Recently my thoughts circled around the topic of buying books, the libary and everything that is connected to this. For the better of the last two/three years I mainly bought books. Sure, I went to the library to get books for my seminar paper, but books for my private use/joy – not so much. Why?
As a kid I loved going to the library and up until I was fifteen (I guess, maybe just thirteen, fourteen) I went to the library at least once or twice a month, got me some books and movies and enjoyed them. Some of them were so amazing, I wanted my own copy. Bookshopping usually was more like let’s go to the book store and look at all the books, maybe get one – if at all – and look for them at the library or wish for them. I did have a lot of books as a kid, but to be honest a lot of them were books with e.g. pictures of wolves and everything about them or copies of St. Clare’s that belonged to my mum before me, Warrior Cats and a series of books from the newspaper my parents read. So, I did not hoard books like crazy, but quite owned enough.
However, with watching booktube and stuff I got into the weird state of mind that I needed to own books. Beautiful ones without broken spines – so basically not books, but decoration for my shelves. And doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Why would I want to own a book not for the story but for it’s beauty? I am glad to say, that it wasn’t that extreme for me as I see it celebrated on YouTube. I do not have 100 books in my selves I haven’t read yet, I think it’s about 10 and most of them are actually books that belong(ed) to my family.
Nevertheless for a while I mainly got my books via amazon after finding a novel on BookTube or goodreads. New books which had I gotten them in store would not have been more expensive. And since I have a small bookstore with an online order service nearby I use that now in case I really want a book. So, I try to stay away from amazon for the most time, however I got to terms and even enjoy the look and feel of used books again. The more read it looks, the better, so I get some used books via amazon of betterworldbooks and those sites. I love annoting my books and I feel like this make them so much more personal. However for the longest time – and reason of this was booktube – I did not even want my books to have broken spines and I love the seeing where other people broke the spines of their books when I buy used books. Because, the thing is, I want to read books in the language they were written in and only a small part of the books I find interesting are by German authors. And even though the library has an English section it is not that big and for me it was difficult to find anything interesting. Still, I want to spend a few more hours in the library this summer and rediscover the lovely atmosphere and maybe find a good book.
The other thing I want to use more is the kindle – somewhat contradicting the paragraph above, but for one you get a lot of classic literature for free and it helps getting away from the idea of having to own each book. While I do not have the service to borrow books at the moment, it still saves some money if I want to read a book but do not neccessarily need to have it on my shelf. Looking back I would have preferred to have Ash and Ella Enchanted just on the e-reader. I’m not sure if that sounds stupid, but to me that’s less materialistic. Because it’s just about the story not how beautiful the book would look on my shelf and there at least 30% on my shelf that I do not actually need a physical copy of.
Still, I totally get the love for real books, I love the smell and the feel and everything about books. I got books after reading them in the library and then later buy them e.g. with Flavia de Luce I do plan on continuing to buy the series (even though I changed from German to English midway through). I do not own all the English books, but I think about getting the missing three (or four) used, because I’m pretty sure I will re-read them. I cannot count the times of how often I have read the first one in English and German (ten times is not unrealistic). But the thing is, I want to buy books again, because I see them at a bookstore and find them interesting, not because they are on my to-read list on goodreads. I try to remove books I do not find intersting anymore from this list, but it’s hard – even though I know I won’t ever read all the books on that list. Sure, the probability of me liking these books should actually be higher, because I read reviews from people I trust, but I have to say that is not neccessarily the case. For example with Frankenstein, I just found this book in Augsburg, decided to get it with no goodreads-inspiration and it is one of the best books I have ever read.
Now, I’m in this discord, I know by buying books I support authors, book shops, the industry of things I love so much (however I recently found out that authors do get their fair share if you get their book at the library – some of them get even more due to the library than from bookshop/amazon sales), but it is much more ecoconscious to go to the library – even though I don’t just throw books away, but sell them and buy old books, but shipping of course is no that good for mother nature either. Obviously, it’s also better money-wise and it is less materialistic. I mean, I do not use my books to show off, but I have this need to own them – and I feel like that is not that healthy. And it is really extreme on BookTube when you see how popular book hauls are and how many (often times unread) books a lot of YouTubers own.
That is especially intense with YA and of course makes me want to have at least some of the books – so many booktubers have tons and tons of beautiful book, not necessary good books, just beautiful ones. Then instead of actually talking about the contents, the books mainly get shown of in hauls and tags – and that is the reason that makes the viewers want to own books. Well, now that I strayed a bit away from Young Adult (I will still read Marissa Meyer, the last book of Alice in Zombieland and a few German authors) novels, I got rid of tons of books on my To Read List on goodreads, because to me most are just really repetitive and just not worth the time, if you know what I mean. I have nothing at all against YA and it’s readers, it is diverse for sure, but there are certain tropes and settings that get used way to often. I do not want to limit myself, I am pretty sure I will read a fairytale retelling with an interesting blurb every now and then, but I do not wish to make it my main reading material. Not that I did exclusively read Young Adult stuff, but I think it’s about 50-60 %, but thinking better the books that stayed in mind (positive/wanting to re-read) are 80-90 % non-YA, that makes me think.
Books turned into very materialistic objects in the last years, at least on a lot of BookTube/Bookstagram sites and I find this kind of sad, so I try at least for me, to make it more about the stories and the spontaneous interest in a book. What are your thoughts on book shopping and BookTube and were do you get your books?