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The Sunday Salon: The End of My Summer Book Buying Hiatus!

The Sunday Salon.com A few months ago, I decided that I would go on a book buying hiatus for the summer. There were two small exceptions — if I visited a town with a bookstore, I could buy one book; if it was an independent bookstore, I could buy two books.

Since summer officially ended last week, I figured it was time for a final look at how I did on this little project (after doing a short update in July).

To the best of my knowledge, I bought five books that fell within my general “buy books from actual stores” guidelines:

  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  • The Passages of H.M. by Jay Parini
  • The Last Station by Jay Parini
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I bought eight books that fell into a gray area — ebooks and audio books. I get all of my ebooks from Barnes & Noble, since I read them on a Nook, and I get my audio books from Audible. Technically they’re online purchases, but it doesn’t really make much sense to buy them any other way.

That leaves the books that I definitely bought outside of my guidelines. I got three books from my library book sale, and bought the following books online over the summer:

  • Supergods by Grant Morrison
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • Everybody Was So Young by Amanda Vaill
  • Emus Loose in Egnar by Judy Muller

Unfortunately, I didn’t keep really good track books I bought with cash, which happened when I did some selling at Half Price Books, so this isn’t 100 percent accurate. But I think it’s safe to say that, in total, about 28 new books came into my possession over the summer (13 physical books, 15 electronic books). But I think it’s safe to say that, in total, about 20 new books came into my possession over the summer (12 physical books, eight electronic books). I wish I had done a better job keeping track of how many books I got rid of in a big purge I did before our move, and books that I picked up during my book trade ins, since I still don’t know if I had a net gain or net loss of books I own. But having the hiatus did prevent me from making impulse book purchases online, which was part of the goal.

Right now, I’m working on getting my entire library imported into LibraryThing, so I hope the next time I plan a book buying hiatus I’ll have a better system to keep track of books and how the hiatus is going. I think I should be able to get that project finished during the afternoon football games today — fingers crossed!

Happy Sunday, everyone!

P.S. If I get some time to read today, I’ll be grabbing either Future Perfect by Steven Johnson or All Gone by Alex Witchel. What are you reading today?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JenM September 23, 2012, 9:21 am

    Ha, you are braver than me. The best I’ve managed to do is put myself on a strict book budget. In two years, I’ve only gone over it in one or two months, although I do cheat a little because I don’t count the postage on books that I swap LOL.

    My problem is all of the free and bargain priced ebooks. My TBR pile of free books grows exponentially, and I rationalize that since they are free, they don’t count as purchases, right? Then, I don’t count swapped books since they are essentially one-for-one replacements. You can just imagine how big my TBR pile has gotten as a result of all of this. I’ve calculated that at my current reading rate, it would take me approx. 2 years to get through the pile. Kind of scary, so I try not to think about it that much…..

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:49 pm

      Free and bargain books are my weakness too. I always peruse sales and bargain bins… and inevitably buy some cheap books. I calculated my TBR shelves a one point — more than 2.5 years to finish them all!

  • Kathy Martin September 23, 2012, 9:38 am

    You did very well. I love using LibraryThing. I put my then current library into it in Feb. 2008. (Their CueCat scanner was invaluable to getting that process done and probably the best $15 I have ever spent.) Since then I have added each new book as I got it. It has really saved me from buying books twice. I also like the comment box so I can write down brief thoughts about each book. It is also another place where I can post the reviews I write for each book.

    Being able to keep track of my TBR pile is a bonus. I also get too many free books for my Kindle. My TBR would take me at least 7 years to get through if I stopped adding books today. Like JenM, I am happier not thinking about that.

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:50 pm

      I’ve been using a barcode scanner on my phone, and that’s been working pretty well — definitely easier than entering them manually! I’ve been trying to add books as they come in, which is working reasonably well.

      I think tracking the electronic books will be the trickiest thing.

  • bermudaonion(Kathy) September 23, 2012, 9:43 am

    I know better than to try a book buying ban. I think my LT account is pretty up to date, although I haven’t deleted books I’ve gotten rid of unread.

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:50 pm

      I had mixed success, but I think it was a good exercise in restraint. I move so much, I need to start cutting back!

  • Vasilly September 23, 2012, 9:56 am

    I still think you did a great job. I plan on putting myself on a book-buying/library-borrowing ban starting in October and lasting for the rest of the year. My house is stuffed with books and I don’t have any more room! 🙂 Fingers crossed that you’ll get your LibraryThing account updated today.

