Let’s Talk Bookish: Buying vs Borrowing Books

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @Book Nook Bits, and it’s where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! If you want to join in the bookish discussion fun, check out the May 2022 prompts!

Now without further ado… The topic asks us about:

How do you decide what books to borrow or buy?

Prompts: Do you buy a lot of books? Do you borrow books from a library, or from friends? What do you look out for in books you buy? Are there any book genres you typically buy more of? Do the types of books that you buy differ from the types of books you typically borrow? Do you prefer to borrow or to buy books?

DO *i* buy a lot of books?

Well… *side-eyes the small stack of books I just bought earlier today* Sometimes, I guess? Hah, who am I kidding! Yes, I buy pretty much 95% of my books. The other 5% are ARCs or books I borrow from Kindle Unlimited, which is the only platform I use to borrow books from. I don’t have access to a library where I’m from (Indonesia) and so if I want to read anything, whether it’s old or new, I have to buy it myself.


The only borrowing of books that I do these days is through my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Most of the books I read on KU are romance and since it’s a genre that I’ve been reading more of over the last two years, it’s been a really great resource for me since I tend to read pretty quickly. If I had to buy all of the books that I read through KU I very likely wouldn’t read half the number of books that I do and I would also be a very very poor panda! 🥲


I never actually thought about the differences in genres of the books I buy vs the books I borrow. As I mentioned, most of the books I read on KU are romances, so that’s obviously the main genre of the books I borrow. That doesn’t mean I don’t borrow other kinds of books—I’ve found a few indie fantasies and some graphic novels on KU but they’re not as common finds for me. This also doesn’t mean I don’t buy any romances because I still very much do and there have been times when I’ve loved a book I read on KU so much that I went and bought myself a copy! I think for the genre of eBook I buy the most, it’s still gonna be romance because it’s just harder to find physical copies locally and most of the time I don’t have the patience to wait for international shipping (especially not with the panini).

Now that I’ve thought about the genres, I’ve noticed that most of the books that I buy physical copies of are contemporary fiction or fantasy (usually YA). I try to buy at my local store as much as possible and these are the genres that are most commonly found in store. When I buy special editions they also tend to be fantasy (either YA/Adult) but I think that’s mostly because they’re the ones that are offered through the sub boxes that I know of.


As it is, I don’t really have much of a choice whether I borrow or buy a book! I think if I had access to a library I would definitely prefer borrowing books over buying them because I do spend a significant amount of money on books—and I realise this is very much a privilege because I don’t have any other adulting responsibilities aside from a few monthly bills! Again, it’s a choice to buy books because it’s not like I don’t have any reading material or an empty existing TBR… 🙃 But I think being able to borrow books would also help me be more discerning with the ones that I add to my shelves because then the books I choose to buy would be the ones I know I love, would probably re-read and I want to keep forever.

So, what about you friends? Do you mostly borrow or buy your books? Do you notice a difference in the books you buy vs borrow? Do you prefer to buy or borrow?