCs and books. I’m not familiar with other countries such as the UK or Australia, but I can vouch for Asian bloggers at how difficult it is to trade books because of the international shipping costs. Even if we decide to trade locally, the selections aren’t that great to begin with due to geographical constraints.
So if you’re from the Philippines and looking to trade some books, you can check out my ISO and WL below! If you have nothing to trade, feel free to still comment here or DM me on Twitter because I’m clearing my shelves and might have the copy you want! 🙂
Paperbacks vs Hardcovers
Should you decide to buy a book, it’s great to compare prices and see which version would be best for your wallet (and your shelf). Paperbacks are usually 30-50% cheaper than hardcovers.
I also usually compare it to the other books I physically have if the one I plan to buy is part of an existing series. I like matching covers so if I have Book 1 in paperback, chances are I’ll buy Book 2 in the same format.
Books that I love are an automatic hardcover-buy for me, unless it’s in a series and the previous book I have is in paperback (case in point: my Shatter Me series collection; still waiting on that paperback of Restore Me!)
There are a certain number of books I would reread without hesitation, thus I wouldn’t hesitate or feel guilty about purchasing a physical copy (whether paperback or hardcover) because I know it’ll be worth my money! And let’s face it, it’s also very fulfilling to see your favorites sitting prettily on your bookshelf.
Entering Bookstores with a Mindset
I have sworn off impulse buying. I tend to regret impulse buys and feel guilty about it for days on end especially if I didn’t get around to reading it in the first place (or worse, reading it and disliking it.)
If I see a book I like but am unsure of, I take a picture of it, search it on Goodreads for some reviews when I get home, and sleep on it. If I can’t stop thinking about it for the next few days, I’ll put it on my To-Buy list for books. I normally keep a list of books I would prefer having physical copies of and it has saved my wallet from a lot of unnecessary expenses and clutter from my shelf!
If you found this post helpful and want to keep it handy, here are some easy preliminary questions to ask yourself before buying a book:
- Do I need a physical copy of it?
- Does it have to be brand new?
- Can it be thrifted or traded?
- Will I even read this book?
- Will I reread it in the next year?
Or better yet, here’s a flowchart you can download and save on your phone for future bookstore trips, spontaneous or no!
Do you have a book buying philosophy? What are they? Comment them below!