I’ve been doing quite a bit of book buying for the past year or so, and of course that got me thinking about the books I buy. Despite the fact that I now buy more books, my criteria for spending my money on a book have not changed. Even my “impulse” purchases are relatively thought out and carefully planned. So today I want to discuss some of the factors that I consider when I’m browsing for books to buy either online or in person. I also thought it would be fun to break down some of the numbers associated with the books I purchased or was gifted this year, since I actually kept track of all the details for the first time this year!
The Book Buying Process
In general, books have to go through a vetting process before I purchase them. I need to read the synopsis, look at some ratings, and check out content warnings before I buy most books. I’m not someone who goes into a book without knowing these factors. If the synopsis sounds good, then the book has passed the first test. If the average rating sounds reasonable, the book passes the second test. And if there are no content warnings that I’m concerned with, the book passes its final test. However, even after all that research, I may still decide not to buy the book. Sometimes that’s because I plan on getting the book from the library, other times it’s because while I’m interested in the book, I want to do even more detailed research before picking it up, and some times I honestly could not tell you what stops me, but I just don’t purchase the book.
Me when a book doesn’t pass one (or more) of my three tests
In 2021 there were some exceptions, where I tried branching out of my comfort zone by purchasing books that I was recommended that weren’t ones I would pick up on my own, but to be honest, I ended up unhauling practically every single one of those books without reading them. I just was not interested in picking the books up at any point during the year. Thankfully, I didn’t purchase too many of these sorts of books, but there were enough that it’s a category worth mentioning!
The 2021 Numbers
In 2021, I acquired 89 new books. When I first saw that number, I will admit, I was a bit horrified. For me, that’s quite a large number. It’s about 7 books a month, and while that number seems reasonable, I don’t even read seven books every month! And some of the books I read each month aren’t new purchases, but instead are from the library or have already been on my shelves for a while. And that’s not to mention how much money I must have spent this year on books! However, when I took a closer look, I realized that this number was a lot more reasonable for several reasons.
Books I Purchased:
Out of the 89 books, I only purchased 59 of them. That’s still a large number, but it’s a lot better than the full 89. In fact, it averages out to 5 books a month instead of 7 books a month. Additionally, the majority of the books I purchased were ones I desperately wanted, such as anticipated romances, or graphic novels I discovered that sounded cool. I also took advantage of sales and discounts when purchasing my books.
In terms of where I purchased my books, 27 of them were from Barnes & Noble, but coming close behind was Bookshop.org, with a total of 23 books. The other 9 were from a mixture of other stores including 3 indie bookstores in New York. I really want to keep tracking this statistic, and I hope to maybe branch out to buying books from more in person indie book stores in 2022!
Books I Was Gifted:
So if you’ve already done the math, you’ll have realized that a full 30 of the books I acquired were gifted to me in some way. Out of those 30, I received 15 from giveaways or publishers or were free in some way or another. I won quite a few giveaway over on Instagram lives that different authors hosted throughout the year, and I was sent quite a few books from Forever in 2021, which made this such a big number. The remaining 15 were from friends of family for my birthday or for other random moments of appreciation! I’m obviously so grateful for all of the books I was gifted, and I’m quite amazed at what a big number it is!
Books I Unhauled:
Now this category is one I find fascinating, because while I acquired 89 books, in the very same year I unhauled 26 of them! I already did an entire blog post about unhauling, so I’ll just say that these 26 didn’t make up the majority of my total unhaul in 2021, but it was probably a solid quarter of the books I unhauled this year. Interestingly, out of the 26 I unhauled, I had already read 16 of them, but felt they weren’t worth keeping. The 10 others that I unhauled were mostly the sort of impulse purchases I mentioned earlier that I just didn’t want on my TBR shelf going into 2022!
And there you have it! Those are my thoughts on what gets me to purchase books, and how that ended up translating into the books I bought, was gifted, and unhauled this year! Now I’d love to know about some of your book buying habits!