Buy or borrow?
January 2, 2010 § 5 Comments
As I discussed a couple of days ago, I read a lot more last year than ever before. Reading this much for pleasure is a new thing for me, and I’m not sure how to balance the economics of it.
On the one hand, I love going to bookstores (or their websites) and buying new books. I love checking out bestsellers lists or highly publicized new books at places like Barnes & Noble. A good friend of mine runs a great website on bestsellers (please visit Erin’s sit here: http://bestsellers.about.com : it’s great, and she works really hard at having a really solid site) and she has lots of great insight into current fiction.
And, to be perfectly honest, I really like having books on my bookshelves. I like people looking and saying “Oh… The Brothers Karamazov. I’ve always wanted to read that.” (To which I’d reply, “Me too… I’ve tried 3 times, never come close to finishing.)
On the other hand, holy crap, books are expensive! (And when read quickly, expensive for not a long time of use.) For example, one of the books I read last week (Matthew Paul Turner’s Churched) was a Christmas present to myself. I bought it right before Christmas, and it got delivered to me on Christmas Eve. It was $13 bucks from Amazon. I read it in less than 24 hours from starting it. I loved the book, and am glad I bought it (mainly to support an author who I really like.) But, $13 for 24 hours of use? (Notice I didn’t say enjoyment.) Imagine how hard it would be to charge $13 for a movie you kept for 24 hours? (Please don’t get any ideas Redbox.)
The obvious solution is the library. But for some reason, every time I get a new book from the library, I get images of George Costanza and his flagged book. (And I might occasionally be guilty myself.) Something about library books seem… dirty.
So, what do you think? Is it frivolous to buy books (especially now when I don’t have a job)? Can pursuing reading ever be a bad way to spend money? Or is it ridiculous to pay for something that you can easily get for free (I have a library in my neighborhood)?
Please share your thoughts, and let me know if I’m the only person with the Costanza complex about books.