Merin’s Musings #8: Buying vs. Borrowing


Today’s Musings post is brought to you by the book haul I just received a few days ago from Book Outlet (book fanatics beware; they’ve got some GREAT deals!) and my own personal book acquisition habits. It made me wonder how others worked when they make book decisions, and so I open up with my question:

When acquiring books to read, do you borrow or buy?

I have to admit that I am more of a buyer than a borrower, although I definitely do my fair share of library borrowing. I currently have two books checked out, with another on hold, and while I’m not progressing through them as quickly as one might hope – I tend to max out my renewals before I get them read – I still like borrowing books, particularly if I’m unsure about them. Which I’m going to talk about in a minute, so.

And yet, I LOVE buying books as well, even though they tend to just sit in a pile along with other unread reads for a stupid amount of time. I like looking at them, I like the way the spines look when I get them on shelves, and I like holding books in my hands knowing that they’re now a part of my collection. But I definitely have a system that helps me determine if I should buy or borrow, and I’m curious if you do, too.

First off, my library system is typically pretty good about picking up titles I’m interested in. Back when my reading was at a much quicker pace than it is now, I used to peruse their “on order” lists and place holds on titles that struck my fancy. Usually they would be books my Goodreads or blogger friends raved about (and that I was unable to get e-galleys of), but I also would read summaries of anything that sounded interesting and then request it. This sometimes meant I’d walk away with a huge pile of library books – some of which I’d never get read because I couldn’t renew (see above regarding my renewal habits) – because it never fails that, when you request a lot of books, they ALL come in at the same time. But as my reading declined, so did my library requesting. I still request books, but now it’s usually one at a time, and I hardly ever go into the library to peruse the shelves; now I just pop in to pick up holds and don’t browse.

However, I am also a book buyer. If something looks amazing – or it’s written by an author I adore (so I therefore assume – usually rightfully so – that I’m going to like the book) – I tend to default to purchasing the book, even if I know it’s going to sit in a pile for a while. I also used to religiously check the Kindle Daily Deals via Amazon and pick up any of those that sounded interesting, so it wasn’t just physical books that yanked my chain. I don’t do that really at all anymore, though, because – while I have TONS of ebooks to read – I only really tend to use my Kindle to read galleys. Once I’m caught up – because I’ve been a good girl and haven’t requested anything in months – I really want to start reading some of the ebooks I’ve bought before adding any new ones.

So this has got me thinking of when I draw the line between borrowing and buying. For me, it’s a price issue sometimes. Ebooks are cheap – particularly the deals – and don’t take up physical floor or shelf space. I also don’t feel as bad if I don’t wind up liking the book, since I only spent $2 or so on it. For those books I’m really not sure about – ones that pique my interest but also make me nervous about if I’ll like them – I tend to go the library route and borrow it first. But then there are the books like the Lunar Chronicles books, or anything by Rick Riordan, that go on my immediate “purchase as soon as its released” list, because I know I’m going to love it. But if I don’t get those “I’m going to love this” vibes from a title, it tends to be relegated to the library loan list, or just languishes on my to-read list never to actually be picked up.

So if you buy AND borrow books (in any format, I’m not just talking actual physical books here), how do you decide which ones are worth spending the money on and which ones aren’t? I’d love to hear how you make your choices, so please let me know in comments!


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6 Responses to Merin’s Musings #8: Buying vs. Borrowing

  1. Rachana says:

    Well usually I remember books which seemed particularly intriguing …and these are the books which I often buy (but even among them, I kind of go through and decide which ones I think I’d really *really* like!). :D Then..sometimes I just buy on a whim..and often I regret that but sometimes I find gems.. :)

  2. I’m definitely more of a borrower, but I do actually work in a public library, and I think that plays a huge part in why I borrow books more. When I first got into blogging, I did buy books more frequently. I was sort of caught up in the excitement. But I buy very few these days.

    I will pick up an ebook if it is a good deal, but I try to limit myself. Even if it is only 2 dollars. Because if I could get it from the library for free, and I’m not sure if I would even like the book. . . well it makes sense to me to borrow it.

    The reasons I buy books these days:

    1. Book event – if I go to an author talk or something, I always buy a book or two by the author.
    2. A book I’m just SO FREAKING excited to read that I simply cannot wait to get it. This is rare for me, though. Truly. It has to be something that I plan on reading right that minute. And one that I am pretty sure I will enjoy.

    I rarely go to the book store and just browse for books to buy. Because so much of the time I see books that I am interested in, and I can picture exactly where it is on the library shelf.

  3. I usually borrow books from the library if it’s a rather old book, maybe released 5 years ago or so. But if it’s a new release, I’ll buy it because I have no patience haha

  4. Awesome discussion! I used buy buy buy all the time! Before Book Outlet I used to get from the amazon bargain bin. But over the past couple of years I have really curbed my buying and started only purchasing book I knew I really wanted like the next in a series or something I’m convinced I’ll love. Other than that, I definitely borrow from the library now. I’m like you, not much of a browser, I’ll just pop in and pick up my holds. I also usually only use my Kindle for e-galleys.

    I really enjoyed this post :) Thanks!

  5. Pingback: January Wrap Up - Lose Time ReadingLose Time Reading

  6. Pingback: January in Review | Read and Reviewed

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