Why do I buy books? The answer to this question seems obvious. Because I love them! Because books have changed my life and make every day more enjoyable (or stressful depending on the scene). But in this world where it seems each big new release has three different exclusive editions, the rush to
catch collect them all can cost a lot of money.
My most recent experience of this was purchasing of three different editions of Kingdom of Ash – Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million editions (for the ease of reading in the former and exclusive fanart in the latter two). After trying to reorganize my shelves to find some nonexistent space for these stunning books, I questioned why I felt the need collect multiples in the first place?
Recently someone I follow on Instagram shared that they check out library copies of books they own so they don’t crack the spines of their personal copies (something I’ll admit I’ve done in the past as well). Another person confessed to spilling coffee over a stack of books while trying to take a picture. They declared that they were okay with it because it just makes them one of a kind – and they can do what they want with THEIR books!
I’ll admit to being more in the previous category for at least the last three years – coinciding with my start in the bookstagram community – but my lack of shelf space has made me reconsider my “collector” mentality. Going through the stacks of books under my bed, I found multiple extra copies of books. There were two or three editions of some books I haven’t even read!
Looking at these different copies and editions made me wonder: Which copy means more, the one with the pretty cover, or the one where I experienced the story for the first time? The nostalgia of picking up an original copy of a childhood favorite means more to me than owning all the newly released covers. While I treasure my signed copies I know that I will never sell many of them, so does a dent in the cover from toting it around really matter? An inked on signature in a favorite book doesn’t make it more fragile than any others and why do I own it if I’m not going to read it?!
I’ve decided to make a resolution for myself: make every copy count.
No more buying copies of books that aren’t favorites or continue to remain unread on my shelves, especially if the purchase is for aesthetics or having a “reading copy.”
In the end books are ink on pages making shapes that can create worlds. I spend my hard-earned money on them and I can do whatever I want with my purchases! And yes, that can also mean standing on them for pictures and cracking spines to make reading more easy. These things don’t devalue the books in my eyes – they make them well-loved. This doesn’t mean I will stop buying special editions of my special favorites, but hopefully I’ll see a decrease in multiple copies for books I don’t really care about.
While I wrote this post to help me work out my feelings on what books mean to me, everyone has their own feelings on this topic! I hope this post helps you think about what books mean to you! Feel free to drop your own thoughts in the comments.