Discussion: Lexie’s Book Buying Ban

Accurate representation of how I expect my friends to behave if I try to buy a book this year

2017 is going to be the year I get my book habits under control. What does this mean exactly? Well its a little complicated, so venture forth and see if this is a plausible.

When I say “Book Buying Ban” I don’t mean I’m going to stop buying books completely. That is the path to darkness, insanity and depression for me. Buying books – and organizing these new books – is part of what makes me happy, keeps me grounded. Without it I tend to get…cranky. Trust me I’ve been there. People don’t’ like me when I can’t buy a single book.

What I really mean when I say that is that I’m curbing my impulse buys. No more “well I have leftover money in my frivolous money budget so buy a new book!” or “oh what a pretty cover, one more book won’t break the bank!”. News flash – do that enough time and it DOES break the bank.

This year I have a couple big things happening – I’m moving into a new place, and I’m applying to college. I’m also trying to get my personal debt down as far as possible before I start college. Buying $30 worth of books every time I have a Barnes & Noble coupon or Book Outlet does a stupendous sale…well that’s money I could instead put towards my future.

So I came up with a compromise. I can only buy books if the book meets one of 5 criteria*:

  • I’m at a book signing – I go to these very rarely now, mostly due to time constraints. This is a special occasion; I meet the authors, they give a discussion or reading, I see friends.
  • Its a Book Event – BookitCon, BlogBound, ALA Midwinter these all happen once a year and are events. Very often the books are either discounted or the event itself comes with something extra (swag, ARCs, panel discussions) so for me these are worth it.
  • Its to Support Independent Bookstores – With Independent Bookstore Day coming up (April 29th), I want to put money towards those bookstores because they’re important.
  • I have it on preorder – As of this writing I only have 5 books on preorder (through Amazon or small press), those are the only 5 I will maintain on preorder.
  • I’m at a Book Sale – I don’t mean sales at BAM or B&N, I mean used book sales for libraries or charity causes. I usually only go on bag day so this is like $5 tops.
  • It fills/completes a series I already own/collect – this is the tough one, since I have a lot of gaps in my collections, but the caveat here is the book series has to be currently out on my shelves (the exception here is if it matches one of the above criteria as well)

When I move into my new place my new organization system for my books is basically I will have rotate out by category. I’ll have 3 bookcases permanently set up:

  • my Brandon Sanderson books out
  • my ARCs/review copies to read
  • my loaner books/books I’ve borrowed from others

My other cases will have a rotating order of book categories. I’m starting with my graphic novel collection, then going from there. I have a lot of series/books I haven’t read yet but I either continue to hold onto or I continue to buy books for. I want to go through each category on its own and decide what I want to keep because I will read it again or what I can donate because it was nice, but not keep worthy.

I have a lot of books (somewhere over 7,000), if I can pare out the stuff I no longer need to keep it will be a massive load off my back. But this means I need to stop buying every book that catches my fancy on the off chance I “may” enjoy it one day. I need to stop buying books in long running series for the occasion when its done and I can read them all. This goes for e-books OR print books.

I know I’ll slip** – there’s a couple authors who I know will be releasing books this year either without warning (Andrea K Host likes to surprise us!) or with no firm release date yet so I can’t preorder them now (I’m mostly certain Brandon Sanderson’s 3rd Stormlight Archive book is due out in the fall, but there’s no set release date yet), but I will stick to this.

The Ban begins on February 1st (my “official” move in day with my friend)…wish me luck!

lexieLexie Words

(*) If I get gift cards for books, that’s considered “free” money and can be spent however I like

(**) this doesn’t include books that I get on the Kindle/Smashwords/Instafreebie for free, since hey they cost no money

3 thoughts on “Discussion: Lexie’s Book Buying Ban

  1. Book buying bans, while entirely reasonable to non-book-obsessives, are definitely just terrible ideas! I love your flexible approach of providing yourself acceptable categories, perhaps that I could do… I did go through all of my books a year or two ago and got rid of soooo many – your plan to rotate by category seems a great way to decide what you really love and what you don’t. Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Some time ago, like…oh my almost 10 years ago when I was very sick and couldn’t work very much, I wouldn’t’ let myself buy any books. Nothing at all (and its before I did e-books so I couldn’t get the “free books”). I apparently tried to kill a person? (maybe it might be a slight exaggeration). But if I maintain a reasonable structure to my madness I think I can manage…maybe. I almost broke down and bought a book on Sunday I didnt’ realize had come out.


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