Sunday, 6 June 2010

Book Buying Embargo

In the last month 76 books have come into my house. Let me repeat. 76 books. In a month. I'd love to say they've all been review copies, but they REALLY haven't. Nothing like. Most of these books I have brought myself. I've gleefully ignored all the hundreds and hundreds of books I already own as well - all those books I brought with every intention of reading.

As the ever-amusing Nevvie pointed out, I am showing great determination to crowd myself out of my own house! Books are piled on my coffee table. My conservatory is packed to the gills. I only have one room in the house with an absence of books - and I leave you to speculate as to the room!

So *deep breath* it all stops here.

My name is Amanda and I have a book-buying problem.

I am hereby declaring a book buying embargo. I will still gratefully receive any books that publishers see fit to send me. But I really have to stop buying books. My house will heave a sigh of relief. My bank manager will heave a bigger sigh of relief.

I am announcing here and now that I will not buy ANY books for SIX months. I will be making monthly update posts to let you know how I cope (cold sweats, the shakes, things like that...) My wishlist will be creeping onto my blog, in case any book fairy godmothers decide to donate books to me so that I don't have to buy them ;-)

Do any of you have a similar affliction? Do you want to join me on this journey? And I welcome any and all comments - even if you wish to just cackle with laughter at the idea of me actually stopping!


  1. I wish you the very best of luck (and no, that is not meant sarcastically). I have a huge book buying problem and I really should do a book buying ban myself, but I have a lot of trouble taking the actual step. I like your approach of doing monthly updates on how you're doing.

  2. Its moments like this that make me realise the future of Ebooks is one of enabling a consuming passion without the realisation that if you had physically owned those books you would have bent the space time continuum with their mass.

    I too am faced with this affliction and have resolved to use EBooks as much as possible ( I have failed as much as possible in this )

    But if neccesary I will help support you in this.

    First you need to try Patches. Just cut out some pages from your favourite books and stick them to your arm. The presence of print on your skin will help with the cravings. You might also want to try carrying a few ARCS around with your as well. These review copy books help with urges as you wean yourself off the desire to own more books and have the benefit of a lower cash investment hit.

    Other then that willpower is required but avoid buying more books on the topic of improving your willpower.

  3. You can do it Amanda! *waves pom poms and cheers* :D

    (*quietly makes bets under the table while you aren't looking* ;-)

  4. Good luck in this endeavor! Last summer, I embarked on a de-clutter mission. I emptied 1 large entertainment center & 1 bookcase. These were full of books & DVDs (whole 'nother story). I kept books of fav author or had special sentimental ties but that's it, maybe 20 or so). Half Price Books had a field day when I showed up. Anyway, I still can't go to that store or any other bookstore for that matter due to low self-control levels. The library has become my new friend. I technically pay for the things at the library anyway thru taxes so I might as well use them.

    I look forward to reading more of this blog. If the background picture on this blog is in your house, I am truly jealous and will say a little prayer for you. Oh my!

    Lori F aka @DooneyPug on Twitter

  5. Jesus, I didn't realise you had that many or I'd have tried to discourage you more (although I'd have felt slightly heartless, watching you head towards the first Waterstones with a gleam in your eye like a kid heading towards a sweetshop)... Yes, I think doing the database alongside the embargo is DEFINITELY a good idea.

    I dread to ask, but... is your loftspace converted? might that be a possible place to store some of the less travelled narratives?

  6. I tried it this year ... lasted 15 days :(

    I've just spent the last five hours sorting through every book in the house (well, tiny one bedroom flat shared by two people) ... At the moment I'm heartily sick of even the sight of books and I really need to get rid of some - but I've never got rid of a book and not regretted it!

    Good luck!

  7. Might have been wise to wait a week. Which is why I have put my name against 12th June in the pool. Alt.Fiction love. ;p

  8. Another vote for the library. I use it a ton now, and haven't bought a book (other than for my dissertation) in months.

  9. I can't go into a good bookstore without walking out with a book. Luckily there aren't that many Dutch bookstores that carry a decent selection of English-language books, especially not SFF (at least not in my town lol) so it's relatively easy to not buy books. Problem is, now I have a little 2-month old girl and she needs to be read to (need to start them young lol) so now I have to avoid the children's section too :D

    Good luck!! I hope you can make it, 6 months is a long time ;)

  10. I have a huge book buying problem as well. I am also going on a buying ban this summer... though I know a total ban would not work, so I'm letting myself get a new one for every 10 that I read off the shelves... it might work :S

    Good luck to you on yours!

  11. 過去的事早已消失,未來的事更渺不可知,只有現在是真實的 ..................................................

  12. Best of luck! I had been very, very good about not buying books for a while... and then recently relapsed and bought a handful. I am now back on library therapy. ;)~

  13. @irisonbooks - I just realised when I came home today and piled up my latest acquisitions, when I haven't read all those other books I brought in recent weeks, that it was out of hand! I expect as I go cold turkey that they will be hourly posts to celebrate the fact that I haven't yet brought anything ;-)

    @nik butler - Tres amusing :-). I'm glad to report I haven't yet been ordering willpower books from Amazon!

    @Neverwhere - If you wanna go halves on the proceeds of the bet, Nevvie, I can guarantee exactly when I'll break the book buying embargo :-p

    @Lori F - The blog background is indeed pictures of my bookcases. You can see some other delightful pictures here:

    @Dan (:-p) - Oh, I don't like the idea of putting books in the loft. As well as being terrified of spiders - seriously, they freak me out - I would be extra terrified of the weight on the boards causing the roof to fall in!

