Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Is A Long-Term Book Buying Ban Right For You?

If you're anything like me, then you have no self-control when it comes to books. You hop online to order one book and end up ordering seven because they're on sale. Six of those books sit on your shelf for a year until you have time to read them. If you do that often enough, you'll find yourself facing the problem that I'm trying to solve today. Too many books and too little time!

I have become less of a bookworm and more of a book hoarder. There are currently 87 unread books sitting on my shelf (and floor, to be honest) because I don't have time to read them. I've never owned that many unread books before. According to my spreadsheet, a new book stays on my shelf for an average of 10 months before I read it. I could get pregnant and grow an entire human faster than I can read a book! That's because I work 50+ hours a week and have a family. Whenever I try to read, I fall asleep after a few pages. Unfortunately, books have been put on the back burner of my life.

Anyone who spends 5 minutes with a child can relate to this unnecessarily time-consuming nonsense.

I've been considering a long-term book buying ban. No new books until I finish the ones on my shelf. At my current rate of reading, it'll take me 1.45 years to read 87 books. That's a really long time! The thought is a little bit horrifying. I don't know if I have the strength to do it.

Maybe it's time for a pros and cons list:

Is A Long-Term Book Buying Ban A Stupid Idea?

No, It's A Good Idea

1. No more books on the floor. I love books, but do I really want random stacks of them on my bedroom floor? No. I ran out of shelf space. And I ran out of space to put more shelves. After I read the books, I can sell or donate them. No more floor books to trip over in the middle of the night.

2. Someday I'll be able to keep up with my shifting interests. The subjects I want to learn about sometimes change faster than I can read. If I don't read a book right away, I'll start losing interest in it. If I have fewer books on my shelves, I'll be able to finish them while I'm still interested in the topic.

3. More money for other stuff. I spent around $400 on books in the first 8 months of 2022. No regrets, but I can easily find other ways to spend $400.

4. I can finally read all the books I've been meaning to read. How many times have I heard someone raving about a book and said, "I own that one, but I haven't read it yet." Now I can read it!

5. I won't feel like a consumer culture robot. I'm usually good at only buying things I need. I don't spend money impulsively. I don't have a lot of clutter. I use the majority of the stuff I own. The only thing I hoard is books. I feel guilty about buying books and then not touching them for months. Hoarding doesn't fit with my personality.

6. I love a challenge. Honestly, I'm curious about how long I can go without buying a book.

Yeah, It's A Stupid Idea

1. Buying books makes me happy. I don't want to be a consumer robot who impulsively buys stuff because I've been programed to think I need it, but I can't deny that book mail makes me happy. I love opening boxes and seeing all my new stories.

2. What's the point of a book buying ban? Books don't have an expiration date. I have the rest of my life to read them. What's wrong with hoarding them now and reading them when I'm 80 years old?

3. I'll miss out on deals. I love used books, and I can't resist a good sale. What if I find a book I want for a low price? I won't be able to buy it! What if I can't find it again at a price I can afford?

4. I like having choices. It's fun to look at my overflowing bookshelf (and book floor) and chose what I want to read next. There's a book for every season and mood. If I want to participate in a readathon, there's almost always a book on my shelf that will fit the prompts. It's kind of awesome. My bedroom is basically a library.

5. I want to support the book industry. If you want books to exist (and I do), then somebody has to pay for them. I never regret spending money on books.

6. This is all a massive first-world problem. Who cares if I buy books (or don't). Why am I spending so much time stressing about it? I should just be happy that I have the ability to buy and hoard books. #YOLO, right?

Here's my decision: I'm going to attempt the long-term ban. Place your bets on how long it'll last.

Have you ever attempted a book buying ban? How'd it go?


