Let’s Talk Bookish: Book Buying Bans – Yea or Nay?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! You can check out these pages for January 2022 prompts & a full list of the past prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

DO BOOK BUYING BANS WORK FOR YOU?

(SUGGESTED BY JILLIAN @ JILLIAN THE BOOKISH BUTTERFLY)
Prompts: The book community is full of consumerism. People want to not just read their favourite books, but own them as well. Sometimes this can get…a little out of hand. How do you control your spending/buying books you don’t have time to read? Does setting a book buying ban work for you? How long do you usually ban yourself for?

“Sometimes this can get…a little out of hand” 👀

I can still hear the echoes of the above phrase still ringing in my head, especially as I sit and contemplate how I’ve liberally indulged in book-buying since the start of 2022, which was literally 14 days ago. At this point, to say that I’ve been treating myself, might be an understatement and though I initially justified this splurge by saying that I really didn’t buy books last year, my brain has very conveniently blocked out all the eBooks I happily one-clicked because “out of sight, out of mind” and all that, right? 🤷🏻‍♀️

I will say though that despite all the one-clicking of eBooks, I am actually spending less on books than I was previously. When I first joined the book community, it was through bookstagram and I immediately jumped in on all the book-buying hype and my physical library grew immensely over a very short period of time; it was unsurprisingly unsustainable!

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!

When I was still buying books like it was going out of fashion, I did set bans several times and they were successful—I resisted temptation and I was pretty proud of myself for not buying all the books! The longest I ever set a ban was 5 months and even then I didn’t buy books. That said, the minute these bans ended, I’d look up the books that I catalogued for buying while I was banned, and I would start “treating” myself to a certain number of them for the length of time I was banned (i.e. 2-3 books for each month I was on the ban). 🙄 So, ultimately, it was pretty pointless? 😂

Learning OVER TIME

A combination of things have helped me stop buying books so often. First, I left bookstagram. I know it’s not the same experience for everyone, but since I stopped trolling the feeds looking at everyone’s gorgeous bookish pictures, I’ve also stopped feeling the overwhelming need to constantly buy all the books. Yes, I’m still tempted to buy books when I see people talk about them all over blogs and book Twitter, but there’s less urgency for me to get my hands on it/them—especially when I think about all the books that are still sitting unread on my physical and digital shelves.

For physical books: I’ve started to focus more on quality over quantity for my physical shelves but it’s not a hard rule! 😂 But as much as I’d love to keep adding more and more hardcovers/ paperbacks to my shelves, international shipping is so freaking expensive and even when it’s free, it often takes forever and a day to arrive! In the last year, I’ve mostly bought special editions of favourites and while they’re way more pricey than your average version, they’re so worth it!

For digital books: These days I do the most indulging with eBooks but I usually tend to wait for good deals before buying them. One trick I learned was to do semi-regular checks of my wishlist and sort them from lowest-to-highest price to see if any have good deals. I’m surprised by how many popular titles/anticipated releases I’ve bought for £0.99-£2.00 as a result (some of the more recent titles include: Iron Widow, Defy the Night and Raybearer)!

BOOK BUYING BAN: YEA OR NAY?

While I’m not opposed to book-buying bans, I’ve found through experimentation (and knowing myself, lol) that they ultimately don’t work for me. That said, my priorities have changed over the years and as much as I want to own every single book under the sun, I’m also very aware of all the books that are still sitting unread on my shelf and as I get older, the guilt over leaving them unread has started to hit me harder! 🤣 Plus, international shipping is painfully high and since I stopped working full-time, it’s been easier to refrain from indulging so often. So… It’s a NAY for me!

Do you set book buying bans for yourself? If you do, how long do you set them for and do they work for you? What’s the longest you’ve banned yourself? If you don’t, how do you control your book buying habits?

35 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish: Book Buying Bans – Yea or Nay?

