I haven’t been reading much recently. If you follow my Twitter, you might know that I had a rough weekend… But I’m crawling my way back out of my bed of sadness to my TBR. Shit happens, right?
I wanted to talk about the whole borrow v. owning books debate though. I read a really interesting post over @The Wolf and Books which got me thinking about the role of consumerism and peer pressure in book blogging.
I love this bookish community, and in the few months I’ve been blogging it’s been really good to me. I’ve had fascinating conversations, got some great book recommendations, and even connected personally with some awesome people. And this blog is a creative outlet for me, it’s a place where I get to be the most “me”, and not at all “me” – all at the same time. I suspect most book bloggers feel the same way…
But reading Vanessa’s post @The Wolf and Books, and watching the link she shared for @Read With Cindy’s booktube post (‘Why I Only Own 4 Books’) got me thinking… Does all of this have a dark side? Do people really feel compelled to spend money they don’t have, on books they may not even like, just to “keep up”? Do they think they won’t be accepted unless they always read the newest releases, and post pictures of them with floral arrangements on their Instagram? Do we really need to own our books, or could we be just as happy borrowing them from the library?
I love book shopping. In my opinion, book shops are one of life’s great pleasures. The smell of new books… Finding something that surprises you… Revisiting old favourites… Carrying a big pile of lovely, crisp new books with shiny covers home and setting them by my bed – the anticipation of opening them, cracking the spine, and diving into a new world… Can’t beat it!
And I’m unashamedly hoarding my books and alowly building my own library. I think a lot of us are… The Beauty and The Beast library ruined me for a responsible book-buying adulthood…
I’d be the first to admit, I spend way, way too much money on books! It’s an expensive hobby. Still, there are worse things you could spend your hard-earned money on, right? And I probably only read one or two new releases a month – if that. I don’t particularly care when a book came out, or whether everyone else is reading the same thing… I just like reading books! If it interests me, it ends up in the basket. And I don’t write this blog in order to be like everyone else, so I don’t really feel any pressure to read particular things or conform. It’s a social-thing, sure. But it’s more than that for me…
Having said that… I do think supporting our local libraries is important. And, if you never visit, then you aren’t supporting them. So maybe there’s a middle ground? I mean, do I “need” to own every book I read? Maybe I’m missing out, by being too lazy to go to the library (I have a sneaking suspicion I am)? And I can see that some younger, more impressionable, bloggers might feel they need to “fit in” and therefore feel the pressure to read new – I don’t think that’s right.
So, if you do feel that pressure, I suppose my answer would be: go take a look around this bookish community. Most of my favourite bloggers read a mix of new, secondhand, and library books. Many of their new releases are free ARCs. I can’t speak for bookstagram or booktube – maybe things are different over there? But I’ve yet to meet a reader who didn’t have full respect for a library hoard, or who cared about where a book came from and what date it came out. We’re all here for the books, not the popularity contest!
I guess my conclusion would be: Buy your books, that’s fine, but hey, maybe take a trip to the library as well every once in a while? – and promote it, because libraries matter. And I intend to take my own advice!