In The Margins {vol. 3 - Buying vs. Borrowing}

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I will admit it, guys. I have a problem with buying books.

Now, this is not a problem unique to me - anyone I know that's as avid a reader or book-lover basically cannot leave a book store empty handed. It's a challenging task - to go into a place so full of stories. Full of new friends and new worlds and new adventures - and then to leave without bringing one home with you.

And me? I'm awful at that.

I - seriously - probably own more books that I have not read than I have read.

It's kind of a frightening statistic. And one I'm not certain about either. Why?  Because when I moved out of North Carolina to head over to Budapest for two years I packed up my budding library in a multitude of boxes and hauled them north to my parent's basement. Where they've been chilling out for the past three years. I've gone through some of them from time to time to see just some of what I have. But, for the most part? The last three years I've been building onto that library blindly. I've probably purchased a fair number of books I already own.

Ugh. At least I can make a charitable donation to a local library sometime in my future?

I don't know what it is about owning a book that is so special to me. Having that world for my own. Sure, I write in my books - something you should never do when you borrow a book from a library (Or a friend). I love to underline passages, draw exclamation points at places that surprise me, define interesting words that I've looked up, or any other number of things. Yeah, I'm that reader. It makes my books feel like my own. And when I go back and re-read them or look for a quote I loved I have the Courtney that was there when I read it before to guide my way.

Yes. I like owning books.

I always joke that by the time I have my first house I want to have enough books for my own library. And? I don't think that's too far-fetched of a goal for my life.

But, what about the library? What about saving all that money from buying books when there's a whole place full of books I don't have to pay for?

I'm getting better. Really.

Lately I've used the library a fair amount. Mostly for audio books for my car trips. And the Song of the Lioness series I read from library books as well as the Immortals series (both by Tamora Pierce). And other assorted books here and there.

I really am trying to take advantage of my local library.

I love the library.

Is it just so bad that I really want to be in the process of creating my own as well?

(My wallet, for the record, says yes, yes it is)

What about you guys? Are you buyers or borrowers? Do you struggle with this problem like I do? Are you a library patron? Tell me all the details! 


  1. I'm definitely a book buyer... And I have gotten worse since I'm getting more site traffic because I feel I have an obligation to find great books and owning them just makes it super.

  2. I'm a buyer, definitely. I just can't bring myself to borrow a book from a library, because I like knowing a book is mine. And like you, I'm 100% positive I own more books I haven't read than ones I have. Which is sad. I tallied up all the books on my shelves that I haven't read and it's 105. Now a lot of those came from book swaps (in which case the books were free) or book fairs (discounted books), but still...that's a lot. And a lot of them are adult books or older books (meaning like a few years old). There are so many books coming out now that I need and there'll no doubt be more new books in the future I'll need too! So where do I draw that line? Easy. I don't. If I want a book, I buy it. Sure there's guilt involved, but at the end of the day I remind myself that all those books I have WILL be read one day. They must.

    1. I totally agree with your assessments. I feel guilty for buying so many books without reading them as fast as I should. In turn, I also feel guilty about leaving a book that I like as soon as I read the blurb. You're right! Lines can't be drawn.

  3. I'm a reformed-buyer-turned-borrower. I never used the library until a few years ago. But that changed when I moved out of my parents' house and into my own, where I had to find a place to put all of the books that I owned! I tried to get rid of so many that I knew I'd never read again, and it felt like such a waste of money. So, now I pretty much exclusively borrow from the library. If I love a book and want to read it again, I'll buy it from a used bookstore or if I find it on sale somewhere. But I know that I'm lucky to have such a good library with a LOT of books. Not every place has such an extensive collection.


Thank you all so much for your comments! I'm only happy when I have comments. Really. You are contributing to my future happiness right now! XOXO