February 27, 2015

On the Acquisition of Books

As you probably know by now, Hannah & I teamed up this year for The Picky Pledge. It's our fun pet project to help us hold each other accountable for the books we acquire this year (review or purchase), since we have towering TBR piles that we do want to read! It's really been working so far, and I'm looking forward to see how much my reading stats are impacted by this change in attitude.

The pledge has encouraged me to reflect on my book acquiring habits. As inspired by Hannah's post, I'm going to be sharing thoughts on this part of my bookish life today. To simplify, I decided to divide the habits into three sections- before blogging, because of blogging, and post-Picky Pledge.


1. I bought a book whenever I finished a book. I loved reading, and I loved books, but it never occurred to me to actually stockpile a to-read group of novels. I was always content to simply be focused on my current read; I'd look for the next one when I finished it.

2. I bought books in series one at a time. I never really thought about series binging before since, as mentioned, I didn't mind immersing myself deeply in my current read before picking up the next one. Plus, it honestly never bothered me to have to wait between books.

3. I would peruse all the shelves and table displays and look for books that interested me. Apart from grabbing books by authors I loved, I would also spend ample amounts of time ogling books on the shelf at the bookstore. I'd usually allow myself to choose one or two with an interesting title, cover or summary.

4. I never looked at reviews. When my parents bought me books, they'd check out reviews. But me? I'd simply base it on my gut feeling based on a cover, title or summary.

5. I would keep every single book I ever bought. I legitimately kept all the books I purchased, whether or not I wound up enjoying them as much as I'd hoped I would. My library in my childhood home grew really fast because I had so many books.


1. I bought books even before I finished my current ones. I did a complete 180 when it came to acquiring books - I just needed more, more, more options. Honestly, I'll tell y'all that this is when my book buying habits went out of control and I just kept growing my to-read pile.

2. I started reading reviews. The main reason I started buying more books is because I started reading reviews (and writing them)! I'd often buy things based on a friend's review or recommendation, which did not help whittle down the TBR pile at all.

3. I started receiving books for review. It began innocently enough with access to a couple of great titles on NetGalley. But as time went by, and I formed stronger ties with some publishing industry professionals, I started getting a solid amount of books for review. And then, there's BEA...

4. I would cull my bookshelves every so often. It was really a matter of lack of space that inspired my regular culling of my shelves. In all three places I've lived, I didn't have all that much space for books, so I culled every few months... though I mostly got rid of ARCs I'd read already, or books I'd read and didn't love, and not a thing off of my TBR pile.


1. I started "shopping my shelves". While I haven't gone cold turkey on the book buying at all, I've started becoming fond of perusing the books I already own to pick out what I'm going to read next. It's really helped me get through a bunch of titles that have been on my TBR for a while and prevented me from buying more books to add to that pile.

2. My use of the library has gotten out of control. The last time I checked, I had 23 books on hold. Twenty-three, y'all. That is a lot of books. I used the library on and off over the past few years, but now, the library has become sort of like a bookstore to me. It's basically where I go "shopping" for new books to read (as if I didn't have plenty of my own).

3. I'm pickier about what I buy and what I request or accept or review. Honestly, this is definitely a most welcome change! I really take the time to consider different factors (how much I want to read a book, general public opinion, subject matter, author's other books, etc) before I pick up a new book (request or purchase). It helps that I can rely on my tried & trusted crew too!

4. I cull like crazy. I'm basically ruthless about culling these days. When I finish an ARC, I already immediately search for a new home for it. If I finish a book and don't really love it, then I find it a new home or sell it. I have seriously decided it's important to curate my shelves well, and this has affected the amount of books that I really do wind up keeping.

There you have it, y'all, a little insight into how my acquisition of books has changed in the past five years alone. It's really interesting to see that I've gained some great new habits, but also a few I would like to work harder on changing. Now, it's your turn to tell me - Have your book acquiring habits changed? Any tips or tricks to help you keep yourself in check?

This was posted as part of The Picky Pledge.


  1. I have so many similarities from the before and because sections of this post. My only difference is that my dad was vice president of a major book company for 37 years so my TBR pile was ALWAYS overflowing. He would bring home a catalog every few weeks and I would pick out new books and then he'd bring home a giant box of books for my mom, brother and I every Friday. It was like a weekly Christmas!

  2. Lena @ Addicted 2 NovelsFebruary 27, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    Our twin bond is strong. I, too, use to buy a book once I finished one and needed something else to read. The amount of books I owe but haven't read would put Amazon to shame. But darn it, my bookshelves look fabulous! ;)

  3. I am so glad my library holds aren't that crazy (but they are close!)

  4. Culling is such a great idea, but something I find so hard to bring myself to do. I'm such a hoarder.

  5. I can get pretty greedy when it comes to buying new books, but lately I've been trying very hard to only purchase books that I will likely love (and want to keep on my shelves). Everything else comes straight from the library!

  6. Love this idea! Books are pretty freakishly expensive, especially imported English books, here in Brazil. Because I've moved so many times in the past few years, I haven't been able to keep a lot of books around. Now, I only buy books if they are very beautifully designed. Otherwise I get ebooks from Netgalley or the library. Veerrrryyyy rarely will I buy an ebook from Amazon. If I had tons of physical books around, I would try to keep them unless I really didn't like reading it. I want to make a rainbow bookshelf as a house decoration!

  7. Awesome post!
    Before blogging.. I was a weird and shy teenager.
    Now that I'm blogging I am a obsessed compulsive reader and I have a problem but who cares? :P

  8. Wow. What a great reflection. It hadn't occurred to me just how different my book-buying habit became after blogging. I've always been a reader, like you, and reading one book at a time (unless one was for fun and the others for school). But then I began blogging, and then I worked (still work) in a bookstore (with an amazing discount), and it's...intense.

    I'll have to do some reflection. Maybe even participate in the Picky Pledge with you and Hannah.


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