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:51 pm

      Good luck with that! I’m considering some type of restriction for the end of the year, but I haven’t decided what it will be yet. I did just go on a bit of a binge of online book buying… but I deserved it!

  • Trisha September 23, 2012, 10:58 am

    Not having the time to browse, shop, or read has helped me tremendously with not buying books. 🙂 Congrats on doing not too shabby with your hiatus.

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:52 pm

      I bet it would, although I’m not sure having a baby is quite the solution I am looking for 🙂

  • Jenny September 23, 2012, 4:06 pm

    I love being able to keep track of my books in LibraryThing. It’s pleasant adding new books to it, and it feels amazing when I’ve just done a purge and I can go through and take them out of LibraryThing. I really feel I’ve accomplished something when I’m deleting books from my LibraryThing catalogue.

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:52 pm

      I hope to get to that sense of accomplishment soon! I got all of my books except the ones on my “review books” shelf added… that project was just a little too daunting yesterday.

  • Lu September 23, 2012, 6:44 pm

    I really need to keep track of everything that comes into my apartment. I’m not sure I’m strong enough for a book buying ban, but I’ve been thinking about doing a books in/books out method. For every book I buy or get in the mail, a book has to leave the apartment, either passing it on or selling it. For a book in, I’ll get a negative point. For a book out a positive point. Then I’ll always want to be at 0 or a positive number. I don’t know if it will be too complicated, but might be easier than a buying ban. At least then if I have a surplus of books out I don’t have to feel too bad about indulging 🙂

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:54 pm

      That’s exactly the idea I’ve been toying with, except for maybe a few exceptions. I was thinking add positive point for books coming in, and a negative point for both finishing a book from my shelves and a point for books I get rid of (which would encourage both getting rid of books I don’t want to keep and reading my own books). I have to contemplate a little more, but I agree — something like that should be easier then a ban 🙂

  • Diane@BibliophilebytheSea September 23, 2012, 6:45 pm

    Congrats on your summer book-buyer hiatus. I always say I’m not too bad, but most likely only fool myself:)

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:54 pm

      I think being “bad” is really a matter of perspective 🙂 The boyfriend would likely not be impressed with these stats, but I thought it was pretty impressive!

  • Susan September 23, 2012, 7:38 pm

    You did really well! I am trying to slow down my book-buying now as Christmas approaches, and put what I really want into my box for the tree.

    I don’t use LIbrary Thing as much as I should, and i find sometimes now I can remember what I am missing, despite my numerous lists! lol

    Enjoy being able to buy books again!

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:55 pm

      That’s a good idea. I bet I will end up with books or book money for the holidays. My family knows me so well 🙂

  • David Abrams September 24, 2012, 5:04 am

    I’m on that same kind of buying kick–grabbing at least one new book each time I visit an independent bookstore in the next two months. My latest pick was “Every Love Story is a Ghost Story,” the new biography of David Foster Wallace by D. T. Max.

    As for what I’m reading right now: “Telegraph Avenue” by Michael Chabon on my Kindle. And, in physical books: an advance copy of “Too Bright to Hear, Too Loud to See” by Juliann Garey. It comes out in December and I highly recommend it.

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:56 pm

      Buying from bookstores makes me feel a little virtuous — I’m using money to support my values! I’m really curious about that biography, so I can’t wait to hear what you think.

      I have Telegraph Avenue, but I haven’t started it yet. I’ll look into the Garey book as well, thanks!

  • Nikki September 24, 2012, 3:35 pm

    Not too shabby. Your bookstore buys are all books I’ve loved and read and want to read, so congrats on being a discerning shopper there.

    I have to be too careful with audio/e-books. They’re so easy to buy and blip there they are ready to go. Not fair at all.

    I’m listening to The Stand by Stephen King (still) and reading Shine, Shine, Shine by Lydia Netzer. I’m making up excuses for doing chores now so I can listen to the audiobook!

    • Kim September 24, 2012, 7:58 pm

      I do think I did a good job at the stores. Going in each time, I had an idea of what I wanted and was excited to buy it. And yes… ebooks and audio books are SO EASY to just buy instantaneously. I do have an Audible subscription and am pretty good about waiting on credits, so that’s good.

  • Care September 25, 2012, 8:00 am

    By the way, I read The Gospel According to Fix. He totally missed the Ryan for VP, huh? kind of shocked. But he did inspire me to try and figure out how I could run a super PAC. sigh, if only…

    • Kim September 26, 2012, 6:02 pm

      Yeah, that was one big miss 🙂 Super PACs are a little evil, but apparently the only way to get things done. Did you like the book?