The Book Buying Ban… Is Over!

For those of you who might be new to Savidge Reads, or those of you who might have forgotten (possibly because actually I didn’t mention it that much) for the whole of 2010 I put myself on a book buying ban. Why?  Well you would be right in wondering why as surely someone who loves books as much as I do shouldn’t be curbing their addiction. Yet with a really wonderful charity book shop down the road (which you have no idea how much I now miss) and more and more books coming in from publishers I felt that my TBR was going out of control and some books I had always meant to read were missing out. So how did I manage…?

Well if I am honest I actually managed really rather well I think. I will happily admit that the initial month or two, especially when January saw some marvellous book sales unlike this year, things were a little bit tough, March brought my birthday and saw a fresh stockpile of some I wanted but after that it really seemed to be quite easy. Though I did have to avoid book shops at all costs for about 5 months, seriously if I saw one I quite clearly veered away. Book group also proved trying as I couldn’t always get one (so thanks to a few members and a few publishers for there help, credit where credit is due) but there were some great benefits.

The biggest benefit was rediscovering the joys of the library. I don’t know why, especially as I used it so much as a child, in the last few years or so I had been a little snobby about the library. That is all officially blown out of the water now. Where could I go when I fancied an old classic? Where could I turn to if a few books on other blogs had really tickled my fancy and I was trying not to beg publishers? Where could I peruse the shelves and pick up books at random and pop them back spending a good hour lost in the endless possibilities of books? The library of course! In fact if it wasn’t for the last year I don’t think I would have been rushing to join my local one when I moved up north, me and the library are now the firmest of friends.

Another great thing it has taught me is that I need to read much more by whim and let my mind lead me rather than how cheap a book is in the charity shop, how lovely a new edition looks, how I kind of want that third book in the 3 for 2 and then I don’t read it. I could go on and on. It also taught me that books you don’t own have an impulse about them, this should be obvious I know, I would see/read about a book I didn’t have and desperately want it and then just go and buy it. Last year I learnt that there is an initial itch to read it as soon as you have read about it, however if you leave it a few days/weeks later you forget you really wanted it.

So when I finally allowed myself to wander around Waterstones and some second hand shops in town did I rush and buy everything I saw? Nope, not at all in fact I was most restrained. I had two books I’ve wanted for about four months yet have not seen in the library (I know I could order one in but you might as well buy cheap off Amazon or in a shop for the prize the libraries charge to reserve), one impulse charity buy, and two books I had already read but were a bargain…

‘The Man in the High Castle’ by Philip K. Dick is rather a left field choice in some ways as I don’t think I like sci-fi (and just like ‘coming of age tales’ I am often proved this isn’t the case) but I have been meaning to read his work for quite some time and this sounds like the most accessible for me, the idea of a world where the Nazi’s won the war petrifies me. ‘The Edwardians’ by Vita Sackville-West was a bargain in a lovely Virago edition, I know nothing about this it just sounds rather upper class society shenanigans which I quite fancy since ‘Downtown Abbey’. Edith Wharton’s ‘The House of Mirth’ is a classic I’ve been hankering to read for a while, I like a good femme fatale who might just fall from the heights she climbs. ‘Kafka on the Shore’ is a Murakami book that I lent out… and never got back and remains my favourite of his I have read so far, and Sophie Hannah’s ‘The Other Half Lives’ I have in hardback but its so blinking heavy I saw this for 50p and decision made. Is that a bit OCD, maybe that’s another post for the future?

So would I do it again, yeah – I think I would. I admit I am lucky as I got parcels from readers, publishers, family and friends but I did so much better than I thought I could, and didn’t break the book buying ban once. Me and my local library are now in love and its made me change my book binge habits for good I think!

24 Comments

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24 responses to “The Book Buying Ban… Is Over!

  1. I would like to restrict myself a little in the book buying department, but I couldn’t go without buying for a whole year. I don’t receive many books from publishers and the library here is expensive and doesn’t have that much choice (especially in English books). But, I am going to try. I hope you can keep up feeling a little restrained in bookshops. (it feels weird wishing that on anyone, restraint, but I think it fits).

    • I think the restraint is now slight engrained, I have been to several book shops and charity shops and I have hardly bought a thing, which is most unlike me. I just want to buy books that I really, really want. Not ones that I think I sort of want!

  2. A few years back I rediscovered my library, and it’s been a blissful affair ever since! There are many good libraries nearby but Providence is the best. Not only do they have everything someone of my reading taste could desire, but the characters there are hysterical. Forget going to a movie, go watch the action at the library!

    I really love Vita Sackville-West, yet haven’t read the Edwardians. I’ve heard great things about it though. And Downton Abbey?! I’m borderline obsessed!

