Booking Through Thursday: Why Buy?


I’ve just come across a site called Booking Through Thursday, a weekly book-related meme. Just for fun, I thought I’d try it. Here’s this week’s question:

I’ve asked, in the past, about whether you more often buy your books, or get them from libraries. What I want to know today, is, WHY BUY?

Even if you are a die-hard fan of the public library system, I’m betting you have at least ONE permanent resident of your bookshelves in your house. I’m betting that no real book-lover can go through life without owning at least one book. So … why that one? What made you buy the books that you actually own, even though your usual preference is to borrow and return them?

If you usually buy your books, tell me why. Why buy instead of borrow? Why shell out your hard-earned dollars for something you could get for free?

When I was younger, just moving into a place of my own, I bought books that specifically resonated with me for one reason or another. I thought I could use them to help define my identity. And I envisioned someday moving into a house that featured a library ringed with floor to ceiling bookshelves. You need a lot of books for that.

But that town had a fabulous award-winning library, and I soon figured out that for a working girl with a small book-buying budget and two hours of a train commute everyday, the library was the way to go. I think that library either had or was able to get every book I ever wanted.

Then I moved. I weeded out a few before the move, and afterwards those books stayed in boxes for a LONG time. I’d just had my first baby, and there wasn’t as much time to read. Oh, I still did, mostly parenting books and magazines, but not like before. It wasn’t until Big Sis was about three that the “library” got painted, the IKEA bookshelves (another post all on its own) got built, and the boxes got unpacked. By the time all that happened, Little Sis came along.

But I was a member of a local MOMS Club, and within that group, we started a book club. I hit up our local library to find our book club picks, and was dismayed to find that a lot of them weren’t available. So I bought a few of them out of necessity (at that time, with small kids, that book club was a lifeline to sanity for me!).

So today, my MO is to check the library first, then purchase if I need to. Some books, like Twilight, the library has but the waiting list is out the door. So for $4.88 at Sam’s Club, I can have it when I want it.

Kids’ books, on the other hand, I’ve been buying since before the kids were born. I try to stick to the classics, and there’s still more than I’ll ever need to buy. We still visit the library every couple of weeks or so to pick up new books and videos; our local library has a great Children’s Library.

I’m such a huge bookworm, and I really hope to pass it on to my girls. Big Sis is a second grader now; she reads beautifully and has recently started reading before she goes to sleep each night. It gives my heart warm fuzzies to check on her each night, pull her book out of her limp hand, and kiss her sleeping brow.


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to
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3 Responses to Booking Through Thursday: Why Buy?

  1. Jan Tallent says:

    I love to read more than anything and do all 3, actually. If I am wondering about a “new to me” author I will borrow or even get it from the library BUT I am also a die hard collector, if I love an author or his or her work I collect all I can find by same and some of those I have had for over 30 years ( like Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardner ) and some are new to me authors where after reading their 3rd, 10th or 20th book I find myself finding all I can that they ever wrote.

    jantallent on twitter 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Book Meme: Page 56, Nearest Book « Sandwiched

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