    @Rachel - thanks! Although it worries me that you only managed 15 days!

    @Adele - part of the reason I decided to do it now is because I know the potential amount I could have spent at Alt:Fiction! Plus, admitting it to you guys means I absolutely cannot break it there because of the jeering I would suffer ;-)

    @EmmaNadine - I really, really, really should use the library more. I have a card and everything! Mind you, I have that many books in the house that I have no need to get more from the library...

    @Mieneke - Six months really does feel like an enormously long time right now!

    @Amy - I am an all or nothing sort of person. If I allow myself just a little leeway I will end up buying loads. So I need a total ban to stick to it.

    @Jo - Yep, I'm sensing the library is definitely going to be suggested more than once over the next six months!

  14. Good luck, Amanda.
    New to your blog but I feel your pain! I showed my wife your post and said, "See, there are other like me out there!"


  15. I have that bug, and working in publishing only makes it worse. Is it bad that I clicked on your photo just to see what you bought and croon over your choices? :)

    The only way I've been able to curtail it is using the trusty library card, bumming books off of friends, and the aforementioned day job at one of the big publishing houses.

  16. Wow! That's courage and determination! I'm going to try and keep up with you for as long as I can.

    Can definitely relate with what you are going through. My biggest problem: I feel extremely guilty if I leave a bookstore without a book in hand. Even with a "to-read" pile inching close to 50, I can't help myself.

    I'm going to try and avoid bookstores altogether, but that may be difficult. I may need to start leaving my bank card at home. I don't think I'll resort to shoplifting just yet :)

  17. I too have a book-buying problem. Usually I get most of mine through thrift stores or cheap e-book sites if I'm lucky, and I think I have about 200-300 on the backlog right now that I'm going to have to get around to at some point. Being unemployed and broke for almost a year now has certainly helped to curb some of the impulse and help me start to get through the backlog, but I've still got a long way to go, and I'm lousy at self-control when I have money to burn and there are books that I want. (The latter is an almost constant state!)

    If I went on a total book-buying embargo, I don't think I'd have to rely on the library for a long time.

    I almost dread the day that my review blog gets big enough that more publishers start sending me review copies!

  18. Last year i decided to only buy books in a series that i was already reading until i had read all the books i owned and hadn't read...this year i still have most of those same books on my reading list. New books are just necessary!

  19. Thanks for the additional comments and the support!

    @Peter - it does actually help knowing that I'm not the only person to get stuck into this book buying spiral!

    @Christine - haha, I love pictures of books that other people post on their blogs and think about all the books they've got that I want! Your day job must seriously help ;-)

    @D-Man - Hell, I wish my TBR pile was 50 books, that would be positively slimline. Currently my TBR pile is around 2200 (and that is probably a conservative guess!)

    @Tea and Tomes - I'm lousy at self control, but last year I lost a whole ton of weight and managed to gain a little self-control where food is concerned, so I do know I have it within me to stick to this. I don't say it'll be easy though!

    @LizSara - new books are shiny and wonderful, but I have definitely been missing out by only reading the new stuff and not concentrating on some of those wonderful old books that I have on my shelves.

  20. This post made me chuckle, I think all book bloggers are the same! I try and stop myself but books always seem to end up in my Amazon basket!! Good luck with the embargo!

  21. I for sure have the same problem-the rule I made for myself is that I am not allowed to buy more books in a month than I read in the prior month and except for extreme cases no hard bound fiction

  22. If the problem is there are too many books at your home or an addiction, just not buying new ones is not enough, actually it's cheating. You have to give up review copies and other gifts too. Also, what would happen six months later (if you manage to keep your embargo)? Would you make up for the lost time?
    Maybe different rules would be more effective, like to get rid of an old book when you get a new one or to read ALL the books from the previous purchase before coming into a bookshop again.
    I try to buy only books I can't borrow from a library or really want to keep (not just read): mostly non-fiction, poetry and foreign language books.

  23. Well done for trying and good luck! I'm doing the same but as I'm extremely weak willed, I'm allowing myself to buy one book once I've read three from my TBR pile. I successfully stopped myself from buying Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which I found in a charity shop a few days ago. It was hard, and I still think about it, but I'm on my third book and once I've finished that, I'm going to treat myself.

  24. I'm glad to find someone else who has a book buying problem. I did manage to not buy a single book for 4 months! That took huge self control and then my self control completly crumbled. I think I might try that tactic of buying one book for every 10 read on the TBR pile might work for me.
    I'm desperate to whittle to my TBR pile down to 40 (or under) by year end out of 58.

  25. @Dot - I agree all book bloggers are the same! Since I started my blog I am buying way more books than I was buying beforehand - even taking into account the review copies I am being sent! Hanging around on other blogs really makes you want all the great books they are reading as well as your own.

    @Mel U - that might be a solution for me, but last month I read 11 books, so I would still be bringing so many books into the house!

    Lasitaja - I am still prepared to accept review copies because I believe the amount of books coming in would roughly equal the amount of books that I manage to read in a week/month so I break even and still get shiny books, which I think will actually help to stop me buying books. Works for me as a rule *shrug*

    @chasingbawa - Yesterday I went into Asda and automatically homed in on the bookshelves but managed to stop myself buying anything. I just always head for books in shops, and charity shops are the worst for me!

    @Jennifer - definitely a book buying problem over here. Only been doing this three days and it is beginning to chafe ;-)