To Buy or Not to Buy...Books

This just in from Publisher’s Weekly:
According to a new survey from Bowker’s PubTrack, book buyers are cutting their book purchasing by a third this season and are tending to buy less expensive books when they do make a purchase. According to the survey released on Tuesday, Americans have reduced their book purchases by 34%, and 19% are either buying more used books or swapping books with others. Others are only buying books sold at a deep discount or waiting for hardbacks to come out in soft cover. Also, consumers are not buying books as an alternative form of entertainment, which is a direct contrast to the hope that they might.

I’ve massively cut down on my book buying since last year – ever since I discovered that my library system ROCKS. Yet, I do wonder sometimes if I should buy new releases as a sign of support for the industry, but it gets really expensive, and I’m not sure I’m going to love the books. Now, I’ve developed a system where I filter my book choices through the library, and if I like the book and figure I’ll read it again (which I usually do), then I’ll put it on my list to purchase. I’ve also decided that all the books – if I can help it – that I buy from now on will be in hardcover. I realized that I would have to do this after I had a conversation with my dad – who collects first editions – and was enlightened by the fact that soft covers only last about 40 years. I’m almost 30, and I’m going to want my library in my golden years. How upset will I be if my arthritic hands have to battle busted spines and splitting pages from years of sitting in my attic room? It’s really too much of a tragedy to contemplate, so I’m making the switch to hard covers. They have a longer shelf life.

What are your book buying habits?


  1. I'm here in Atlanta, too, and I think our library is terrific. I'm almost shamed I didn't join until last year--I always bought my books (usually used) through the Internet. I am also using the library to filter and find books for my "library," but I do still ask for books as gifts.

  2. Well, I was always a big library-goer. Except then that became less of an option so I started buying books (as cheap as I could get them). And then libraries became more of an option again so I was able to find a good balance.

    There are certain books I buy and certain books I don't. If I really like the author or the publisher (or occasionally, the publisher series), I might be more inclined to spend a few extra bucks. If it's just a random book I saw mentioned somewhere, recommended but not by someone I necessarily trust... library/lending it is. This has not changed, no matter how other people's book buying habits have.


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