At What Point Do You Admit To Having a Book Buying Problem?

11 September 2019

This past weekend I was inspired to tidy up my Goodreads shelves because of Nick’s post about cutting back on her TBR. It’s not the first time I’ve organised my Goodreads shelves, I’m all about the exclusive shelves on there and have a lot of shelves. I managed to clear off a lot of books, especially ones which have been on my TBR for so long but I know are definitely not to my tastes anymore. My to-buy lists have been cur down, I’ve created lovely new shelves for the books I know I can borrow so really shouldn’t spend the money buying if I’m not certain about them. I honestly feel pleased looking at my maybe buy and must buy shelves (why yes, I need two separate shelves for the books I am contemplating buying, I need some way to prioritise my shopping, obviously). But there are two shelves I haven’t even attempted to tidy up and those are my ‘Want to Read’ and ‘Kindle to Read’ shelves which each contain the books I actually own.

Why have I avoided tidying up these two shelves? Well, these are the shelves which contain books I actually own. The books which are sat either on my physical shelves (on my Want to Read shelf) or my Kindle shelf (inventively named Kindle to Read). And the combined total of these shelves?

495!

Yeah, I’m not even joking. I have nearly 500 unread books, and that doesn’t even include ARCs, library books, and there’s probably a whole bunch of Kindle books I’ve yet to successfully get on to my shelves. I most definitely have a problem and I know I need to sort it. I have a TBR pile I can never hope to conquer and a strong need to clear those shelves to more manageable levels. You might think that I am proposing a book buying ban (don’t make me laugh) or some insane plan to cut it down (nah). But I do want to know how you know you’ve got a book buying problem?

My realisation came in stages. I mean, I know how I got to this point. I used to go mental with Kindle freebie books and whenever I saw a good deal for a book I’d even slightly heard of I would be there buying it. I look back on my book tracking spreadsheets and I got 200+ books each year. That does include library books and ARCs, but that is still more books than I read each year and everyone knows the way to reduce your TBR is to read more than you buy, not less.

I think it all properly sank in at some point last year. I feel like it coincided with me getting my latest Kindle (I’ve gone through a few over the years, my need for new tech is a whole other issue we won’t talk about). I was there looking at what books I needed to download onto my Kindle so I had plenty of unread books to start reading…. and I found I was downloading pages of books. I couldn’t believe how many books I’d bought in even the space of a few weeks. I had around 50 and that was probably only a couple of month’s worth of books. Or, I felt like I’d only bought the books recently anyway. My Kindle was a mess and it was new, it should have been tidy and organised and I realised I was the problem. The issue only got worse with the new Kindle feature of being able to filter your shelves by read and unread books.

I was (and still am) a sucker for a good book deal but no more buying a whole series before I’ve even started the first book. I won’t be getting any more freebie books I know I’m not interested in and I’m not buying a book just because I’ve seen everyone else reading but don’t even have a clue what it’s about. If I can borrow it and it’s not a must-buy author I’m going to borrow it every time and save me some money! And books by authors I’ve never tried before? Yeah, you know I’m trying the sample first that is totally free and means I can avoid buying books where the writing style totally doesn’t work for me. Basically, I’ve finally started doing all the things I should have done in the first place to avoid getting into this kind of state with my shelves.

So, for me, it took four years and two Kindles for me to realise that I had an insane book buying problem when it came to Kindle books. The cheaper price point and the frequent sales meant I couldn’t help but treat myself to books. It doesn’t help that I couldn’t see them so I didn’t realise how many books I was getting until I had to download them.

Have you ever hit the point of realising you had too many books and needing to make a change? Do you buy books, or are you addicted to requesting something new on Netgalley?
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