Thursday, January 19, 2017
Book Fast: Is it Possible? (Well, for Me, Anyway!)
This summarizes my 2016 buying frenzy. With more than a little help from online vendors, I found dozens of inexpensive e-books and low-cost audiobooks to load on my Kindle.
And that's just my electronics. We won't go into detail about the treasure trove of print books that is Goodwill and other second-hand bookstores, and various new-book bookstores.
I subscribe to three different email services advertising cheap e-books. (Maybe four. Possibly five.) Book Bub and I are close friends. I haunt Amazon's Kindle e-book Web pages. Goodreads and I correspond regularly. Riffle? Book Riot, with and without Liberty Hardy? Electric Literature? I am so hardcore, I've started following Pinterest and Instagram accounts of various book resources.
To top it all off, I just discovered a website that calls its service the "Rotten Tomatoes of books." (Book Marks, I shall hold you to your word.)
My Kindle is so full, I don't know where to begin. (I'd tell you how many books are on there, but I don't want to count that high, then subtract expired library books. Lazy? Nah, man: survival.)
So, without further ado, let me say: Hi, my name is Chris and I am a book, ahem, collector.
Don't get me wrong: I am thrilled, for the most part, by the e-books I have purchased. Some of them duplicate print books in my library. A few free ones may not be my exact cuppa, but don't mind a (cheap or free) gamble: how else would I have discovered my surprising attraction of murder mysteries? I also have lots of books to share with friends, as Kindle permits.
So I have made a decision: I am stemming the flow of purchased books into the house for the next three months.
I have done this before with great success. After a book purchase fast, I have emerged reinvigorated and focused on choosing the right book, rather than a book.
Earlier this week, before I clicked "purchase" on a writing "prompt" book, I paused. I reviewed the table of contents and didn't get as excited as I thought I would — so I made a decision: rather than pay to play, I opened my public library's catalogue. There it was, the exact same book, this time in print. I promptly reserved the book and closed the Amazon browser tab.
Oh, Amazon has nothing to worry about: I also signed up for Kindle Daily Deals email. One would think that might be dangerous, but I assure you: receiving the list of sale books allows me to consider purchasing a finite number of books, rather than tempting me with suggestions, recommendations, and access to my wish list. I did this with Audible, and my impulse purchases have decreased to a trickle.
I will continue to use Amazon, Audible, Goodreads, Book Riot, Book Bub, Lit Hub, and other resources to discover what's on the shelves, and to find out what my fellow readers are consuming. Fewer choices can make me a better consumer.
How do you control your purchases? More importantly, does it work?
Coda: I have not been purchase-free since making this pledge. In my defense, the library would not have had The Hillbilly Elegy in time for my book club discussion, and it was on sale at the bookstore. Plus, I had to go get a weekly calendar booklet anyway.
How's that for rationalization?