Thursday, June 9, 2011

Booking through Thursday - Own or Borrow?

The question this week at Booking Through Thursday is "Do we prefer to own or borrow our books?" In detail:
All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them?
My personal preference is to own the books. Once I've read a book, the odds seem to be that I'll re-read it if I really like it. Most of Mercedes Lackey's books, for example are books I've read at least five times apiece (and for some of those, I borrowed them that many times from the library).

These days, I've taken to borrowing with an eye to later buying (perhaps when the book comes out in paperback, or when I can afford the book). And, only one book at a time. When I borrow more from the library, none of the books get read at all. When it's just the one book, it's likely to get read right away. Some of the most recent examples of books I've borrowed include: Lover Unleashed and Kings of the North.

The problem with liking to own the books I read is my habit of thinking "this looks good", or "that'll be useful one day (with history books)", but then I keep reading the new releases rather than the books on my unread books list (a scary 170+ books list). So, what's the solution?

My guess is, it's to just keep on buying books.


Amy said...

Great answer! I'm the same way, in which I like to own books. All the better for re-reading them! :)

Nice blog!

Anassa said...

That "all else being equal" throws a hiccup in my answer, so I think I'll ignore it. It's too hard teasing out the small apartment mentality from the other factors in my buying habits. ^^;

I borrow most of the books I read. I don't reread books very often, because I tend to remember plots for years and don't enjoy most books as much when I know what's going to happen. So the books I do own fall into four categories:

- Books That Are Awesome (for writing quality, awesomeness of the author, nostalgia, etc.; I'm trying to own the collected works of several writers)
- Books That Are Research (writing advice, writing reference, books related to the genres I write*)
- Books That Are Given (birthdays, Christmas, friends who didn't want them)
- Books That Are Whim (buzz books that show up too far from a gift date and aren't in the library, book sale books)

And of course there's crossover between categories. My birthday wishlists include books by awesome authors, whim books, and research books. Whim books turn out to be awesome books. Awesome books double as research books. So on and so forth.

I don't think my buying habits would change much if I had an infinitely large apartment and infinitely large budget, except that I'd then feel freer to own hardcovers of awesome books and buy more of the whim and research books that get recommended to me. But if I didn't like them, I'd still haul them to the used bookstore or give them away.

* I have several superhero novels which I wouldn't own except I'm writing a superhero novel and bought them for comparison purposes.

Unknown said...

That's for sure, Amy. Thanks for commenting.

Anassa, that's always the way, isn't it. At least a third of my collection is history books for the medieval novels I'd like to write one day - majoring in history will give you a nice start on that collection :)

Otherwise, my collection is more or less the same as yours, I think.

Thanks for commenting.

redhead said...

What a great discussion topic! most of my books are libraried. I typically have about three or four books out at once, and usually one gets renewed. If I really like something, I will buy a copy. My apartment is overflowing with books as it is, so I still have to cull the old stuff every so often.

Unknown said...

So do I, redhead. I'm working on a list now, in fact. Thanks for commenting.


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