  1. I tried them and always failed lol. I will say that I am like you where my buying has decreased over the years. I thought from the beginning it was about quantity but in reality I either haven’t read them yet or the ended up being a dud. Instead, when I see a book I am interested I add it to goodreads and will get to it later. I also see if my library has it. The library also helps with new releases. Although I do know that the library isn’t an option for everyone. I love having a wishlist on amazon as well! So many great deals! Now when it comes to my buying I just get a book box here and there depending on my interest in the book and it’s the same for special editions. I don’t go out of my way to read older books becoming special editions though because I don’t need the stress to get through them quickly, lol.

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    1. I think that’s definitely one of the greatest perks of having access to libraries! Getting to read all the books without breaking the bank to do it 😂 I know I would definitely utilise a library tons if I had access! This is why I love Kindle Unlimited, especially since I read so much romance. I can’t imagine how broke I’d be otherwise considering how quickly I devour them 🙈 I used to rely on book boxes for new books but I stopped last year and ended up mostly getting SEs, though I did snag an Illumicrate subscription this year so if it ends up being good I’ll most likely stop buying regular physical books … probably, lol!

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      1. Kindle Unlimited is great! I have a wishlist of books I can read on there but don’t have a sub for it since I’m trying to get through what I own. 🤣 I have two subs for boxes but only buy the months that I have read as an arc and loved or is an anticipated release. Of course, I do get some SE’s every once and while like that Winner’s Trilogy for my birthday!

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  2. I don’t do book buying bans. I try not to buy books I’m not going to read. I rarely buy physical books. I only have like 6 shelves, so if I buy a bunch of books I have to think about what other ones I’m getting rid of. I also weeded out my Kindle, so now I only buy ebooks if I know I will actually read them or can’t get them from my library. I started a wishlist for my eyes only on Amazon to keep track of those.

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    1. I really need to be more like you and only buy books I’m going to read. The thing is though I usually feel like I’m going to read a book not long after buying it but then… It just somehow slips away to get lost amongst the masses 🙈 I definitely need to do a clean up of my Kindle now that I’ve catalogued the books though. If only it wasn’t so time consuming and slow but I think I might get to it this year! 🙂

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      1. So Lenore at Celebrity Readers has a cool weekly feature she does called Down the TBR where she goes through her kindle each week and chooses whether books stay or go. Maybe you could do something fun like that to help motivate?

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      1. Jennifer: Yeah, don’t you miss traveling? I remember postponing a trip back in April 2020 and thing oh, we’ll just reschedule in a month or so. And we know how that worked out. Ha. Here’s to hoping travel will be an option sometime this year… and in the meantime there are books to buy! 🙂

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        1. Oh nooo! Worst timing 😦 Hopefully you’ll be able to go soon. I was in Mexico JUST before everything shut down. I was about a week away from being stuck outside the country. 😅 Very grateful for that because it kept me going as a last travel dose for a while. :/

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    1. YES! I mean, this is my energy most of the time but then I’ll feel a squiggle of guilt every now and then… Though that really never stops me from indulging in more books the next time I come across something I want (especially if it’s an eBook lol)! 😂

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  3. I love how you totally undid the ban by just getting them after. XD that’s like when I do a workout and then go “good job me, now I deserve some ice cream” 🤣 also I had literally never heard of a book buying ban until I saw them popping up in a lot of 2022 goals posts. I’m generally just not an impulsive buyer, so I’ve never really had the issue to lead me to thinking of a ban. I assume it works for some people?

