I love books. Always have. (When I was a kid, I went to the library during recess.) I love to browse books, read books, and (sadly) buy books.
My BetterWorldBooks account tells me that I bought $105.97 worth of books last year. Sounds low. I guess some of my books were purchased at Barnes & Noble and other bookstores. My estimate is that I spent at least $250 on books in 2009.
At one point , I realized that I was buying books faster than I could read them. Pretty ridiculous. So I put a rule in place that I could only buy new books when I had read all the books I already had. Then I rediscovered the library. I think it was when I was contemplating buying No Impact Man. It just felt hypocritical to buy this book. So I strolled over to the library (we’re lucky to have a public library across the street) to look for it. It felt like coming home! Why did I ever stop going to the library?
I decided not to buy any books for the remainder of the year. I am continuing with this resolution in 2010. So now when I find a book I want to read, I first check the library catalog online. If the library has the book, I put the book on my library list. Here is a sample of said list:
- The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating – Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon
- Take back your time: Fighting overwork and time poverty in America – John de Graaf
- Sustainable Planet: Solutions for the twenty-first century – Juliet Schor
- Born to buy: The commercialized child and the new consumer culture – Juliet Schor
- The not so big life: Making room for what really matters – Sarah Susanka
- Living the Simple Life – Elaine St. James
- American Mania – Peter Whybrow
- Dreaming Green – Lisa Sharkey
- Half the Sky – Nicholas Kristof
- The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
If the library doesn’t have the book in question, I add it to my BetterWorldBooks wish list, where it sits until somebody buys it for me (or I delete it because I lost interest). I have also started putting a few books/DVDs out on swaptree.com. I haven’t had any matches yet, but I need to put more items out there. This way I can also get rid of some of the books I don’t need anymore. This post on a minimalist approach to books helped me get over the hump as it relates to holding on to books. Books are for sharing!