Discussion: Buy Vs. Borrow

Posted May 13, 2014 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions / 8 Comments


As most voracious readers and book bloggers probably encounter, I’ve recently had to put a lot of thought into how to budget for books the past few years. As much as I’d love to purchase every book on my TBR list, the reality is that textbooks have had to come first for the last few years, and I honestly am starting to run out of room for storage and display of my beloved books despite several book purges over the past few months.

So my fellow readers, how do you deal with this dilemma?

I’ve definitely been utilizing my local library more, but it’s frustrating to know that I’ll have to wait several months to get my hands on new releases, and there’s a certain kind of heartbreak when you finish a book and end up loving it and have to return it instead of placing it back upon your own shelf with pride (this recently happened to me with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell). It’s a great way to test out new authors, but then there’s always the issue of your local library’s inventory. When I moved last year my new county library had a much different (and smaller) selection than what I was used too, and didn’t even carry anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout, which was frustrating since I was smack in the middle of the Lux series. I ended up buying the rest of the books of Amazon, but now I’m in the position where I have a lot of series where I’m missing the first book, because I had checked that one out from the library.

On the other end of the spectrum, my more frequent use of the library has led me to save some serious cash on some real lackluster books (A Beautiful Dark and Everneath come to mind). I recently found that Amazon seems to be dropping the prices on paperbacks and I purchased four YA paperbacks for an average of $5-6 each last week, which was pretty amazing and allowed me to buy some books by authors I haven’t tried yet.  But the books that I lean toward actually purchasing nowadays are part of series that I’ve already invested in previously and that I know I’ll enjoy (I know I’ll be picking up City of Heavenly Fire and Dreams of Gods and Monsters). I also know that in the blogging world the concept of “hauling” is very much a huge trend, which puts pressure on bloggers to buy books at a rapid rate so as not to fall behind. My new rule of thumb for purchasing has been re-readability, as I ask myself is this a book that I’ll want to revisit and reach for again? Yet this rule is hard for a stand-alone book or a first book in a series because I don’t know what I’m investing in initially (reviews can sometimes only guide you so far).

How do you budget for your books? Has making the switch to e-books saved you money? Are you still a frequent visitor of your local library? How do you compromise your love of reading with money, and how do you choose what to borrow vs. what to buy? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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8 responses to “Discussion: Buy Vs. Borrow

  1. There is so much pressure to keep buying books! I recently put myself on a book buying ban (which led to me buying more books than usual– weird), but it’s great to make use of your local library and sometimes they even have an inter-library loan program where they can send you books from other libraries!

    • Have you tried e-books from the library yet? A lot of libraries have started it as a new feature but I haven’t taken advantage of it yet and I wonder if it cuts down on wait times! There also never seems to really be a good time to stop buying books, because there’s constantly new releases, and it’s a struggle to try to determine which ones you can wait to read vs. which ones you need the day they come out! (I know I’ll need Winter from the Lunar Chronicles in my hands as soon as I possibly can, for example!)

  2. I completely agree about the Book Haul trend on blogs. I feel so much pressure to buy a bunch of books, but I just can’t afford it. i recently started going to the library again, and I’m liking that. However, I know what you mean about reading a book and then hating that you have to take it back to the library (Since You’ve Been Gone was one of my recent reads I wish I had bought – I’ll probably buy it in the future). I try to limit my buys to a few a month, though I do often go over that. It’s hard, at least for me, to try to tell myself “sorry, I know you want that book, but you can’t buy it.” I mean, I’m always reading; I know I’ll read it.
    Great post, Cristina!

    • Thank you! I’ve recently returned to the library system too and it’s been both a curse and a blessing! You make a great point, it’s hard not to justify buying when you know that you’ll read it. I find the library is helpful for trying out new authors, but then I feel almost double the guilt buying a book I already read at the library, so I try to wait until it’s at least a paperback and more affordable!

  3. I have to admit to loving owning a book, but I get really sad when I purchase one and end up hating it. I usually only purchase books I am either desperate to get my hands on and can’t wait for or books from authors I love, series I love or come highly recommended by people I trust. Wait… that’s a lie! I have a serious book buying problem. Worse still, I borrow books from my local library every week… but, in my defence, I work there so it’s harder to resist bringing them home. I think working in a library has actually saved me a lot of money, it saves me from buying books that I am not desperate for.

  4. I used to love going to the library, but most of the libraries near me have been closed due to budget cuts. 🙁 I do like ebooks as a cheaper alternative, however if I have the beginning of a series in actual books, I must have the rest of the series in actual books.

    • I agree, it’s agitating to have half the physical copie of the series and half the ebook copies! That’s so sad about your libraries! I depend on mine a lot to save money! 🙁

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