My Book Buying Habits Need to Change

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Hi my name is Taylor and I’m a book buying addict.

It feels appropriate to start this post off with those words because, as of right now, buying books is my vice of choice.

The other day, I was going down memory lane (something that happens often-ish as I’m an enneagram 4 and sometimes I just need all the nostalgia). Anyway, I started thinking about when I started my Bookstagram, 4.5 years ago. 2 weeks before I started my account before I’d even discovered bookstagram existed on Insta, I had my first full-blown panic attack.

Are these two things related? We’ll get to that in a moment.

So, I started a bookstagram account because I love reading and I wanted to share what I was reading with people and I just loved looking at pictures of books (I still do tbh). That first year on Booksta was so much fun. There was no pressure (from myself or anyone) cause I was just doing what I wanted to do.

Then, somewhere along the line, I became obsessed with the idea of being a huge Instagrammer and a full-time blogger. Cause, I do love blogging, so why not make it a career? But then IG became a more stressful place. I needed it to look good and have a real schedule and all these expectations I put on myself because that’s what I thought I needed.

I took courses on how to grow your business/blog on Instagram. I learned a lot about Instagram marketing, but the more I learned, the less I wanted to do it.

And now you’re probably thinking, what does this have to do with the very first line in this post?? Getting to that, it’s all related, I promise.


At some point, I started feeling like I was behind, like my home library wasn’t as big or expansive as others.

I didn’t have all the books that everyone was talking about and sure, I could get it from the library, but what if I just bought it? And was I really a “real” bookstagrammer or book blogger if I didn’t own the books I was talking about?

Some of these thoughts lead me to the other day, sitting in my office, staring at my shelves and not feeling peace and joy like I usually do, but feeling stressed.

I counted all the books I have + all the books I haven’t read. Nearly 1/3 of my current collection is unread. Maybe that’s normal for some people. I’m not sharing the exact number because it does stress me out slightly, and I don’t feel like we need to compare and contrast how many unread books we actually have.

I used to be the person who went to the library weekly (sometimes more) and come home with a stack of books. (okay, let’s be real, this is still me, which is why my unread shelf feels so daunting).

I’d read them and return them. Sometimes I’d check those books out again, or add them to a wishlist that I’d circulate at Christmas or my birthday or that I’d buy myself when I wanted to treat myself to a book.

I’m not saying that book buying is bad, cause I don’t think it is, but my book buying habits are what need to change.

I buy books when I’m anxious.
When I’m sad.
When I’ve had a hard day.
When I’ve had a good day.

Retail therapy, in book form, has become one of my biggest coping skills to my anxiety (and also just a way to treat myself when it’s been a good day). I don’t think this is healthy for me anymore if it ever was.

I used to have so much FOMO that if I didn’t buy a book, I’d miss out on all it’s greatness, even though I live 5 minutes from a very well-stocked library. But things are changing, I realized they had to as I sat there looking at my bookshelf and feeling panic at just how many books I’d purchased but haven’t read yet.

Book Stack

My new book buying rules

Cause let’s be real, I’m not going to stop buying books, but I am going to change how I buy them and what I buy.

1) I can’t buy a book unless I’ve read it already

2) The only exception to the first rule is if an author is on my auto-buy list and they release a book, those I can buy. Authors on my list (as of today 11/9/2020):

  • VE Schwab

  • Jeff Zentner

  • Katherine Center

  • Christine Riccio

  • Leah Johnson

  • Phil Stamper

  • Nadine Brandes

3) When I buy a book I’ll use my local indie or purchase from I’d love to cut Amazon out of my life as much as possible, it’s cheaper true, but I don’t love some of their values and buying books from other places just feels a little better for me (and I know that this is a privilege to buy books from Indie stores at a higher cost, but I can afford it right now*)

4) *If I only buy 1-3 books a month.

5) Go through my shelves quarterly to donate, give away, or toss unread/unwanted books.

These are my personal rules/boundaries/limits I’ve given myself. I want to curate a library full of books that I love, that have taught me important things and that I want to read with my daughter. In order to curb my spending habits a bit, and not have so many unread books on my shelves, this is what will work for me.

And, in a few months, if it isn’t working, I’ll re-evaluate and find a solution that works. Until then, my library just became my new best friend and I’m gonna try to read at least 2 books from my unread shelf each month (more if possible, cause it’ll be years if I only read 2 a month for me to finish).

Do you have a book buying system? What works for you?

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