Thoughts #60: Book Sources


Recently I’ve been thinking about where all my books come from. According to my last count (last month, so it has most likely changed since then), I own 520 books (excluding e-books). And I normally get these in a variety of ways:

  • Gifted: of course my friends and family know I’m a bibliophile, so books are – or rather were – frequent birthday and Christmas presents. Now though, it’s a bit of a risk as chances are I might already have the book, so people are more likely to give me book tokens than actual books.
  • Brand new: I don’t tend to buy my books brand new unless I’m really treating myself, they’re part of a special offer that I just can’t resist (3 for Ā£10 on paperbacks!), or I REALLY want the book and don’t think I’ll find it second-hand very easily.
  • Second hand: this is how I get most of my books. My local charity shops are excellent, my favourite selling books for as little as Ā£0.50 each. I’m not bothered about buying second-hand – as long as the book isn’t falling apart. Why spend Ā£8.99 on one book when I could buy 18 for that price second-hand??
  • ARCs and finished review copies: as a book blogger, I get sent books from publishers on a regular basis – some ARCs, some finished copies.

As I was so confident about how my book buying would break down, I wanted to look into my collection to see just how many books come under each of these categories – and here are the results:

What surprised me is that I own nearly the same amount of brand new books as second-hand ones – and I think this is entirely down to book blogging. I’m much more aware of new releases since starting this blog, and in a way I guess I feel more pressure to read them sooner rather than later, because of all the hype.

For such an avid book buyer, I’m also pretty good at getting rid of books, mostly due to available space. I happily send ARCs that I’ve read on to friends for them to enjoy, if I don’t think I will re-read the book, and donate back to the charity shop from which I get many of my books. I’m also more likely to donate second-hand books than new ones, which might be why my new book collection is larger than I thought it would be.

Where does your book collection come from? Do you tend to buy new books over second-hand, or vice versa?

14 thoughts on “Thoughts #60: Book Sources”

  1. Very interesting post šŸ™‚ I should maybe do an inventory of mine, but that would just take so long! Especially with the e-books, lol. I also have a load of old books from my grandparents – some of them worth something, some not. I know quite a few have come from NetGalley or Amazon sales as well (but just the e-books). I’m always do curious about how you sign up for publisher’s physical copy lists xD like, is it that one day you’re a big enough blog and it just happens? Maaaagic.
    Lately though, it’s been Amazon sales, NetGalley and stuff like Instafreebie. Haven’t got physical books in a while cause we don’t really have physical books sales. Unless they’re really old books, most of the time. But e-books are fine by me! For real books, there’s always the library, after all.

    1. In my case, publishers approached me. I guess it helps to interact with them on social media too šŸ™‚

      I just don’t find e-books to be the same at all. A house without books feels so wrong šŸ˜®

      1. Yeah, well šŸ™‚ I make so. Where I live, books are to expensive. I’m not gonna buy or ship a book for 40ā‚¬ when I can buy an ebook for 4 šŸ˜€ just.. not that rich, especially in the economy of my country šŸ™‚ but maybe one day the publishers will fall in love with me too xD although I have no problem with ebooks, thankfully.

  2. I tend to buy most of my books at the second hand store but if the book I’m looking for isn’t there I then buy it at a retail store like Barnes and Noble.

    1. Yes, that’s pretty much what I do – if I can’t find it second hand after a while and I REALLY want it, I’ll buy it new šŸ™‚

  3. Probably about the same to be honest. Arcs or finished copies make up about a quarter of my shelf but many of them got donated or sent to second hand stores when done. Certain authors I buy or ask for during holidays (books are my most commonly gotten gift). And I have a great used book store.

    My e-books on the other hand are almost exclusively ARCs, I almost never buy a digital book.

    1. Yeah I don’t tend to keep ARCs unless I loved the book, or it’s a finished copy. They just don’t always look ‘right’ on the shelf, if that makes sense, as the covers are plain.

      I’ve only ever bought e-books on sale, for Ā£0.99 each. It feels odd to buy them doesn’t it? As they’re not physical.

  4. Although I’ve had a LibraryThing for over a decade, I’ve never tracked where my books came from – so I can’t really be certain. Buying a Kindle definitely increased the frequency of book purchases, just as making friends in Teddington (which has an excellent secondhand book shop) increased the frequency with which I buy second hand (my local charity book shelves offer slim pickings for genre fiction). I don’t get given books as often as I’d like, in spite of maintaining an up to date wishlist to help guide people towards things I don’t own.

    …but I suspect new purchase is still the big one for me, albeit dominated by Kindle deals these days. But book blogging has definitely taken a chunk out of that by offering me ARCs!

  5. Well, I never thought to consider where my books come from, or what the proportion might be, but it’s an interesting exercise šŸ™‚
    My library these days is almost entirely made of e-books (because they’re easier to acquire and because they don’t crowd my shelves…) and only a small percentage of them comes from e-ARCs (say 1 or 2 every 10). The only physical books I bought recently are the copies of Illuminae and Gemina that I read in electronic form but wanted in paper book form because they deserve to be enjoyed that way šŸ™‚

    1. I definitely agree that Illuminae and Gemina need to be in physical form – they’re gorgeous books! šŸ™‚ Still need to buy Gemina though…

  6. This is super interesting– I always love a pie chart!! I went through a really cheap phase where I didn’t buy a lot of books, but now I feel as if I am going through an opposite phase where I am buying alllll the books and going broke šŸ˜¦ I should probably just STOP and read what I have– but it’s SO hard!

    1. Haha, thank you šŸ˜€ I’m trying to stop too because I’m moving to a small flat and know that already I’ll have to put some in boxes under the bed, but yes it’s hard! I’m just avoiding charity shops altogether at the moment.

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