  1. After all the pros and cons, I laughed so hard at #6. It's a first world problem so YOLO. Bahaha! I tend to be anti-book ban (for myself) because why not. I'm not a struggling 20-something who's choosing between books and rent. I don't have expensive hobbies. With Covid it's not not I'm spending $$ on travel. And if I don't read a book for six months after I buy it, who cares? No one has to know but me and I'll give myself a pass. But good luck with the ban! ;-)

  2. I feel like I've tried doing a book buying ban, but I always find a way to justify a purchase anyway (like I preordered something months ago). I figure I use my library a ton, so I actually probably don't spend too too much on books, although with Henry now that seems to have gone out the window!

  3. Wow! Ten months before you read it. I am not a big buyer of book. I take a lot out of the library though. Between my library and ARCs, I have more than enough reading.I believe in you, that you have the power to resist buying new books.

  4. I don't buy many physical books anymore, but I do buy ebooks and audiobooks, and since they are "hidden" I don't notice how many I have!

  5. I tried it and failed. But, as you pointed out in your list, there is no real "failing" since both arguments are sound. You could limit yourself to one book a month (or every 6 weeks) or say you can't buy until there are no more books on the floor. I couldn't go cold turkey!

  6. I don't do book bans to be honest and I think I have over 200 unread books ... And I'm not ashamed lolll!

  7. I'm on a semi-book buying ban. I am trying to not buy any books and if I do succumb to the temptation of a sale I can only buy one book for every two already owned books read this year. That way I'm still reducing the pile and don't feel like a failure and give up when I do buy something.

  8. 87 unread books is not bad. That far better then me. There no way a long term book buying ban is going to work for me. To help get rid of books I started a feature on my blog where I look at books I read and own and write about why I should keep the book or not.

  9. If I went on a ban and couldn't buy a new book until I read everything I already own, I would probably never be able to buy another book. Ever. I am paying for most of my daughter's wedding in 2 weeks so I have slowed down on the book buying but I don't see myself ever completely stopping. Books make me happy! Good luck with your ban!

  10. I am completely the wrong person to ask about book buying. I rarely buy books, I use libraries, though I often return books unread or, in the case of e-books, the books just check themselves back in when they are due without me finishing them. I actually think I'm less likely to read a book I own than ones I check out. I guess the due date does drive me on to try to finish books. Hmm. Interesting.

    When my kids were young I too had trouble finishing print books. I was just too tired at night after the house was quiet to be able to read more than a few pages a night. I started listening to audiobooks driving to and from work. It became my passion. I've passed on that passion to my daughters. Now all three of us prefer to "read" our books through our ears.

    Best of luck figuring out a solution that works for you.

    My discussion topic this month is about blogging and comments. Please join in the discussion.

  11. So AJ I have to admit that I was IMPRESSED that you "only" take 10 months to read a book. My average, if I ever dared do it, is likely more like years- perhaps even decades. It is BAD bad. I finally read Station Eleven, bwhaha, so that should tell you something. In fact, this month marks the first time all YEAR that I have read a book I bought. Which... it's bad, frankly. Though I do buy fewer books than I used to- but still too many, considering I usually read fewer than 10 per year that I buy. (ARCs, while wonderful, are also the kryptonite to my bookshelves.) But a ban doesn't work for me- if anything, it makes me want to buy them MORE, since they are "off limits". I vote that you will cave by Christmas, because of those End of the Year 50% off sales 😂

  12. Funny I should come across this post now as I will be attempting my first ever book buying ban for the month of October after going a little bananas in September 😅 Hopefully that will give me enough time to think of some good habits I can implement for the rest of the year!

  13. Oh gosh, I've had books I own for YEARS before I ever get to it. I am trying to read more of the books that I already own though. I've never done a book buying ban, and I'm not sure I'd want to do an official one because I can go awhile without buying new books. I hope yours goes well - or you at least clear out some space in your room!

    Lauren @ www.shootingstarsmag.net

  14. YES!! I really need to do this. I have a ton of unread books and there are just so many ways to get free books. (Little free Library, Kindle Free books, Netgalley, the Library). It just might not be the exact book i want, but it's something to read.

    Luna @ Mysteries by Moonlight