    • I do love a blissful affair with a library!

      Downton Abbey is amazing isnt it, I am quite shocked that I haven’t bought it on DVD so that I can regularily relive the joy it brought. Vita Sackville West is a new to me author so I am looking forward to seeing how I fair with her in the future.

  3. Such a fascinating tale, Simon, and what willpower you exercised during the course of the year (book care packages or not)! I’m probably most happy to hear about your rediscovery of the joys of the library because, even though I work in one, it’s always so tempting for me to go buy the shiny new book I’ve just seen or heard about rather than to patiently wait to get a free but maybe dinged-up copy from the library. P.S. If other people have written entire books about their TBR year experiences, surely you could grace us with another post or two on the topic, couldn’t you? Sort of like a director’s cut of a movie? Please? Cheers!

    • Ooooh I didnt think people would want that interested in the book buying ban to be honest! I will have to go away and think about it and see if I can come up with some more.

      I am in love with libraries now to be honest, I don’t know why the relationship ended previously really.

  4. I can’t believe your library charges you to reserve a book. Our library doesn’t charge a cent. They’ll even mail you a note when your book is available. I felt guilty about them spending the stamp, so I reverted to opting for an e-mail message. I reserved many, many new books in 2010 that I wanted but couldn’t afford to buy.

  5. Well done on making it through the ban period Simon! I think I mentioned at the beginning of last year when you first told us about your self imposed ban that I would never have the will power to carry this out! I do agree with your comment about the initial desire to read/buy a particular book after first hearing about it dying down after a few days – I have found this myself and have to keep reminding myself not to jump in too quickly just because someone else has praised a certain book!

    • Probably the biggest thing I learnt, after loving my library once more, was that I do get super enthused and excited about a certain book when I hear all about it everywhere and then it dies down. Or I manage to get it, through many cunning means, and then didnt love it as much as I thought I would.

  6. Well done, Simon! It’s had a better effect on you than Project 24 had on me – I’m now buying armfuls of books again, as Sakura can attest from shopping with me yesterday! Although I did buy nine books for £9, so it wasn’t too bad.

    • Nowt wrong with running out and buying lots of books Simon lol. I didnt want anyone thinking my project was that I dont approve of mad buying, quite the opposite, I just was aware I was getting so many and buying so many I wasnt making a dent… its back to normal service now though… or a new service.

  7. gaskella

    Well done indeed! I’m doing a mini-BBB til the end of March, and am finding it easy so far – but then I’ve scarcely been near the shops so far – Amazon is harder … fingers crossed, but I know I couldn’t manage a whole year without a few care packages.

  8. Eva

    Wait: your library charges to reserve books? Like, put them on hold? That’s crazy!

    I’m on pretty much a perpetual book buying ban, but I’ve always been more of a library girl, so it works for me. 😉

  9. Wow a ban for a year! Not sure I could actually do that! Congrats on making it. I love The House of Mirth and The Edwardians. Such good reads.

    • It was tough to start with Willa but as it went on it became the norm. I had visions of me running to the nearest book shop and going mad but I was very reserved actually! Glad I have chosen two corkers.

  10. And another great part about the library is that if you choose to abandon a book, you just take it back. You are not left there staring at it and thinking “What now?” Congratulations on your model self-restraint. You are a better person than I in this regard. 🙂 I am simply hopeless. Like Richard, the shiny, pretty book calls my name too loudly. Happy reading! You have now inspired me to go buy a copy of The Edwardians.

    • Thats a very good thing about the library. Also if you get over the hype and find it languishes unread you can just take it back for another day and it doesnt clutter up valuable book space.

  11. Simon I’ve got to say The Man in the High Castle is in no way the most accessible book by Philip K Dick around. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it but if it is a bit hard to follow (baffled me a few years back) I’d suggest trying one of his book with a more crime/sci-fi mix (Do Androids Dream…).

    • Oh dear is it not? I bought it on the recommendation that it was, this could be interetsing hahaha. I am really looking forward to it. I am unsure if it will be the next read but its going to be read very soon.

  12. “Last year I learnt that there is an initial itch to read it as soon as you have read about it, however if you leave it a few days/weeks later you forget you really wanted it.” That is so true. I notice that the newer a book is on my shelf, the earlier it gets read. The older ones are pushed even further down the tbr pile. So I’m applying a semi-book-buying ban this year. I must read only from the tbr pile for a few months. I can buy but on a very minimum. In fact, I purchased my first one at a thrift shop today. I was holding about 6 books to check out, then checked myself and asked, which would I absolutely want to read right now? And so went home with only one. But of course that one has to wait till I’m done with the TBR Dare. Very well done last year, Simon! Enjoy your first purchase this year!

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