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    1. HAHA, I know, I’m ridiculous! Which is why the ban didn’t end up working for me cos it might’ve stopped me at THAT specific moment but also, I like to indulge and FOMO? 😂 Bans do work for some people, especially in curbing down the # of books, even after they “lift” their self-imposed bans, but I mean, they still DO keep buying afterwards soo… 🤷🏻‍♀️

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    1. That’s great! I wish I was more of an adult in that sense cos I just… Tend to forget that I’ve set a budget and in the end, spend whatever I want anyway 😂 But it’s definitely toned down in the last two years…

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  4. I love this post, Dini! I tried book buying bans the past couple of years and, inevitably, it would end with me having an epically bad day and buying a ridiculously amount of books to make myself feel better 😅 And, once the seal was broken, that was it! But I’ve gotten to a point where the amount of unread books that I own has made the guilt outweigh my need for new stuff 😂😂

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    1. Haha, oh yeah, I definitely feel those epically bad days = indulging in book buying moments! I had my fair share of those too 😂 It certainly do be like that sometimes! But yeah, I’m at that place where the books I own are really starting to make me feel guilty because the majority of them are unread now (especially these freaking eBooks that are *so* easy to forget)! 🤣🙈

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  5. Great post, I have tried book bans many times in the past and they just never worked for me I feel I would buy more books during the ban than when I was allowing myself to buy books. I also 100% feel you with the kindle books I went through a period where it was just so easy to click and buy a book and not think about the money coming out of my account.

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    1. Omg, YES! It’s satisfying to know that I’m not alone in going a bit wild with book buying when the ban ends 😂 It ultimately ends up being pointless, even if you saved *some* money during a certain period of time! Also, yeah, buying eBooks can be pretty dangerous cos it’s so easy to put out of your mind when you don’t see the money leaving your account, you don’t have to pull out cash, you don’t have to enter a pin, it just quietly slips away as a book quietly enters your library…. Never to be seen again until you rediscover it one day 👀. HAHA

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  6. This made me smile! Yeah…. I’ve never tried to enforce a book buying ban on myself. I’m already very thrifty so I mostly buy used or on sale books. Except for those special editions or books by my favorite authors, of course! 😉 But I’m totally identifying with what you said about feeling more and more guilty about those books sitting unread on your shelves as you get older. I’m right there with you. Haha! Great post!

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    1. Ah, how I miss finding good sales or used books in charity shops! I really wish they had those here but with English books it’s generally more expensive so “sale” items sometimes end up being the same as regular prices had I bought it overseas (if that makes sense lol)! Special editions are currently my jam and while they’re definitely more damaging to my bank, they also come about less often so I don’t feel too bad about it! 😂 Thanks for engaging on this post, Dedra! I love to see what others think about these topics ❤️

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      1. Yeah… those special editions are hard to resist! When I recently ordered the special edition of The Scorpio Races, my husband was like, why do you have three copies of this book?? 😂😂 Non-bookish people just don’t understand!

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  7. I have stacks of books I have been trying to give away from when we used to go to book conventions. I don’t like clutter, so I don’t feel the need to buy a ton of books. Even ebooks. I only buy them when I can’t get them from my library, or if it’s a really good sale. In case you couldn’t tell, I don’t buy a lot of books, so, no ban needed. I don’t feel the guilt you mentioned about unread books, but that does enter my mind when I am thinking about one-clicking.

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    1. Ever since moving twice in one year and having to pack and unpack all my books with each move, I’m totally with you on not feeling the need to buy a ton of books! 😂 I also don’t like clutter and I’m actually in the process of figuring out where to sell some of the books in my unhaul pile that’s sitting next to me. I wish we had libraries here cos I know I definitely would use them a lot, especially if they have a good selection!

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  8. I have given up on that. No matter how hard I try, the next bookshop will call me in and then there are books that desperately want to come home with me. 😉

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    1. I’m pretty much at this same place as well! Sometimes it’s just really nice to indulge in buying books, especially now when there’s really not much else that I’m indulging in 😂

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  9. I’ve never had any kind of “ban” for myself. What I have done is tried REALLY hard to learn about what I like vs don’t and buy books based on that. Of course, there’s still always a chance you won’t like the story, but I read reviews and try to gauge the percentage of like vs dislike. I’m still learning, but it’s been helpful. I also don’t buy from Amazon anymore so it’s WAY easier not to add to my TBR. When I ordered from Amazon it was almost an “auto” buy thing since it was an easy “buy now” option. 🙂

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